Committee on the Rights of the Child Closes Ninety-Fourth Session after Adopting Concluding Observations on Reports of Albania, Andorra, Dominican Republic, Kyrgyzstan, Liechtenstein and Togo
The Committee on the Rights of the Child this afternoon concluded its ninety-fourth session after adopting concluding observations on the reports of Albania, Andorra, Dominican Republic, Kyrgyzstan, Liechtenstein and Togo. The concluding observations will be made available on the session’s webpage on Thursday, 28 September.
Ann Marie Skelton, Committee Chairperson, said that as of 22 September, there were 196 States parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 173 States parties to the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict, 178 States parties to the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and 50 States parties to the Optional Protocol on the communications procedure. Next year marked the tenth anniversary of the latter Optional Protocol, and Ms. Skelton called on States parties to work on ratifying it, to make 2024 a remarkable year for ratifications.
Ms. Skelton said the Committee had held on Monday, 18 September 2023 a formal launch of its general comment 26 on children’s rights and the environment, with a special focus on climate change, at the Palais des Nations. The event was well-attended by States parties and civil society. The Child Rights Advisory Team conveyed at the event messages of concern and urgency, but also of hope. They demonstrated their clear commitment to taking forward the implementation of the general comment, with the support of thousands of children and young people who had contributed to it. The Advisory Team and local children also held a tree-planting ceremony to mark the launch. Ms. Skelton paid tribute to all stakeholders who had contributed to the event and the creation of the general comment.
Another important event held during the session was the first anniversary of the joint statement on illegal intercountry adoptions, which was co-facilitated with the Committee on Enforced Disappearances and other Special Procedures. This event was made deeply meaningful and memorable by the testimonies of victims of illegal adoptions. They spoke of the human rights violations they had faced, and the need for support and assistance for people to trace their origins. Ms. Skelton expressed thanks to the members of the treaty bodies and Special Procedure mandate holders who contributed to the event.
On individual communications, Ms. Skelton said the Committee had adopted decisions on six cases. It had found violations of the Convention in two cases: one case against Argentina on the child justice system, and one case against Denmark on the deportation of a father of three minor children, resulting in the separation from his children. The Committee also declared a case against Switzerland inadmissible. It discontinued a further two cases against Switzerland due to positive outcomes, and one case against Spain due to loss of contact with the author of the communication. The Committee also discussed three inquiries under article 13 of the Optional Protocol.
On 22 September 2023, the Committee decided to create a new cluster entitled "children's rights and the environment" to be used in dialogues with States parties and the Committee’s concluding observations. It would be including questions about this topic in its dialogues and in recommendations to States parties. This was the Committee’s first step towards implementation of general comment 26.
The Committee decided during the session to continue with a pilot project to undertake back-to-back reviews with the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, and it had committed to undertake a joint back-to-back review in May 2024. The Committee would continue to evaluate this process.
During the session, the Committee also adopted a concept note for a visit to the Pacific Region in November 2023, to follow up to the eighty-fourth extraordinary session of the Committee that was held in Samoa in 2020. The Committee would visit the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and Tuvalu, and hold a follow-up workshop in Samoa, where it expected that these States would report on measures taken to give effect to the Committee’s recommendations, share good practice stories, and discuss constraints and challenges to implementation.
The Committee had also discussed the Guidance Note of the Secretary-General on Child Rights Mainstreaming with Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and civil society during the session. It would continue to push forward on this significant opportunity, including through interacting with other treaty bodies, Special Procedures and entities across and beyond the United Nations system.
Ms. Skelton thanked the Committee’s many partners for their cooperation during the session, including United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations, national human rights institutions and children. The Committee had enjoyed increased interactions with the other treaty bodies and Special Procedures, and would continue to deepen this interaction in the coming sessions.
Rinchen Chophel, Committee Vice-Chair and Rapporteur, presented a report on the activities of the Committee’s working groups and the individual members of the Committee during the session and in the inter-sessional period.
The Committee then adopted the report of its ninety-fourth session.
In closing, Ms. Skelton said that the ninety-fourth session had been very busy and productive. She expressed thanks to new Bureau members Bragi Gudbrandsson, Rinchen Chophel, Sopio Kiladze and Luis Ernesto Pedernera Reyna, Committee members, members of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Secretariat for their contributions to the session.
The Committee will hold its ninety-fifth session from 15 January to 2 February 2024, when it is scheduled to review the reports of Bulgaria, Congo, Israel, Lithuania, Russian Federation, Senegal, South Africa and Senegal.
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