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Human Rights Commissioner welcomes children’s new right to submit individual complaints

28.02.2013 - Press release

Human Rights Commissioner Markus Löning issued the following statement upon the ratification of the 3rd Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child:

"I am very pleased that Germany was so quick in ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. One year ago, Germany was one of the first states to sign the Protocol and today, exactly one year later, it is the third state to ratify it. This shows how much importance we attach to children’s rights.

Children have rights such as the right to education and medical care. They should not work and should have a say when it comes to taking important decisions about their lives. Previously, if children’s rights were violated, it was only possible to submit a complaint to the national courts. The new Protocol allows children to submit a complaint to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva if their rights have been violated by the state. This will also strengthen the position of children in the international community.

It is vital that other states follow Germany’s example and quickly ratify the Protocol. Only then will it enter into force and strengthen children’s rights throughout the world."

The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child concerning a Communications Procedure is the Third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Germany has also ratified the Protocols on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and on the involvement of children in armed conflict. After Thailand and Gabon, Germany is now the third State Party to the Protocol on individual complaints. The Protocol will enter into force upon ratification by ten states and will enable children to submit a complaint to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva if their rights have been violated by the state. This is on the condition that the case has been through the national courts. The Committee on the Rights of the Child may then make recommendations to the state concerned.

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