Our Organization is the Main Link with the Committee on the
Rights of the Child
The NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
works with independent NGOs and national child rights coalitions
in any country that has ratified the Convention on the Rights of
the Child and/or its Optional Protocols (OPs). It supports national
NGOs and coalitions from over 160 countries in reporting on CRC
and its OPs. The organisation has developed leading expertise in
the work of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the
monitoring of the Convention.
BHRM met Ms. Shushan Khachyan, the child rights officer at the NGO Group for the CRC, at her office in Geneva.
Here is the outcome of the meeting.
Q. What are the procedures you follow with regards
to promoting the rights of the child?
All States parties to the Convention have to submit regular reports
to the Committee on how the rights of children are being observed
in their countries. States must report initially two years after
acceding to the Convention and then every five years. The Committee
is composed of 18 independent experts (4 Committee members are from
the Middle East and North Africa) who meet in Geneva to examine
the progress made by States and address their concerns and recommendations
in the form of “concluding observations”.
In order to obtain a more complete picture of children's rights
in the country, the Committee seeks written information from other
sources, such as NGOs, inter-governmental organisations and National
Human Rigths Institutions (NHRIs). Any complementary information
received by the Committee is reviewed during the pre-sessional working
group meeting. The Committee invites certain NGOs, UN agencies and
NHRIs who have submitted information to present their views during
this meeting. The Committee then prepares a list of issues to be
submitted to the government for their responses and invites them
to answer the questions and comments during the plenary session.
At the end of the dialogue, the Committee prepares concluding observations
which reflect the main concerns and issues. The States parties then
have to take appropriate legislative, administrative and policy
measures to implement the recommendations. The role of NGOs is crucial
in advocating and lobbying with their governments to follow up Committee's
recommendations requiring specific follow-up action at the national
Q. What is the relationship of your NGO with the
In 1983, 20 NGOs formed an Ad Hoc Group for the drafting of the
Convention to ensure a comprehensive treaty on child rights. This
led to the first international human rights treaty for children,
the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Over the years
we have become the main link between national and international
NGOs and the Committee, mainly by supporting NGOs in the reporting
and follow up process as well as making NGO voice influential in
child rights developments both at national and international levels.
In addition to assisting NGOs in effectively presenting their views
to the Committee, we ensure NGO participation in the Days of General
Discussion, General Comments, elections of the Committee members
and sub-regional workshops.
Q. What is the role of your NGO in this process?
We assist NGOs throughout the reporting process by informing
them about the reporting obligations of their State party, advising
them on how to get involved with the UN human rights system, providing
them with training, technical assistance and advice.
We have built strong partnership with NGOs in different regions
across Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania. In the Middle
East we have worked with NGOs in Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and
Iran by supporting NGO initiatives in preparing reports as well
as building national NGO coalitions.
Q. What kind of technical assistance NGOs can expect?
We offer NGOs our expertise on how to prepare NGO reports, build
national NGO coalitions and follow-up Committee's concluding observations
either in the form of trainings or by various communication means.
We provide financial assistance to NGOs to participate in the pre-session
working group in Geneva to explain their perspective on child rights.
We also provide NGOs with practical tools, guides and fact-sheets
on children's rights.
The countries scheduled to be examined by the Committee in the
near future are Qatar, Egypt, Bahrain and Syrian Arab Republic and
we would like to invite NGOs and national coalitions in the Middle
East to contribute to the reporting process by submitting information
on the main areas of concern with respect to children in their countries,
and constructively engage in dialogue with the Committee. This will
complement the efforts of their governments towards promoting and
protecting the best interests of children in the country. For more
information they can contact us by email email@example.com
by phone +41 22 740 4730 or by visiting our website: www.childrightsnet.org.
Q. How can NGOs benefit from this process?
By submitting information about the main issues of concern in
their countries and by taking part in the reporting process, NGOs
will get involved in high-profile advocacy work at international
level and can influence the country's agenda on the promotion of
children's rights at national level.
It is of particular importance to the Committee to receive supplementary
information to the State party report on the situation of children
from national human rights institutions and NGOs. By highlighting
the main issues of concern as well as making recommendations towards
improving the situation, NGOs will make a valuable input in drafting
the recommendations addressed to their government.
We would like to draw your attention to the fact that the information
will be treated confidentially and will be available only to the
Committee's experts. The NGOs will have an opportunity to meet the
Committee experts during the pre-session working group meeting and
discuss the main issues with them directly thus influencing the
questions to be addressed to their government.
We would like to use this opportunity to call upon NGOs in the
Middle East to get involved in the global discussions on child rights
in the UN human rights system. We look forward to receiving requests
for information and collaboration with the NGOs in the Middle East
and North Africa.