The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is a body of 18 independent experts. It is in charge of monitoring the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by State parties. It also monitors the implementation of the two optional protocols to the Convention, on involvement of children in armed conflict and on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
All State parties must submit periodic reports to the Committee on the implementation process of child rights in their countries. Reports should be produced two years after the State ratifies the Convention and then every five years. The Committee examines each report and expresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in its "concluding observations". The Committee also reviews additional reports, which are submitted by the States that have acceded to the two Optional Protocols to the Convention.
In order to spread its own interpretation of child rights regulations the Committee regularly releases "General Comments" on thematic issues and organizes "Days of General Discussion".
The Committee meets in Geneva and normally holds three three-week plenary sessions a year, preceded by one-week pre-sessional meetings of its working group.
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The"CRC country updates"provide information on the reporting status to the CRC of countries, notably where BICE is present.
CRC country updates are composed of two reports:
1- Periodic report
National reports are submitted to open and public discussions where the State representatives and the Committee members share their views and concerns. The examined State is requested to give information on key issues such as "considerations and obstacles", "achieved progress", "implementation priorities" and "specific goals for the future”.
2- Concluding Observations
Concluding observations refer both to positive aspects of a State's implementation of the Convention and areas where the Committee recommends that further action needs to be taken. The CRC is committed to issuing concluding observations which are concrete, focused and implementable and pays increasing attention to measures to ensure effective follow-up to its concluding observations. The concluding observations usually contain the following aspects: introduction; positive aspects (including progress achieved); factors and difficulties impeding the implementation; principal subjects for concern; suggestions and recommendations addressed to the State party.
They are made public on the last day of a Committee session during the adoption of the report, of which they form a part. Once adopted, they are made available to the State party concerned, and also issued as official documents of the Committee. It is assumed that concerns expressed by the Committee in its concluding observations will be addressed in a detailed manner by the State party in its next report.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child regularly issues "General Comments" on thematic points or on its methods of work.
The Committee's General Comments provide an authoritative interpretation of the child rights legal framework as established in the Convention. Those comments are based on the Committee's experience in monitoring State Party reports.
The Convention does not explicitly mention "General Comments" but Article 45 (d) allows the Committee to "make suggestions and general recommendations based on information received pursuant to articles 44 and 45 of the Convention". Rule 73 from the Committee's "Rules of procedure" also specifies that the Committee may prepare General Comments.
General comments mostly aim at promoting the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and assisting State Parties in complying with their reporting obligations.
General Comments in 2013
- General Comment n°15: The right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health
- General Comment n°16: On State obligations regarding the impact of the business sector on children's rights
- General Comment n°17: The right of the child to rest, leisure, play, recreational activities, cultural life and the arts
Days of General Discussion are organized once a year by the Committee. By facilitating discussion on specific issues or articles of the Convention on the rights of the child, greater insight is provided to the wider audience.
Representatives of Governments, UN human rights mechanisms and bodies, specialized agencies, NGOs and national human rights institutions can intervene during the public debate.
The recommendations of the Days of General Discussion are available in English only.