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Committee on the Rights of the Child

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Committee on the Rights of the Child
Formation1991; 33 years ago (1991)
TypeUnited Nations Committee
Legal statusActive
HeadquartersGeneva, Switzerland
Ann Marie Skelton

The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is a body of experts that monitor and report on the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.[1][2]

The committee also monitors the convention's three optional protocols: the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure.[3]

History and organization[edit]

The CRC is one of the ten UN human rights treaty-based bodies.[4] The committee was created by the convention on 27 February 1991.[5] The committee is made up of 18 members from different countries and legal systems who are of 'high moral standing' and experts in the field of human rights. Although members are nominated and elected by States party to the convention, committee members act in a personal capacity. They do not represent their countries' governments or any other organization to which they might belong. Members are elected for a four-year term and can be re-elected if nominated.

The 196 states that have ratified the convention ("States party to the Convention") (which includes all UN member states except the United States, South Sudan ratified on 23 January 2015, Somalia's domestic ratification finished in January 2015 and the instrument was deposited with the United Nations in October 2015.[6]) are required to submit initial and periodic reports on the national situation of children's rights to the committee for examination. The committee examines each report and raises concerns or makes recommendations to the State party. It also issues occasional general comments on the interpretation of particular Convention obligations. Once a year, the committee submits a report to the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, which also hears a statement from the CRC Chair, and the Assembly adopts a Resolution on the Rights of the Child.[7][8]

Individual complaints may be considered only under certain conditions by the committee, as is the case with other committees established by international human rights treaties.[9] The case of Gendhun Choekyi Nyima, 11th Panchen Lama, was considered by the committee on 28 May 1996, as well as at other later dates.[10]

In November 2014, for the first time, the committee joined with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women to release a comprehensive interpretation of the obligations of States to prevent and eliminate harmful practices done to women and girls.[11]


The current members of the Committee on the Rights of the Child are listed on the Web site of the Office of the UN Commissioner for Human Rights.[12] Information on former CRC members is linked from the same Web page. The current president of the committee is Luis Pedernera, a children's rights expert from Uruguay.[13] As of 2022, the committee chair is international human rights lawyer Mikiko Otani.[14]

Periodic Report on the Holy See[edit]

In February 2014 the committee, after interviewing two top officials of the Catholic Church, published observations[15] described as "a scathing indictment of the Vatican’s handling of child sexual abuse cases involving clerics, releasing a report that included criticism of church teachings on homosexuality, gender equality and abortion".[16] The Holy See released a critical statement and said that it did not appreciate being asked to change its position on issues it considered immutable. Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See's permanent observer at the UN, said that he suspected pro-gay-rights NGOs had influenced the committee and "reinforced an ideological line" in the UN. Advocates for the survivors of clerical sex abuse welcomed the committee's findings.[17][18]

Days of General Discussion[edit]

Each year, the committee on the Rights of the Child holds an international Day of General Discussion, bringing together experts and civil society members to discuss important children's rights issues with the committee. In 2021, the Day of General Discussion focuses on alternatives to institutional care for children. In particular, it aims to, “Create meaningful engagement for children and young people who have experience of the child protection system and/or of living in alternative care of any type so they can voice their opinions on what constitutes quality care and advocate for legislative and systemic changes.”[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child . New York: United Nations Treaty Collection. 1989 – via Wikisource.
  2. ^ Volger, Helmut, ed. (2010). A Concise Encyclopedia of the United Nations (2nd ed.). Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff. pp. 326–329. ISBN 978-90-04-18004-8.
  3. ^ Manhire, Vanessa, ed. (2019). "United Nations Handbook 2019–20" (PDF). United Nations Handbook:: An Annual Guide for Those Working within the United Nations (57th ed.). Wellington: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand: 293–294. ISSN 0110-1951.
  4. ^ "OHCHR | Human Rights Bodies". www.ohchr.org. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  5. ^ "www.humanium.org: Committee on the Rights of the Child - What it is and how it works". Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  6. ^ "Joint statement on Somalia's ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child". The Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF. 2 October 2015. Retrieved 18 June 2021.
  7. ^ Child Rights Information Network (2008). Convention on the Rights of the Child Archived 3 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 26 November 2008.
  8. ^ "Resolution on the Rights of the Child, 21 November 2012" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 June 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  9. ^ "Complaints about human rights violations—Treaty Bodies". Retrieved 16 May 2022.
  10. ^ Gedhun Choekyi Nyima: the XIth Panchen Lama of Tibet Archived 24 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine website of TCHRD
  11. ^ "UN human rights experts set out countries' obligations to tackle harmful practices such as FGM and forced marriage". United Nations Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. 5 November 2014. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  12. ^ "Membership". OHCHR.
  13. ^ "ACNUDH | Myanmar: UN report calls for urgent action to end human rights catastrophe". www.ohchr.org. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  14. ^ "Committee on the Rights of the Child opens its ninetieth session, hears from the High Commissioner for Human Rights". Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. 3 May 2022. Retrieved 16 May 2022.
  15. ^ Committee on the Rights of the Child: Concluding observations on the second periodic report of the Holy See, 31 January 2014 Archived 8 December 2022 at the Wayback Machine draft published on the Washington Post Web site
  16. ^ Faiola, Anthony; Boorstein, Michelle (5 February 2014). "U.N. panel blasts Vatican handling of clergy sex abuse, church teachings on gays, abortion". The Washington Post. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  17. ^ Katherine Gallagher, a senior staff attorney at the US-based Centre for Constitutional Rights was among those who welcomed the committee's findings on sex abuse within the Catholic Church
  18. ^ Davies, Lizzy; McDonald, Henry (5 February 2014). "Vatican envoy rejects UN panel's critical verdict on clerical abuse scandal". The Guardian. London.
  19. ^ "OHCHR | Day of General Discussion: Children's rights and alternative care". www.ohchr.org. Retrieved 27 September 2021.

External links[edit]