|A toddler is weighed by a health worker in Haiti. Monitoring implementation of the Convention is made easier through participation by local communities.|
The Committee on the Rights of the Child
Governments that ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child or one of its Optional Protocols must report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child. The Committee is made up of 18 experts in the field of children's rights from different countries and legal systems. They are nominated and elected by States parties but act in a personal capacity, not as representatives of their countries.
Reports to the Committee on the situation of children's rights in their country are submitted by the State within two years of ratification and every five years thereafter. The Committee has adopted guidelines detailing which information States are expected to give in their implementation reports for the Convention and each of the Optional Protocols.
In reviewing States' reports, the Committee looks at how well governments are setting and meeting the standards for the realization and protection of children's rights as outlined in the Convention or Optional Protocol. The Committee does not monitor the behaviour of individual parents and other caregivers and it is not empowered to receive complaints from citizens. Along with this regular reporting, the Commitee may request additional information or complementary reports.
The involvement of non-governmental organizations
Non-governmental organizations also play a major role in raising public awareness about the Convention and its goals. The Convention acknowledges these contributions by specifically inviting their participation in the reporting and monitoring process, a first among human rights treaties. Governments are urged to involve all sectors of society in the preparation of reports. While a few consult non-governmental organizations extensively in the reporting process and incorporate their contributions into reports to the Committee, individual non-governmental organizations or coalitions can and do prepare alternative reports for the Committee's consideration. For more information on the work non-governmental organizations undertake, see the 'Organizations' page of ‘What you can do’ on the left menu.
UNICEF's role in the monitoring process
The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first human rights treaty that grants a role in its implementation to a specialized United Nations agency—UNICEF. Under the Convention, UNICEF has a legal obligation to promote and protect child rights by supporting the work of the Committee on the Rights of the Child. In addition to contributing advice and assistance to the Committee, UNICEF facilitates broad consultations within States to maximize the accuracy and impact of reports to the Committee. For more information on UNICEF’s monitoring role, see ‘UNICEF in Action’ in the left menu.
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Definition of key terms [PDF]