Joint statement by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children, Marta Santos Pais, the Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, Najat Maalla M’jid and the Chair of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Jean Zermatten

NEW YORK/GENEVA (22 December 2012) – We warmly welcome the adoption by the General Assembly of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure, providing for inter-state communications and an inquiry procedure, and introducing an international mechanism of individual complaints to address the violation of children’s rights.

This new Protocol will allow children to bring complaints to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. Recognizing that children, just like adults, have access to international human rights bodies, this new instrument reinforces the international system of accountability for human rights, and is a major step towards the full protection of children’s rights and the participatory approach of the CRC.

The Protocol is also evidence of the international recognition of children’s right to have access to child-friendly and safe mechanisms to seek counseling and report about the violation of their human rights.

We hope that this Protocol will be an incentive for States to develop comprehensive child protection systems ensuring that children’s voices and complaints can be heard and effectively addressed at the national and international level.

We call on Member States to sign and ratify the new Optional Protocol as soon as possible, so that this important innovative instrument can be added to the existing international framework to safeguard the rights of the child and bring an end to all forms violence, abuse and exploitation of children.