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Convention on the Rights of the Child

What parliamentarians can do

© UNICEF/HQ01-0239/Hossain
A large crowd of schoolgirls in Bangladesh gather near the national Parliament building to celebrate the country's launch of 'Say Yes for Children' in 2001.

Parliamentarians can and should be among the foremost champions of children’s rights. They can legislate, oversee government activity, allocate financial resources and, as leaders within their nations and communities, raise awareness of issues and provide advocacy.

Parliaments are the principal representative institution of a State. They are responsible for representing the interests of all sectors of society, articulating these interests into relevant policies and making sure that these policies are implemented efficiently. Parliaments have the capacity not only to influence the decisions and actions of government but also to connect with communities and constituencies to influence opinions and actions.

Among the crucial steps parliamentarians can take to promote and protect children’s rights are the following:

  • Adopt national legislation that corresponds to the international legal instruments to which your State is party;
  • Ensure that existing legislation is reviewedby the competent services of Government, a special parliamentary committee or other official bodyto determine whether its provisions are consistent with the Convention on the Rights of the Child;
  • Make sure that national legislation is accompanied by the corresponding rules and administrative measures to ensure adequate implementation;
  • Monitor the government’s actions and policies to ensure they are in the best interests of the child and evaluate their impact on children;
  • Through the budgetary process, allocate sufficient financial resources in the national budget for implementation of the Convention and monitor government spending; and
  • Do not hesitate to enter into contact, consult and cooperate with civil society groups working on child protection issues when developing national legislation, so as to have access to comprehensive data and experience. Children and youth should also be involved in the process.

To find out more about what parliamentarians can do to promote and protect children’s rights, contact your local UNICEF field office or National Committee. For links to resources for parliamentarians, see the ‘Resources’ section at left.



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