The Progress of Nations: The Convention on the Rights of the Child

NGOs submit alternative reports

The Convention on the Rights of the Child specifically invites the involvement of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The response so far has shown that they are one of the main engines by which the treaty can be translated into action. In several countries, NGOs are working with government to help draft legislation and to disseminate the basic messages of the Convention.

In Nicaragua, legislative reform is being assisted by the Nicaraguan Coordinating Body for NGOs Assisting Children. In the Philippines, a national programme for sexually exploited children and street children is a joint effort by governmental, non-governmental, civic and church groups; this network provides trained personnel, protection, referral, and community-based services that cover some 17 cities and include approximately 300 local projects.

In the Caribbean, the Jamaican Coalition on the Rights of the Child helped to convince the Government both to ratify the Convention and submit its report to the Committee on time. The Coalition also prepared its own report. In several countries, such alternative reports have been effective in drawing attention to child rights issues. In the United Kingdom, the Children's Rights Development Unit enlisted the support of over 150 voluntary organizations in drawing up its 350-page alternative to the official report of the UK Government.

In Belgium, human rights NGOs monitor Convention violations and frequently conduct inquiries. In Jordan, a newly established group, 'NGOs for Child Rights', coordinates child rights promotion in the country. In Zaire, NGOs have been active in exposing violations of human rights such as child labour in mines and the rape of young girls.

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