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Part II. International Human Rights System. 5/11 previousTable of Contentsnext

4. The Convention on the Rights of the Child


PART I. National Frameworks for the Protection of Rights of Persons with Disabilities
PART II. The International Human Rights System
1. Introduction to the International Human Rights System
1.1 Exhaustion of Local Remedies
1.2 Disability Rights at the International Level
2. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
2.1 Review of provisions
2.2 Reporting Procedure Under the ICCPR
2.3 Emergency procedure Under the ICCPR
2.4 Individual Communication Procedure
3. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
3.1 Review of provisions
3.2 1503 Procedure Under the ICESCR
4. The Convention on the Rights of the Child
4.1 Review of provisions
4.2 Reporting Procedure
4.3 Thematic Consideration of Issues
4.4 Missions
5. The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
5.1 Review of Provisions
5.2 Reporting Procedure
5.3 Exceptional Reporting Procedure
5.4 Complaint Procedure
6. The Convention Against Torture, and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and Punishment
6.1 Review of provisions
6.2 Reporting Procedure
6.3 Investigative procedure
6.4 Individual Complaints Procedure
7. The International Labour organization (ILO)
7.1 The Complaint Procedure
7.2 ILO Provision on the Rights of the Migrant Worker
8. Other International Norms and standards
9. Other International Mechanisms
10. Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
10.1 Persons with Disabilities and Armed Conflicts
10.2 Human Rights in Times of Emergency
10.3 Civilian Persons Hors de Combat
10.4 Special Protection for the Wounded and Sick
10.5 Victims of Land Mines and Armed Conflicts
PART III. The Regional Human Rights System
PART IV. Towards a Rights Based Perspective on Disability
PART V. Rights of Special Groups with Disabilities

4.1 Review of provisions

The CRC is concerned with protecting children from injury and providing disabled children adequate protection. Article 2 states that the rights set forth in the Convention must be applied "…without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of (…) disability (…)" (emphasis added) and furthermore article 4 concerns the right to life. Article 19 provides for the protection of "…the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse (…)".

The central provision of this Convention concerning the rights of disabled children is article 23. Article 23 (1) provides that "States Parties recognise that a mentally or physically disabled child should enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions which ensure dignity, promote self reliance and facilitate the child's active participation in the community." Article 23 (2) concerns the right of the disabled child to special care. Article 23 (3) provides that assistance to the child and those responsible for his or her care "…shall be designed to ensure that the disabled child has effective access to and receives education, training, health care services, rehabilitation services, preparation for employment and recreation opportunities in a manner conducive to the child's achieving the fullest possible social integration and individual development ". Services for disabled children should, wherever possible, be provided free of charge (article 23 (3)). Article 23 (4) states that States Parties shall promote " the exchange of appropriate information in the field or preventative health care and of medical, psychological and functional treatment of disabled children ". Article 24 (2) (d) of the Convention is relevant to the prevention of disabilities in that States Parties undertake to ensure appropriate prenatal and post-natal health care for mothers.

4.2 Reporting Procedure

A Committee is established pursuant to the provisions of article 43 of the Convention. The members of the Committee serve in their private capacities, just as the members of the other treaty based committees.

States Parties are obliged, under article 44, to submit reports to the Committee two years after the Convention comes into effect for the States, and thereafter, every five years, on the measure they have adopted to give effect to the rights in the Convention and on the progress made in the enjoyment of those rights.

The initial reports should categorise material as follows:

  1. General measures of implementation: information should be provided on implementation of articles 4,42 and 44, paragraph 6;
  2. Definition of the Child: information pursuant to article 1;
  3. Civil rights and freedoms: should be provided on implementation of articles 7,8,13,14,15,16,17,37 (a);
  4. Family environment and alternative care: information should be provided, with particular attention paid to the principles of the best interest of the child and respect of the views of the child concerning articles 5, 18, paragraphs 1, 2, 9, 10, 27, paragraphs 4, 20, 21, 11, 19, 39, and 25;
  5. Basic health and welfare;
  6. Education, leisure and cultural activities; and
  7. Special protection measures (articles 22, 30, 32-40).

Before being considered by the Committee, reports first receive the attention of an informal working group. The purpose is to identify areas in the reports, which require clarification or give cause for concern, and to prepare a list of issues for transmission to the State Parties, with a request for written replies to be considered together with the report. Afterwards, reports are considered by the Committee at public sessions and in dialogue with representatives of the State.

Towards the end of the discussion, the Committee summarises the observations and may make suggestions and recommendations. Following the consideration, the Committee adopts its Concluding Observations. These comments comprise a critique of the State report, noting positive factors and drawing attention to matters of concern. Comments are then issued as public documents and are also included in the Committee's biennial report to the General Assembly of the United Nations.

Unlike other Committees, the Committee on the Rights of the Child has recognised the special role of NGOs in the reporting process. NGOs had an important role in drafting the Convention, and according to article 45, the Committee can receive information from 'competent bodies' including NGOs. The NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child forwards information from NGOs to the Committee. NGOs of a country to be examined usually form a coalition and submit an alternative report to the Committee.

4.3 Thematic Consideration of Issues

According to Rule 75 of the Committee's Rules of Procedure, the Committee may devote one or more of its regular sessions to a general discussion on one specific article of the Convention or related subject in order to enhance a deeper understanding of the content and implication of the Convention. The Committee has based a series of Days of General Discussion on a wide range of topics, including the situation of the girl child. In 1995, the conclusion of the discussion of the girl child influenced the content of the final document of the Fourth World Conference on Women. In 1997, the Committee held a Day of General Discussion on Children with Disabilities. On the basis of the discussion, the following recommendations, among others, were formulated:

  1. The Committee should highlight the situation of disabled children the need for concrete measures and monitoring in its examination of States parties reports;
  2. The Committee should consider drafting a general comment on disabled children;
  3. The various bodies providing information to the Committee should include information on disabled children;
  4. States should review and amend laws affecting disabled children that are not compatible with the principles and provisions of the CRC;
  5. States should actively challenge attitudes and practices which discriminate against disabled children and deny them equal opportunities to the rights guaranteed by the CRC;
  6. States should ratify the 1997 Convention on the prohibition of anti-personnel mines;
  7. The Committee should promote the Standard Rules for the full implementation of the CRC;
  8. The promotion of inclusive education;
  9. The promotion of alternatives to institutionalisation;
  10. Research into provision of statistics;
  11. Disabled children should be consulted;

A working group was set up for a follow-up to the discussion, with the main task to strengthen and support the work of the Committee in monitoring and promoting the rights of children with disabilities.

4.4 Missions

The Committee on the Rights of the Child has undertaken a number of regional and sub-regional missions. During those trips, members have had the opportunity to discuss all aspects of the implementation of the Convention with representatives of States, and also with NGOs and international organisations. The missions are of use in alerting the Committee to particular and regional problems and challenges and in indicating the existence of local organisations.

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