1.7 The Committee on the Rights of the Child

The Committee is an international body of 18 independent child rights experts. They are elected by the governments that have ratified the UN Convention. Each member of the Committee serves for four years, and can be re-elected at the end of that time. Their task is to monitor governments to see if they are taking the necessary actions to ensure the rights of children.

Governments who have ratified the UN Convention are required to produce a report for the Committee every five years. The Committee reviews these reports, and encourages national non-governmental organisations (NGOs), coalitions and other expert bodies to submit reports highlighting the gaps and challenges to respecting and realising children’s rights in each country. The Committee meets with a delegation from the government and, after analysis and discussion, it produces recommendations to the government. The government is then expected to act on these recommendations.

Activity 1.4: Children’s rights in your country

Having looked in more detail at the Articles of the UN Convention:

  • Which two areas of children’s rights do you think your country is doing well on?
  • Which two areas of children’s rights do you think your country needs to do more work on?
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The answer to these questions will obviously depend on where you live and work, but from your experience in your community and as a health worker, you will probably be aware of ways in which children’s well-being is promoted. For example, in recent years, many governments have invested in expanding primary education to try to ensure universal access to education. However, you may be aware of problems that children are experiencing that the government does not seem to do anything about; for example, being beaten by teachers when they go to school.

If you have access to the internet, you can find the latest report to the UN Convention for your country and the Committee’s response. To do this:

  • Go to the United Nations website at: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/ _layouts/ treatybodyexternal/ TBSearch.aspx?Lang=en [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]
  • Under the heading ‘Filter by State’, tick the box next to your country.
  • Under the heading ‘Filter by Committee’, tick the box next to where it says ‘CRC’.
  • Under the heading ‘Filter by document type’, tick the box next to where it says ‘reports’.
  • You will see that the reports from the governments are called State Party’s Reports.

You may need to scroll up and down to find the right boxes to tick.

1.6 Duties and responsibilities

1.8 African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child