Latest update on Child Rights
What kind of a National Children's Commissioner do we want?
The Child Rights Taskforce has made a submission to the Attorney-General's Department on the key attributes for the National Children’s Commissioner position which highlights the voices and contributions of children and young people within the Child Rights Taskforce’s networks.
Click here to download the submission.
Watch Australia's Review by the UN - live from Geneva!
Australia’s review is set to take place on 4-5 June and for the first time will be webcasted live at www.treatybodywebcast.org
We encourage you to share the link with your community, networks and government, to raise awareness about the process and access the archived videos soon afterwards.
The timetable for the session (Geneva time) is 3pm to 6pm on 4 June 2012 and then 10am to 1pm and 3pm to 6pm on 5 June 2012. Our youth reporter Jan has set up events on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/
Addendum to Listen to Children Report has been finalised
The addendum to the Listen to Children Report which provides an update for the period May 2011 to May 2012 has been submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and can now be downloaded here.
Thank you to the Child Rights Taskforce for your contributions to this report.
Youth Reporter to join the Child Rights Taskforce in Geneva
Sydney, Friday 27 April, 2012- UTS law student, Janani Muhunthan has been selected to join the Child Rights Taskforce in Geneva as their Youth Reporter in June 2012.
“I grew up in Zimbabwe and Papua New Guinea where I saw many voiceless children experience human rights abuses due to poor protection and awareness”, said Ms Muhunthan.
Ms Muhunthan, 22, will use social media to share the Australian Government’s review by the Geneva-based United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child with young Australians.
Australia’s review is scheduled to take place on 4-5 June, after which the UN Committee will deliver its “concluding observations” on how Australia is faring in its commitment to children.
“Australia was asked in October 2011 by the United Nations to address a number of child rights issues, and the June 2012 session is Australia’s opportunity to show the international community how it has responded”, said Ms Muhunthan.
Ms Muhunthan said that Australia must show international human rights leadership and offer the strongest human rights protection possible for children and young people.
The Australian Child Rights Taskforce is a coalition of NGOs committed to the protection and promotion of child rights and is co-convened by UNICEF Australia and the National Children’s and Youth Law Centre.
In 2011, the Australian Child Rights Taskforce reported on the inadequacies that continue in Australia’s commitment to its children in the Listen to Children report.
This included the urgent need for a National Children’s Commissioner, a focal point to ensure that the best interests of the child remain fundamental to all government decision making.
Mr Loki Ball, Vice President of Social Justice with the UTS Law Students’ Society, has worked with the Taskforce over recent months to create the Youth Reporter role.
“We are pleased to offer this opportunity to our student members and we thank our supporters, including the Beyond UTS International Leadership Development Program”, said Mr Ball.
UNICEF Australia Chief Executive, Norman Gillespie, said: “Ms Muhunthan is a welcome addition to the Child Rights Taskforce and will play a pivotal role in reporting back to the Australian public on where the government is still falling short in protecting the rights of its most vulnerable. Despite recommendations made five years ago by the UN Children’s committee, we are yet to see Australia’s commitment to all its children adequately realised.”
Matthew Keeley, Director of the National Children’s and Youth Law Centre said “Janani is very well placed to engage with Australia’s young people and the community generally through social media. She has impressed us all with her energy and skills and I couldn’t think of a better person to provide Australia’s first live social media feed direct from the Committee’s Geneva meeting room.”
You can support Janani Muhunthan by visiting her blog and fundraising page on http://www.everydayhero.com.au/uts_lss.
You can follow Jan on twitter @jmuhunthan or @childrightsaus
Facebook and blog sites to come.
The UN opened the Third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CROC) for signatures today.
Tuesday 28 February 2012.
The Third Optional Protocol will allow children and young people to report violations of their rights directly to the Committee on the Rights of the Child. Any complaints submitted by children and young people will be recognised as coming from legitimate voices, bringing the equality of children and young people one step closer to realisation.
The Committee will develop a child friendly approach to reviewing complaints and act according to the best interests of the child. In cases where there are complaints alleging grave and systematic violations of children’s rights, the Committee will conduct country visits to investigate.
The procedures in the Optional Protocol will not replace national systems that provide remedies for addressing children’s rights violations. Instead, the direct communication between CROC and the children it seeks to protect will create a direct method of accountability for participating States. Any State that has previously participated in the Convention may sign the Third Optional Protocol. The signing ceremony will be held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland and later at the UN Headquarters in New York.
Signing the Third Optional Protocol will strengthen the future for equality and justice for all children and young people in Australia.
UN adopts the third Optional Protocol!
The Child Rights Taskforce is delighted to report on the UN’s decision to adopt the Third Optional Protocol for the Convention on the Rights of the Child (the Convention). By providing children, young people, and their advocates with a mechanism for reporting a violation of their rights directly to the Convention, the Optional Protocol will serve as a key form of direct communication. Any complaints submitted by children and young people will be recognised as coming from legitimate voices and will provide a method of accountability for the rights they are entitled to through the Convention. We look forward to the ratification of the Optional Protocol in 2012 and believes that this will strengthen the future for equality and justice for all children and young people in Australia.
Australia's List of Issues under the Convention on the Rights of the Child is now available.
The lists of issues from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child have been sent to the Australian Government for reply.
The Australian Government’s session for the Convention on the Rights of the Child is scheduled for May/June 2012. The Government has been asked to send its written replies to the list of issues by 1 March 2012 - of which we will receive a copy and distribute for your comments upon receipt. Click on the links below to view the lists.
- List of Issues under the Convention on the Rights of the Child;
- List of Issues under the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography;
- List of Issues under the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict.
Australia: Fails to protect the rights of all its children
Representatives from the Australian Child Rights Taskforce briefed the United Nations on 10 October 2011 on the Australian government’s failure to protect the rights of its most vulnerable children.
The delegation spoke about the child rights issues raised in the Listen to Children Report to the UN which highlights the principal challenges in making the Convention on the Rights of the Child a reality for those living in Australia.
The delegation made recommendations in relation to the range of human rights violations affecting Australia’s children to the UN including:
- The Northern Territory Intervention;
- The systemic disadvantages of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children;
- Juvenile justice;
- Children in out-of-home care;
- Asylum seekers; and
- Children with a disability.
The delegation also stressed to the Committee that Australia has still not established an independent National Children’s Commissioner which could go some way to addressing the current shortfalls in oversight of policy, accountability, monitoring and youth participation.
The reporting process allows the UN to periodically monitor Australia’s commitment to promoting and protecting children’s rights as well as providing an opportunity for the development of better policies and planning for the promotion and realisation of children’s rights in Australia.
The UN Committee thanked the delegation for the in-depth insight into the situation of child rights in Australia.
The delegation also took part in the NGO Forum in Geneva, which was hosted by the NGO Group for the Committee on the Rights of the Child, and the young people from the Australian delegation were invited to present at this forum on the importance of youth participation. The NGO Forum was a great opportunity for the delegation to meet with NGO representatives from other countries and exchange their ideas on how to continue the advocacy work leading up to the Government’s appearance before the Committee.
The young people in the delegation also hosted their own side event in Geneva where they made presentations to the Australian Permanent Mission and international NGOs on the issues that are passionate about, including:
- Juvenile justice;
- Aboriginal disadvantage;
- Youth participation; and
- Children in immigration detention.
Matthew Keeley, the Chair of the Child Rights Taskforce and Director of the National Children’s and Youth Law Centre said, “although there is still a great deal of advocacy work to be done, I am extremely proud of the work we have done so far. The Committee praised the delegation’s knowledge and professionalism and asked that we extend its greetings to all the children of Australia.”
Representatives from the Child Rights Taskforce will revisit the UN in May next year when the Australian Government presents their report to the Committee.