The Committee on the Rights of the Child sets out in its Working Methods that State Parties have an obligation to ensure child participation in the preparation of State Party reports to the Committee. Whilst this remains rare, we present a promising practice from Iceland to help inspire and encourage other countries to follow their example.
In April 2018, a working group with representatives from several ministries was appointed to draft the State party periodic report on the implementation of the UNCRC in Iceland. For the first time, the country decided to integrate children’s inputs to the State party report and charged the working group to conduct consultations with children to inform the report and promote child participation.
The purpose was to have a broad national consultation and to reach many children from across the country through an online questionnaire sent to all municipalities, and a consultation meeting. A total of almost 100 children and young people participated to this consultation process and had the chance to exercise their right to be heard and share their views and experiences.
As indicated in the Working methods for the participation of children in the reporting process of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, States Parties should consult with all non-State actors, including children, to get their views on the situation in the country and on-going challenges.
“With regard to the reporting process, States parties have an obligation to ensure that children are encouraged and enabled to participate in the preparation of the State reports to the Committee.”
Although children have taken an increasingly active role in the reporting cycle, both in terms of monitoring of and advocacy for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols, child participation in the preparation of the State party report is still rare and ad-hoc.
This case study, prepared in collaboration with UNICEF Iceland, aims at supporting civil society organisations to initiate a conversation with their State Party on how it intends to engage children in its reporting process to the Committee on the Rights of the Child. There are different ways for the State to take into consideration the views of civil society and of the right holders of the Convention: civil society should advocate for a safe, meaningful, empowering and inclusive participation of children at this initial stage of the reporting process.
Indeed, engaging at this stage does not prevent children to participate in other steps of the reporting cycle; it is rather a way to raise awareness on the Convention and its implementation and would ultimately reinforce the long-term participation of children. Children should be empowered to engage in all stages of the reporting cycle!
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions or to share your experience in CRC reporting.