14 April 2019 marks 5 years since the entry into force of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure (OPIC).

The Protocol empowered children allowing them to complain directly, and for the first time ever, to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child about alleged violations of their rights. Children can also request an inquiry in case of a systematic or grave violation of their rights.

Since 2014, 43 States have ratified the OPIC, a number that remains meagre in comparison to the 196 States that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Child Rights Connect is happy that UN experts took up its proposition to issue a press release urging for a wider ratification of the instrument and joins the experts view that while “States have the ultimate responsibility to ensure that any violation of children’s rights is properly resolved at the national level. Where this is not the case, the voice of children must be heard at the international level.” In the year marking the 30th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Child Rights Connects hopes for States commitments to the right of the child to translate in a wider ratification of the Protocol.

Since the 1980’s when the CRC Convention entered into force, Child Rights Connect (then called the NGO Ad Hoc Group on the CRC) already advocated for the inclusion of an individual petition system but it was only in in 1999, when the Committee on the Rights of the Child (the Committee) decided to consider discussing such a new mechanism. Child Rights Connect has led the international coalition for the advocacy, drafting and negotiation of the Protocol. Since its adoption, Child Rights Connect engages in capacity-building and dissemination of the Protocol. It is now also working on a ratification campaign of the instrument and exploring possibilities of setting us a strategic litigation clinic.