Child Rights Monitoring, Data & Access to Justice
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Family Law of Montenegro (CRC)
The Family Law of Montenegro, which was amended in 2016, provided the child with full-standing capacity in all proceedings. Among other priorities, it introduced the institute of Support Person to the child, provided better guarantees for children’s voices to be heard throughout the entire court proceeding, and introduced child-rights professionals into the process of a child’s best interest. UNICEF aims to expand the institutional and administrative capacities of the Ministry of Justice, administrative and judicial institutions and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI) to implement the Family Law and provide services to children and their families in line with international standards. Specific targets are to increase the percentage of courts, prosecutors offices, and police and administrative bodies that use child-friendly procedures. Other key goals are: to improve the rights and treatment of children involved in the justice system as witnesses, victims and beneficiaries; to increase public awareness of children as rights-holders; and to ensure children are equipped with the knowledge and information of how to access justice and to use the Free Legal Aid service.
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2007 marked a turning point for disabled children. It asserted that the rights of children with disabilities must be recognized and respected on an equal basis with others and provided a clear focus on the obligations of governments in ensuring that their rights are protected. In Montenegro, in particular, it has been crucial to proactively address social norms that perpetuate discrimination and allow violence against disabled children to be tolerated as a legitimate disciplinary measure, as well as traditional attitudes that have made it unacceptable for children to seek remedies. To successfully claim redress, these children must be seen as rights-holders. The goal is to create a ‘culture of justice’, where the principles of equality and non-discrimination are not only enshrined in law but also translated into practice.
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
Women’s health and social and economic status – even before a child is born – is directly related to a child’s prospects for survival and development. Historically, women have been the primary caregivers of children and the resources put in their hands are more likely to be used to benefit children than those given to men. Discrimination against women is thus detrimental not only to women themselves, but also to the next generation. Protecting women’s rights is important in itself – and it tends to yield benefits for their children. Conversely, protecting the rights of children – particularly of girls – is the first step in promoting gender equality for women. Moreover, for children to access justice, they must be seen as rights-holders rather than objects of adults’ goodwill. This involves empowering children – and the adults who care for them – to seek redress when such rights are violated.
Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS)
Originally developed in response to the World Summit for Children to measure progress towards an internationally agreed set of mid-decade goals, the first Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) were conducted in 1995 in more than 60 countries around the world. As these surveys are carried out once every five years in response to an increased demand for data all over the world, UNICEF has been providing MICS assistance every three years since 2009. This not only grants countries the opportunity to capture rapid changes in key indicators, but also to track progress towards the elimination of disparities and inequities. As UNICEF and its partners work with national governments to accelerate improvements in the children’s lives, the MICS findings have been used extensively as a basis for policy decisions and programme interventions, and for the purpose of influencing public opinion regarding the situation of children and women around the world.
Transformative Monitoring for Enhanced Equity (TransMonEE)
Initiated and managed by the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Transformative Monitoring for Enhanced Equity (TransMonEE) is a research programme that systematically monitors indicators of child wellbeing, as well as their economic and social situations within transition economies. Initially designed to address concerns regarding the impact of the “Lost Decade” of the 1980s on children – which was characterized by the debt crisis and followed by structural adjustments in many developing countries – UNICEF’s TransMonEE programme has shifted to monitor the situation of children who face inequities in the realization of their rights enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.