Monitoring and Reporting on the Convention
Governments that ratify the Convention and its Optional Protocols must report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child of the United Nations Human Rights Council on their progress in advancing children’s Convention rights. The Committee is made up of 18 experts in children's rights from different countries and legal systems. Reports to the Committee are submitted by a government two years after ratification, followed by progress reports every five years. These reports should outline the situation of children in the country and explain the measures taken to realize their rights. The Committee does not monitor the behaviour of individuals such as parents. Because the protection of human rights is a permanent and progressive process, there is always room for improvement.
The process of preparing the government report should be a broad and participatory one with a comprehensive review of national legislation, policies, budgets, administrative rules and procedures and practices. It should provide a meaningful analysis of progress made, identify problems and shortcomings, assess future needs and goals, and document plans to achieve these goals.
Civil society organizations play a major role in providing children’s services, participating in policy processes and raising public awareness about the Convention on the Rights of the Child and children’s well-being. The Convention is the first human rights treaty to explicitly promote their participation in the reporting and monitoring process. After a government submits its report, the Committee encourages civil society organizations to submit their own reports assessing progress and difficulties encountered in the implementation of the Convention and the Optional Protocols. The Committee holds a dialogue with representatives of these organizations, and any children who want to participate, prior to meeting with the government. Their reports facilitate public scrutiny of government policies and other actions, and contribute to a debate on the status of children in the country.
Reports prepared by civil society organizations vary in terms of content but most aim to:
- Provide a serious and independent assessment of the implementation of the Convention in a country though specific, reliable and objective information
- Present information about the practical implementation of legislation, programs and policies
- Provide information where the government report does not give sufficient detail and on areas of concern not addressed
- Propose recommendations for action.
The government’s report is examined by the Committee, usually in the presence of government representatives. The Committee looks at how well the government is meeting the standards for the provision and protection of children's rights outlined in the Convention and Optional Protocols. At the end of the dialogue, the Committee prepares a summary, and issues Concluding Observations to identify issues that require specific follow-up action by the government. The Concluding Observations are usually used by civil society to stimulate a discussion on how to make progress for children, to exert pressure on the government to follow up on the recommendations of the Committee and to lobby for changes in legislation and practice. Many publicize the Concluding Observations in their country and monitor the implementation of these recommendations.
About the Committee on the Rights of the Child