April 17, 2012
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NGOs Call on States to Ratify the UN Complaints Procedure
Geneva, 28 February 2012 – For the first time ever and more than twenty years after the official recognition of their rights, children can access justice at the international level thanks to the active campaigning promoted by an NGO coalition from across the world since 2006, which has resulted in the adoption of a new Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The official United Nations signing ceremony took place today, 28 February 2012, during the United Nations Human Rights Council session in Geneva. Twenty States signed the Protocol; they included Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Finland, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Maldives, Mali, Montenegro, Morocco, Peru, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Uruguay. While signing is an important first step, those States will still need to ratify the Protocol in order to be legally bound by its provisions and at least ten countries must ratify the Protocol before it can go into effect.
The Optional Protocol will enhance the existing Convention on the Rights of the Child by addressing child trafficking, child prostitution and pornography, and the use of children in armed conflict. It will grant children, and their representatives, the right to appeal to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in cases where they cannot secure justice in their own country.
The NGO coalition will continue to advocate for this Protocol to be ratified as quickly as possible, while working towards raising awareness about this instrument and garnering public support for its effective implementation for the protection of all children’s rights.