Australian government urged to give children a voice

AUSTRALIA should waste no time in signing and ratifying the United Nations’ international complaints procedure for children whose rights have been violated World Vision said yesterday.

The Third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure (OP3 CRC) comes into force today, almost 25 years after the original Convention was opened for signatures and gained near universal ratification.

Despite the long standing global commitment to children’s rights there has been no complaint mechanism in place, a situation that has now been rectified with victims of violations in countries who have ratified OP3 CRC able to seek recourse to the United Nations if they are unable to achieve a solution at a national level.

The Australian government has neither signed nor ratified the OP3 CRC, but World Vision Australia’s Director of Government and Multilaterals Julianne Scenna said they had a good opportunity to stand up for child rights and show their commitment to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Ten countries have already ratified the convention.

“We call on the government to ratify the communications protocol as an important next step in promoting and protecting child rights, giving children access to complaint mechanisms,” Ms Scenna said.

World Vision child rights expert Sara Austin will address a special event at the UN in New York today to mark the treaty coming into force after receiving ratification from the required 10 countries.

“Every day we witness violations of children’s most basic rights. Children are fighting to survive, let alone thrive. They experience discrimination, violence in their communities, schools and homes, as well as a lack of access to basic services,” Ms Austin said.

“This new treaty gives children the ability to be heard directly by the United Nations and have a say in holding governments accountable.”

The ten countries to have ratified are: Albania, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Gabon, Germany, Monténégro, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Thailand. An additional 45 countries have signed the protocol, indicating their intention to ratify. “We urge all states to show their commitment to promoting and protecting children’s rights by ratifying this new treaty without delay so more children can access international justice,” Ms Austin said.

Source: World Vision Australia

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Ryan Fritz

Ryan Fritz started The Advocate in 2014 to provide not-for-profits and charities with another media platform to tell their worthwhile hard news stories and opinion pieces effortlessly. In 2020, Ryan formed a team of volunteer journalists to help spread even more high-quality stories from the third sector. He also has over 10 years of experience as a media and communications professional for not-for-profits and charities.

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