There are many opportunities for children’s rights NGOs, coalitions and children/child-led organisations to engage with the United Nations human rights system. Some parts of the system are specifically focused on children’s rights and others are focused on human rights in general.
The different United Nations bodies that organisations can interact with to advocate for and advance children’s rights include:
The Committee on the Rights of the Child
The Committee on the Rights of the Child (the Committee) is made up of 18 independent experts, who work specifically on children’s rights, as defined by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and its Optional Protocols on children in armed conflict (OPAC), on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (OPSC), and on a Communications Procedure (OPIC). The Committee also provides its expert interpretation of the CRC by drafting General Comments and organising Days of General Discussion.
Read more about the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
The Human Rights Council
The Human Rights Council (HRC) is an inter-governmental body that is responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the world and addressing human rights violations. The HRC covers all human rights and it holds an Annual Day on the Rights of the Child on a different topic every March. It also has an annual resolution on children’s rights during the March regular session. Through different initiatives, the HRC covers many themes focused on children’s rights, such as child early and forced marriage, education, birth registration, violence against children, refugee and migrant children, to name but a few.
Read More about the Human Rights Council.
The Universal Periodic Review
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a mechanism under the Human Rights Council, whereby the overall human rights situation of all UN Member States is reviewed by all UN Member States. Each State is reviewed every four and a half years, according to a fixed calendar. The UPR covers all human rights, including child rights. Although only States can take part in the review, NGOs can get involved in a variety of ways to make sure that key children’s rights concerns are raised during the discussions and included in resulting recommendations.
Read More about the Universal Periodic Review.