Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child

 

UN Campaign towards universal ratification of the Optional Protocols to the CRC

2010 marked the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the 10th anniversary of the adoption of its two Optional Protocols, respectively on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (OPSC) and on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (OPAC). The ratification and implementation of these treaties lay the foundation for the safeguard of children’s rights and their effective protection from violence, abuse and exploitation.

In 2010 a global campaign was launched to promote the universal ratification of the Optional Protocols. The campaign was designed to mobilize the widest political and social support to children’s protection.

The OPSC reinforces the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child from sexual exploitation. The global campaign has helped to raise awareness of States Parties obligation to protect all children below the age of 18 from all forms of sexual exploitation, to criminalize all acts of sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and to ensure the rights of child victims and witnesses. A child who has been sexually exploited should be treated as a victim rather than a criminal, irrespective of the legal age of sexual consent.

The OPSC calls for the adoption and effective implementation of national legislation in conformity with its provisions, including to:

  • Criminalize the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
  • Establish extra-territorial jurisdiction and abolish the double criminality requirement with respect to offenses covered by the OPSC.
  • Ensure that offences covered by the OPSC are made extraditable.
  • Ensure the liability of legal persons.
  • Protect the rights and interests of child victims and witnesses at all stages of the criminal justice process, including their privacy and safety, taking into consideration their views, needs and concerns.
  • Safeguard children’s rights, best interests and participation in relevant decisions and proceedings and ensure the rights of child victims to appropriate assistance, including their right to recovery, reintegration and compensation.
  • Strengthen the capacity of professionals working with and for children to prevent and address the offenses covered by the OPSC.
  • Raise awareness among the public at large, including children, through information, education and training about preventive measures and harmful effects of the offences referred to in the OPSC.
  • Promote cross-border and international cooperation and mutual assistance for the implementation of the OPSC.
  • Promote respect for States Parties’ reporting obligations to the Committee on the Rights of the Child and relevant follow up to the Committees’ concluding observations and to recommendations of children’s rights mandate holders. 

The Global Campaign for the universal ratification of the Optional Protocols was launched by the SRSG on Violence against Children, in cooperation with UNICEF, the OHCHR, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the SRSG for Children in Armed Conflict and the Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography. It is promoted in collaboration with Members States, other UN agencies and offices, international organizations and NGOs at the global, regional and national levels.  

More information:

Ratification Status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Ratification Status update of Optional protol on the Convention on the Rights of the Child on Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Home Pornography

Handbook on the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornograpy (published by UNICEF Innocenti Research Center)

Optional Protocol on a Communications Procedure Download

Rules of procedure under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure Download

Ratification Status of Optional Protocol on a Communication Procedure

Human Rights Council Working Group on an optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child to provide a communications procedure (SRSG submission)

Child-friendly versions of the Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child