Children will soon have a further avenue to pursue if their rights are violated, with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child shortly being able to receive individual complaints from children or their representatives.
The Chairperson of the Committee, Kirsten Sandberg, explains “The Optional Protocol gives children who have exhausted all legal avenues in their own countries the possibility of applying to the Committee.”
Ms Sandberg further states that “It means children are able to fully exercise their rights and are empowered to have access to international human rights bodies in the same way adults are under several other human rights treaties.”
From April 2014, children or groups of children will now be able to submit a complaint to the Committee about violations of their rights. Should the Committee find that a country has violated the child’s rights, they can then make recommendations to that country to remedy the situation.
However, whilst the Optional Protocol is a positive development, the Chairperson stresses that the primary responsibility to uphold children’s rights and address any violations lies with Governments.