New treaty will allow children to file complaints on rights violations with UN committee
BANGKOK, April 11, 2014 – Starting this Monday (April 14), children in Thailand whose rights have been violated will be able to complain to a UN Committee as an “Optional Protocol” to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the most widely ratified human rights instrument in history, comes into effect.
Children will be able to submit complaints under the “Optional Protocol to the Convention of the Rights of the Child on a Communication Procedure” (OP3 CRC), which was ratified by Thailand in September 2012. The Optional Protocol allows children, groups of children, or their representatives to file formal complaints with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in Geneva, Switzerland, after exhausting all efforts to seek justice at the country level.
Where the UNCRC concludes that there has been a violation of children’s rights, the committee will recommend that the government take action to remedy the situation.
The CRC, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989, sets out the fundamental rights of children and the steps UN member states must follow to guarantee those rights. Thailand ratified the CRC in 1992 and is one of 193 countries that have ratified the treaty to date.
Optional Protocols are adopted for human rights treaties such as the CRC and they provide for additional procedures with regard to the original treaty or address areas related to it. Optional Protocols are also treaties in their own right, and are open to signature, accession or ratification by countries that are party to the main treaty.
Thailand was the first country in the world, and so far the only country in Asia, to ratify Optional Protocol 3. As of end March, nine other countries – Albania, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Gabon, Germany, Monténégro, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain, had also ratified it.
“UNICEF would like to congratulate Thailand for ratifying this very important treaty and for being the first country in the world to do so,” said Bijaya Rajbhandari, the UNICEF Representative for Thailand. “It was a major and admirable act on the government’s part and it clearly shows Thailand’s leadership in promoting and protecting the rights of children. UNICEF will work closely with the government to ensure that Optional Protocol 3 is realized.”
Rarinthip Sirorat, Director-General of the Office of Promotion and Protection of Children, Youth, the Elderly and Vulnerable Group, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, said the government will work closely with local and international non-government organizations, as well as national human rights bodies, to handle complaints from the UNCRC under Optional Protocol 3. At the same time, it will strengthen its existing child protection system in order to provide improved children protection services for children.
“In ratifying this Optional Protocol, Thailand further committed itself to promote and protect the rights of children,” said Rarinthip. “The government and its partners will work hard to improve services for children and to find solutions for those whose rights are still be threatened or violated. In addition, we need to ensure that children are aware of their rights and can fully participate in the protecting their rights.”
In 2006, Thailand also ratified Optional Protocols to the CRC on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict and on the Sale of Children and Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.
For more information, please contact
Nattha Keenapan, UNICEF Thailand, 02 356 9478, 086 616 7555 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Thientong Prasanpanich, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, 089 888 3923 or email@example.com