Press Releases

    UNIS/INF/120
    12 January 2006

    The Committee on Rights of Child Is Meeting in Geneva from 9 to 27 January 2006

    Situation of Child Rights in Switzerland, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Peru, Ghana, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Trinidad and Tobago, Hungary, Lithuania, Azerbaijan, Mauritius, Saudi Arabia and Thailand to Be Reviewed

    (Re-issued as received.)

    VIENNA, 12 January (UN Information Service) -- The Committee on the Rights of the Child will meet at the Palais Wilson in Geneva from 9 to 27 January 2006 to review the promotion and protection of children's rights in Switzerland, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Peru, Ghana, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Trinidad and Tobago, Hungary, Lithuania, Azerbaijan, Mauritius, Saudi Arabia and Thailand.

    The Committee was formed in 1991 to monitor the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which gives a comprehensive collection of children's rights the force of international law. The countries scheduled to come before the Committee at this session are among the 192 to have ratified or acceded to the Convention. The treaty is the most widely accepted international human rights instrument. Only Somalia and the United States have not ratified it. States parties to the Convention are expected to send representatives to the Committee to present periodic reports on national efforts to give effect to children's rights.

    The Committee's 18 Experts will start the session by approving their agenda and programme of work. For the first time, they will be working in two concurrent chambers to help the Committee overcome its backlog in consideration of reports.

    Ghana, Liechtenstein, Trinidad and Tobago, Hungary, Lithuania, Azerbaijan, Mauritius, Saudi Arabia and Thailand are presenting second periodic reports; Peru is presenting its third periodic report. Switzerland and Bangladesh are presenting their initial reports under the Convention's Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict. Kazakhstan and Morocco are presenting their initial reports under the Convention's Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. Andorra is presenting its initial reports to both Optional Protocols.

    During the session, the Committee will pursue its discussion of ways and areas in which existing cooperation with various relevant bodies could be further strengthened to enhance the promotion and protection of the rights of the child. The Committee will also pursue its discussion concerning the organization of its future work, as well as the procedure to be followed in the consideration of reports by States parties and their follow-up, including where necessary areas identified for technical assistance. The Committee will also pursue the elaboration of general comments based on the various principles and provisions of the Convention. The Committee will also consider and adopt its biennial report to the General Assembly.

    The initial report of Ghana was taken up on 22 and 23 May 1997, and the Committee's final conclusions on it can be found in document CRC/C/15/Add.73; the initial report of Liechtenstein was taken up on 10 January 2001, and the Committee's final conclusions on it can be found in document CRC/C/15/Add.143; the initial report of Trinidad and Tobago was taken up on 2 and 3 October 1997, and the Committee's final conclusions on it can be found in document CRC/C/15/Add.82; the initial report of Hungary was taken up on 19 and 20 May 1998, and the Committee's final conclusions on it can be found in document CRC/C/15/Add.87; the initial report of Lithuania was taken up on 9 January 2001, and the Committee's final conclusions on it can be found in document CRC/C/15/Add.146; the initial report of Azerbaijan was taken up on 2 and 3 June 1997, and the Committee's final conclusions on it can be found in document CRC/C/15/Add.77; the initial report of Mauritius was taken up on 3 and 4 October 1996, and the Committee's final conclusions on it can be found in document CRC/C/15/Add.64; the initial report of Saudi Arabia was taken up on 9 January 2001, and the Committee's final conclusions on it can be found in document CRC/C/15/Add.148; and the initial report of Thailand was taken up on 1 and 2 October 1998, and the Committee's final conclusions on it can be found in document CRC/C/15/Add.97. The second periodic report of Peru was taken up on 21 January 2000, and the Committee's final conclusions on it can be found in document CRC/C/15/Add.120.

    Convention on the Rights of the Child

    The General Assembly adopted the Convention unanimously on 20 November 1989, 30 years after the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of the Child. The Convention makes States, which accept it, legally accountable for their actions towards children. Work on drafting the Convention began in 1979 -- the International Year of the Child -- at the Commission on Human Rights.

    The Convention was opened for signature on 26 January 1990. That day, 61 countries signed it, a record first-day response. It entered into force just seven months later, on 2 September 1990.

    Ratifying the Convention entails reviewing national legislation to make sure it is in line with the provisions of the treaty. The Convention stipulates, among other things, that every child has the right to life, and that States shall ensure the maximum child survival and development; that every child has the right to a name and nationality from birth; and that when courts, welfare institutions or administrative authorities deal with children, the child's best interests shall be a primary consideration. The Convention recognizes the right of children to be heard.

    Furthermore, States shall ensure that each child enjoys full rights without discrimination or distinction of any kind, and shall ensure that children should not be separated from their parents, unless by competent authorities for their well-being. In addition, States shall facilitate reunification of families by permitting travel into, or out of, their territories; and States shall protect children from physical or mental harm and neglect, including sexual abuse or exploitation.

    Also according to the Convention, disabled children shall have the right to special treatment, education and care; primary education shall be free and compulsory and discipline in school should respect the child's dignity; capital punishment or life imprisonment shall not be imposed for crimes committed before the age of 18; no child under 15 should take any part in hostilities and children exposed to armed conflict shall receive special protection; and children of minority and indigenous populations shall freely enjoy their own cultures, religions and languages.

    In May 2000, the General Assembly adopted by consensus the two Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict and on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. The Optional Protocols entered into force in 2002.

    At its fifty-ninth session (2004), the UN General Assembly agreed to the request of the Committee to work simultaneously in two chambers during 2006 (starting with the pre-sessional working group meeting of October 2005) in order to increase the working capacity of the Committee and decrease the existing backlog of reports (see A/59/499).

    Committee Membership

    The Convention requires that the members of the Committee have a high moral standing and recognized competence in the field of children's rights. The following Experts, nominated by the States parties to serve in their personal capacity, have been elected to the Committee: Ghalia Mohd Bin Hamad Al-Thani (Qatar), Joyce Aluoch (Kenya), Mary Alison Anderson (Jamaica); Jacob Egbert Doek (the Netherlands), Kamel Filali (Algeria), Moushira Khattab (Egypt), Hatem Kotrane (Tunisia), Lothar Friedrich Krappmann (Germany), Yanghee Lee (Republic of Korea), Norberto Liwski (Argentina), Rosa Maria Ortiz (Paraguay), Awa N'Deye Ouedraogo (Burkina Faso), David Brent Parfitt (Canada), Awich Pollar (Uganda), Kamal Siddiqui (Bangladesh), Lucy Smith (Norway), Nevena Vuckovic-Sahovic (Serbia and Montenegro) and Jean Zermatten (Switzerland).

    Mr. Doek is the Chairperson. While the Committee is meeting in two chambers, Mr. Doek is also Chairperson for Chamber A. Mr. Khattab is the Chairperson for Chamber B. Ms. Aluoch, Ms. Lee, Mr. Liwski and Ms. Khattab are Vice Chairpersons, and Ms. Vuckovic-Sahovic is the Rapporteur.

    Tentative Timetable for Consideration of Reports

    Following is a tentative timetable for the consideration of reports from States parties to the Convention during this session:

    Chamber A Chamber B

    Monday, 9 January
    3 p.m. Switzerland OPAC Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict Bangladesh OPAC

    Wednesday 11 January
    10 a.m Kazakhstan OPSA‡‡ Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography Morocco OPSA

    Thursday 12 January
    10 a.m. Peru Closed meeting
    3 p.m Peru (continued) Closed meeting

    Friday 13 January
    10 a.m. Ghana Liechtenstein
    3 p.m. Ghana (continued) Liechtenstein (continued)

    Monday 16 January
    10 a.m. Andorra OPSA and OPAC Trinidad and Tobago
    3 p.m. Andorra OPSA and OPAC Trinidad and Tobago (continued)

    Wednesday 18 January
    10 a.m. Hungary Lithuania
    3 p.m. Hungary (continued) Lithuania (continued)

    Thursday 19 January
    10 a.m. Azerbaijan Mauritius
    3 p.m. Azerbaijan (continued) Mauritius (continued)

    Tuesday 24 January
    10 a.m. Saudi Arabia Thailand
    3 p.m. Saudi Arabia (continued) Thailand (continued)

    * Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict
    ‡ Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

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