Children as actors of their rights

by Terre des hommes | Terre des hommes (Tdh) - Switzerland
Tuesday, 8 April 2014 14:25 GMT

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Children as actors of their rights

From now on at the United Nations, children will be able to file an individual complaint whenever a breach of their rights occurs. A legal loophole in the international protection will therefore be plugged on Monday, 14 april 2014, entry into force of the 3rd Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (

New recognition of children as subjects of law is favorably received by Terre des hommes (Tdh). This third optional protocol, completing the existing Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as the two other existing protocols on children’s rights, will henceforth enable children to directly assert their rights before the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Children defend their rights

The Committee on the Rights of the Child, an United Nations body comprising 18 independent experts, performs the function of supervising execution, by the States, of the rights in the Convention and in protocols related to children’s rights ( If a child or a group of children considers himself grieved, he will now be able, after having used up all of his country’s legal remedies beforehand, to appeal to that Committee. If a violation is found, the latter will issue recommendations to the State in question which will have to remedy the situation.«we will be working continually for the children’s rights to be respected and for their point of view to be taken into account», ensures Mrs. Sandberg, President of the Committee (

Thus, the entry into force of the Committee marks a major step forward in international child protection; the children will now be able to fully enjoy their rights. Assessment of individual cases of human rights violations should enable for abuses to be brought to an end more easily and for providing redress for the victims.

States summoned to shoulder their responsibilities

«It is a great leap forward in the implementation of children’s rights, but we also urge the States to develop their own systems in order to guarantee that the rights of the children are respected and protected, and that their voices is heard», argued Mrs. Sandberg. Moreover, one procedure of the 3rd Protocol will enable a State, when it considers that another State doesn’t fulfill its commitments towards the Convention for the Rights of the Child or its optional protocols, to file a complaint against it. However, the States remain strongly urged to fully apply children’s rights in their internal practices.

Tdh, as children’s rights ambassador, will be taking particular care that the commitments taken by the States are fully respected.

Terre des hommes brings about a positive change in the daily lives of more than two million children and their relatives each year. Learn more about our Juvenile Justice projects (