Group Talk, December 2013 – Issue 11

HAPPY HOLIDAYS from Child Rights Connect!

In this Issue:
30th Anniversary Update
UP Child Rights Campaign Update
CRC Committee Update
OP3 CRC Update
Working Group News
Secretariat Update
Member News

We hope this newsletter finds you happy and healthy as we conclude 2013.

These past months we’ve been busy, with a special focus on better communication with our members and partners!  In September, we launched our new website, which includes  more opportunities for members to share news and collaborate. You can also connect and share with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Later today, Thursday 12 December, we invite you to tune into a Google+ Hangout focusing on the new OP to the CRC and access to justice for children. The Hangout is a live panel discussion with people from all over the world and will feature Advocacy Officer Anita Goh and Committee Members Olga A. Khazova and Hatem Kotrane.  Tune in live at 4pm CET.

We hope you enjoy this latest edition of GroupTalk and welcome any feedback you’d like to share.

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30th ANNIVERSARY UPDATE
Child Rights Film Event and Reception

Thank you to all who have helped us celebrate our 30th anniversary, and to all who attended our 30th anniversary event in November, which consisted of a film screening of Gestacion and reception with the director.
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On 14 November, Child Rights Connect hosted a film screening in cooperation with the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH) at Grütli Cinema in Geneva to commemorate our 30th anniversary and raise visibility for the network. For the event, we showed the Costa-Rican film Gestacion, which tells the story of a teenaged girl and boy who become pregnant and struggle to advocate for their rights. The film was followed by an engaging question and answer session with director Esteban Ramirez, as well as Roisin Fegan and Alan Kikuchi-White.
We had a wonderful turnout of about 130 people both from our network and from a broader community in Geneva.
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UP CHILD RIGHTS CAMPAIGN UPDATE

Thank you so much to all of our members and partners who participated in the UP Child Rights campaign — Our first public, internet-based campaign!
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This campaign was envisioned to bring members together for the 30th Anniversary. We are overwhelmed by the support shown through websites, blogs, Facebook and Twitter.
Through our network, during a one-month period from 21 October to 20 November, messaging reached ¾ million people from 138 countries in every region of the world. We had active participation from over 3,000 people and 40 organisations in 10 different languages, calling on their governments to promote and protect the rights of children through universal ratification of the CRC and all three of its OPs.
We have finished our ‘active-campaigning’, but due to such a great response, the website and petition are being left open, so please feel free to continue sharing and signing the petition.
In addition to the petition, the campaign created a platform for sharing case studies and success stories about projects from our members and partners on the UP Child Rights blog. If you have any work related to the CRC and its OPs, we are more than happy to post and share articles or information!
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WORKING WITH THE COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD

Child Rights Connect welcomes Ilaria Paolazzi as our new Child Rights Officer. She can be reached at paolazzi@childrightsconnect.org. Find out more about Ilaria in our Secretariat Update section.

Nominations for Committee Elections Moved Forward!

The next elections for the Committee on the Rights of the Child will take place at the 15th Meeting of States Parties in New York on 25 June 2014. This is six months earlier than expected and nominations will have to be made by April 2014 (exact date yet to be posted).
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As in previous years, Child Rights Connect is writing to all UN Member States to prompt them to take timely action, with a view to nominating good candidates based on the criteria set out by the Convention. It is important that those working at national level, in particular, know about the change and the fact that they can approach their governments to suggest candidates for nomination.
You can find more details about how to get involved by reading our factsheet or additionally by looking at the OHCHR website.
Please contact Roisin Fegan for further information on our work in this area.
64th Session
The 64th Session occurred from 16 September to 04 October. The session was webcast live.
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As part of a pilot project, Child Rights Connect webcasts all the Committee’s public State reviews. Live streams and archived videos are available online. Be sure to follow us on twitter and facebook for webcast links for the upcoming sessions.

During its 64th session, from 16 September to 04 October, the Committee examined the reports from China (inlcuding the special adminstrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau) (CRC, OPAC), Kuwait (CRC), Lithuania (CRC), Luxembourg (CRC), Monaco (CRC), Sao Tome and Principe (CRC), Tuvalu (CRC),  Paraguay (OPSC, OPAC), and the Republic of Moldova (OPSC).
Child Rights Connect webcast the session live and produced country reports summarising key information for all of these countries.The reports will soon be available on our website.

IMPORTANT:The Committee has adopted a tentative schedule for the review of all State reports received to date. Refer to the Committee’s website to see when your State will be reviewed both in the pre-session and session and the deadline for submitting NGO reports.

Upcoming Sessions and Pre-Sessions

The next session will be held in January 2014, and the next pre-session will be held in February 2014.  NGO submissions for the 68th pre-session are due by 1 March.
The deadline for requesting accreditation from OHCHR for the 65th Session is 30 December 2013. Visit here for more information.
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The 65th session will be held from 13-31 Januray 2014. The Committee will review the reports for: Congo (CRC), Germany (CRC, OPSC), Holy See (CRC, OPSC, OPAC), Portugal (CRC, OPSC, OPAC), Russian Federation (CRC, OPAC), Yemen (CRC, OPAC).
The 67th pre-session will be held in February 2014, and the deadline for NGO submissions was 1 November. The Committee will review the reports with non-State actors for: Croatia (CRC), Fiji (CRC), Hungary (CRC, OPSC, OPAC), Morocco (CRC, OPAC), Singapore (OPAC) and Venezuela (CRC, OPAC,OPSC).
Submissions by non-governmental actors for the 68th pre-session, to be held in June 2014, are due by 1 March 2014. .

All UN and NGO reports and official documents are available on the dedicated page of the Committee’s website and alternative report database

The Committee will review the reports with non-State actors for: Cambodia (OPAC,OPSC), Colombia (CRC), Cuba (OPSC, OPAC), Dominican Republic (CRC), Gambia (CRC), Iraq (OPSC, OPAC), Jamaica (CRC), Mauritius (CRC), Sweden (CRC), Switzerland (CRC, OPSC), Turkmenistan (CRC, OPSC, OPAC), United Republic of Tanzania (CRC), Uruguay (CRC, OPSC, OPAC). Please note that this list of countries is still tentative. The pre-session will be in double chamber.

For questions about the Committee’s reporting process, please email Ilaria Paolazzi.

Day of General Discussion
The Committee’s next Day of General Discussion, which will be held in September 2014, will be on  the rights of the child in the context of media and social networks.
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By understanding how children are using forms of media and social networks, States will be able to better ensure that children can access appropriate information and use evolving technology in a way that is not harmful to their development and represents a positive and enriching experience.
The Committee is likely to be defining the scope of the Day in the coming months with a view to planning the event in the course of the year leading up to it. Please contact Ilaria Paolazzi for more information or if you have particular expertise in this area, which you would like to bring to the attention of the Committee.
UN Treaty Event: New OPSC Ratification

During this year’s UN Treaty Event, UNTC announced a special focus on the CRC and its OPs. In addition to ratifications of the third OP to the CRC (more information in the section Ratify OP3 CRC), on the 1st day of the UN Treaty Event, September 24, in New York, Russia ratified the OPSC.
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NEWS ON THE 3RD OPTIONAL PROTOCOL
Three New ratifications: Portugal, Montenegro, and Slovakia!

On 24 September, Portugal and Montenegro, and on 3 December, Slovakia, ratified the Third Optional Protocol to the CRC on a Communications Procedure (OP3 CRC), bringing the total number of States parties to 9. We are just one ratification from the 10 needed for the treaty to enter into force in the countries that have ratified and expect this to happen in the coming months.
New Signatures!   
Between the end of July and beginning of October, El Salvador, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guniea-Bissau, Seychelles, Poland, and Mongolia, all signed OP3 CRC, bringing the total number of signatories to 44.
Track signatures and ratifications in real time.

Join the International Coalition!

Together with the International Coalition, Child Rights Connect is advocating for ratification in Geneva, New York and at regional and national levels.
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The Coalition now has 78 member organisations from around the world, and is looking for your involvement to continue to grow. With membership you can coordinate your efforts for the ratification of OP3 CRC with other interested actors and receive updates on the campaign.
Join the Coalition today and recommend membership to your partner organizations.

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NEWS FROM THE WORKING GROUPS
Universal Birth Registration

GREAT ADVOCACY ACHIEVEMENT ON CIVIL REGISTRATION IN HUMANITARIAN SETTINGS:  An international policy document to guide global efforts to protect refugees and asylum seekers!
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After more than 3 years of intense advocacy work by the Universal Birth Registration Working group of Child Right’s Connect  in Geneva,  the governing body of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) unanimously adopted a piece of international law specifically focused on civil registration, on the 17th of October 2013. This incredible advocacy achievement represents a breakthrough, setting the framework for civil registration as a tool to protect the rights of refugees and asylum-seekers.
The policy document highlights the importance of birth registration and as a proof of birth of a person, which contribute to enhancing protection and the implementation of durable solutions, including by documenting links with countries of origin. The document is also among many other issues reaffirming that every child shall be registered immediately after birth, without discrimination of any kind, and recognises that civil registration systems, which record births, deaths, cause of death, and marriage, provide substantial information for policy and humanitarian planning.
Contact and Join our Thematic Working Groups
Working Groups are an effective way for Child Rights Connect members to cooperate on common priorities.
More Information
For more information on being involved with a specific working group, please contact the convenors directly:

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NEWS FROM THE CHILD RIGHTS CONNECT SECRETARIAT
SECRETARIAT STAFF UPDATE 

Staff, Fall 2013

Lisa & Lara Amelie, Born Nov 11

We welcome Ilaria Paolazzi as our new Child Rights Officer. Ilaria holds a Master Degree in Human Rights and International Development from Bologna University and has previously worked with the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) as well as with other human rights NGOs in Italy and Denmark.
Lisa Myers, our Director, gave birth to a healthy little girl, Lara Amelie, on 11 November. While Lisa is on leave, Roisin Fegan will be taking the reigns as the Interim Director.
We will also be saying farewell to our hard-working Fall interns, Crystal Crawford and Lucia Di Rosa. We thank them for their contribution to our all our work this fall, especially the 30th Anniversary event, and wish them the very best in their studies and future work.
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NEWS FROM CHILD RIGHTS CONNECT MEMBERS

In between Group Talks please visit the member news section on our webpage to stay up to date.
As always, we encourage you to share your news with our network.  To have your organisation´s latest projects, publications, best practices or events included on our website, please send your article or update to Laura  Collier.

Together Scotland

State of Children’s Rights in Scotland 2013 report was launched by Scotland’s Minister for Children and Young People on Universal Children’s Day (20th November).
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Together (formerly known as the Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights) has launched its State of Children’s Rights report 2013, which provides a non-government perspective on the extent to which children in Scotland are able to enjoy their rights enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). It reflects on the past year since the publication of Together’s 2012 State of Children’s Rights report, discussing what progress has been made and where further efforts are needed. The report was compiled and produced by Together following wide consultation with children’s organisations across Scotland, including a series of seminars and an online survey.
The full report is available here: http://togetherscotland.org.uk/news-and-events/news/detail/?news=663
You can find out more about Together and keep up to date with children’s rights on a local, national and international level here: www.togetherscotland.org.uk
Please tweet about the report using #stateofchildrights13 and follow Together at @together_sacr
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