TREATIES CONCERNING INTERNATIONAL LAW CONCLUDED
UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE UNITED NATIONS AND
RELATED INTERGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
Treaties concerning international law concluded under the auspices of the United Nations
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a
Communications procedure. New York, 19 December 2011*
The States parties to the present Protocol,
Considering that, in accordance with the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, the recognition of the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Noting that the States parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (hereinafter referred to as “the Convention”) recognize the rights set forth in it to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status,
Reaffirming the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelatedness of all human rights and fundamental freedoms,
Reaffirming also the status of the child as a subject of rights and as a human being with dignity and with evolving capacities,
Recognizing that children’s special and dependent status may create real difficulties for them in pursuing remedies for violations of their rights,
Considering that the present Protocol will reinforce and complement national and regional mechanisms allowing children to submit complaints for violations of their rights,
Recognizing that the best interests of the child should be a primary consideration to be respected in pursuing remedies for violations of the rights of the child, and that such remedies should take into account the need for child-sensitive procedures at all levels,
Encouraging States parties to develop appropriate national mechanisms to enable a child whose rights have been violated to have access to effective remedies at the domestic level,
* Adopted at the sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly of the United Nations by resolution 66/138 of 19 December 2011.
Recalling the important role that national human rights institutions and other relevant specialized institutions, mandated to promote and protect the rights of the child, can play in this regard,
Considering that, in order to reinforce and complement such national mechanisms and to further enhance the implementation of the Convention and, where applicable, the Optional Protocols thereto on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and on the involvement of children in armed conflict, it would be appropriate to enable the Committee on the Rights of the Child (hereinafter referred to as “the Committee”) to carry out the functions provided for in the present Protocol,
Have agreed as follows:
Part I. General Provisions
Article 1. Competence of the Committee on the Rights of the Child
A State party to the present Protocol recognizes the competence of the Committee as provided for by the present Protocol.
The Committee shall not exercise its competence regarding a State party to the present Protocol on matters concerning violations of rights set forth in an instrument to which that State is not a party.
No communication shall be received by the Committee if it concerns a State that is not a party to the present Protocol.
Article 2. General principles guiding the functions of the Committee
In fulfilling the functions conferred on it by the present Protocol, the Committee shall be guided by the principle of the best interests of the child. It shall also have regard for the rights and views of the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.
Article 3. Rules of procedure
The Committee shall adopt rules of procedure to be followed when exercising the functions conferred on it by the present Protocol. In doing so, it shall have regard, in particular, for article 2 of the present Protocol in order to guarantee child-sensitive procedures.
The Committee shall include in its rules of procedure safeguards to prevent the manipulation of the child by those acting on his or her behalf and may decline to examine any communication that it considers not to be in the child’s best interests.
Article 4. Protection measures
A State party shall take all appropriate steps to ensure that individuals under its jurisdiction are not subjected to any human rights violation, ill-treatment or intimidation as a consequence of communications or cooperation with the Committee pursuant to the present Protocol.
The identity of any individual or group of individuals concerned shall not be revealed publicly without their express consent.
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Part II. Communications procedure
Article 5. Individual communications
Communications may be submitted by or on behalf of an individual or group of individuals, within the jurisdiction of a State party, claiming to be victims of a violation by that State party of any of the rights set forth in any of the following instruments to which that State is a party:
(a) the Convention;
(b) the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography;
(c) the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the involvement of children in armed conflict.
Where a communication is submitted on behalf of an individual or group of individuals, this shall be with their consent unless the author can justify acting on their behalf without such consent.
Article 6. Interim measures
At any time after the receipt of a communication and before a determination on the merits has been reached, the Committee may transmit to the State party concerned for its urgent consideration a request that the State party take such interim measures as may be necessary in exceptional circumstances to avoid possible irreparable damage to the victim or victims of the alleged violations.
Where the Committee exercises its discretion under paragraph 1 of the present article, this does not imply a determination on admissibility or on the merits of the communication.
Article 7. Admissibility
The Committee shall consider a communication inadmissible when:
(a) the communication is anonymous;
(b) the communication is not in writing;
(c) the communication constitutes an abuse of the right of submission of such communications or is incompatible with the provisions of the Convention and/or the Optional Protocols thereto;
(d) the same matter has already been examined by the Committee or has been or is being examined under another procedure of international investigation or settlement;
(e) all available domestic remedies have not been exhausted. This shall not be the rule where the application of the remedies is unreasonably prolonged or unlikely to bring effective relief;
(f) the communication is manifestly ill-founded or not sufficiently substantiated;
(g) the facts that are the subject of the communication occurred prior to the entry into force of the present Protocol for the State party concerned, unless those facts continued after that date;
(h) the communication is not submitted within one year after the exhaustion of domestic remedies, except in cases where the author can demonstrate that it had not been possible to submit the communication within that time limit.
Article 8. Transmission of the communication
Unless the Committee considers a communication inadmissible without reference to the State party concerned, the Committee shall bring any communication submitted to it under the present Protocol confidentially to the attention of the State party concerned as soon as possible.
The State party shall submit to the Committee written explanations or statements clarifying the matter and the remedy, if any, that it may have provided. The State party shall submit its response as soon as possible and within six months.
Article 9. Friendly settlement
The Committee shall make available its good offices to the parties concerned with a view to reaching a friendly settlement of the matter on the basis of respect for the obligations set forth in the Convention and/or the Optional Protocols thereto.
An agreement on a friendly settlement reached under the auspices of the Committee closes consideration of the communication under the present Protocol.
Article 10. Consideration of communications
The Committee shall consider communications received under the present Protocol as quickly as possible, in the light of all documentation submitted to it, provided that this documentation is transmitted to the parties concerned.
The Committee shall hold closed meetings when examining communications received under the present Protocol.
Where the Committee has requested interim measures, it shall expedite the consideration of the communication.
When examining communications alleging violations of economic, social or cultural rights, the Committee shall consider the reasonableness of the steps taken by the State party in accordance with article 4 of the Convention. In doing so, the Committee shall bear in mind that the State party may adopt a range of possible policy measures for the implementation of the economic, social and cultural rights in the Convention.
After examining a communication, the Committee shall, without delay, transmit its views on the communication, together with its recommendations, if any, to the parties concerned.
Article 11. Follow-up
The State party shall give due consideration to the views of the Committee, together with its recommendations, if any, and shall submit to the Committee a written response, including information on any action taken and envisaged in the light of the views and recommendations of the Committee. The State party shall submit its...