COMMITTEE ON RIGHTS OF CHILD TO MEET IN GENEVA FROM 12 TO 30 SEPTEMBER 2005

Committee on the
Rights of the Child

7 September 2005

BACKGROUND RELEASE

Situation of Child Rights in Trinidad and Tobago, Australia, Algeria, Uganda,
China, Finland, Denmark, and the Russian Federation to be Reviewed


The Committee on the Rights of the Child will meet at the Palais Wilson in Geneva from 12 to 30 September 2005 to review the promotion and protection of children's rights in Trinidad and Tobago, Australia, Algeria, Uganda, China, Finland, Denmark, and the Russian Federation.
The Committee was formed in 1991 to monitor the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which gives a comprehensive collection of children's rights the force of international law. The countries scheduled to come before the Committee at this session are among the 192 to have ratified or acceded to the Convention. The treaty is the most widely accepted international human rights instrument. Only Somalia and the United States have not ratified it. States parties to the Convention are expected to send representatives to the Committee to present periodic reports on national efforts to give effect to children's rights.
The Committee’s 18 Experts will start the session by approving their agenda and programme of work.
Trinidad and Tobago, Algeria, Uganda and China (including the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macao) are presenting second periodic reports; Australia is presenting its second and third periodic reports; and Finland, Denmark and the Russian Federation are presenting third periodic reports. Finland and Denmark are also presenting their initial reports under the Convention’s Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict.
During the session, in accordance with rule 75 of its provisional rules of procedure, a day of general discussion will be held devoted to the question of "Children without parental care", to which interested States parties, organizations and individuals are invited to participate in the discussion, which will take place on Friday 16 September 2005.
The initial report of Trinidad and Tobago was taken up on 2 and 3 October 1997, and the Committee’s final conclusions on it can be found in document CRC/C/15/Add.82; the initial report of Australia was taken up on 24 and 25 September 1997 and the Committee's final conclusions on it can be found in document CRC/C/15/Add.79; the initial report of Algeria was taken up on 29 and 30 May 1997 and the Committee's final conclusions can be found in document CRC/C/15/Add.76; the initial report of Uganda was taken up on 29 and 30 September 1997 and the Committee's final conclusions on it can be found in document CRC/C/15/Add.80; the initial report of China was taken up on 28 and 29 May 1996 and the Committee's final conclusions on it can be found in document CRC/C/15/Add.56; the second periodic report of Finland was taken up on 19 September 2000 and the Committee's final conclusions on it can be found in document CRC/C/15/Add.132; the second periodic report of Denmark was taken up on 22 May 2001 and the Committee's final conclusions on it can be found in document CRC/C/15/Add.151; and the second periodic report of the Russian Federation was taken up on 23 September 1999 and the Committee's final conclusions on it can be found in document CRC/C/15/Add.110.
Convention on the Rights of the Child
The General Assembly adopted the Convention unanimously on 20 November 1989, 30 years after the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of the Child. The Convention makes States, which accept it, legally accountable for their actions towards children. Work on drafting the Convention began in 1979 -- the International Year of the Child -- at the Commission on Human Rights.
The Convention was opened for signature on 26 January 1990. That day, 61 countries signed it, a record first-day response. It entered into force just seven months later, on 2 September 1990.
Ratifying the Convention entails reviewing national legislation to make sure it is in line with the provisions of the treaty. The Convention stipulates, among other things, that every child has the right to life, and that States shall ensure the maximum child survival and development; that every child has the right to a name and nationality from birth; and that when courts, welfare institutions or administrative authorities deal with children, the child's best interests shall be a primary consideration. The Convention recognizes the right of children to be heard.
Furthermore, States shall ensure that each child enjoys full rights without discrimination or distinction of any kind, and shall ensure that children should not be separated from their parents, unless by competent authorities for their well-being. In addition, States shall facilitate reunification of families by permitting travel into, or out of, their territories; and States shall protect children from physical or mental harm and neglect, including sexual abuse or exploitation.
Also according to the Convention, disabled children shall have the right to special treatment, education and care; primary education shall be free and compulsory and discipline in school should respect the child's dignity; capital punishment or life imprisonment shall not be imposed for crimes committed before the age of 18; no child under 15 should take any part in hostilities and children exposed to armed conflict shall receive special protection; and children of minority and indigenous populations shall freely enjoy their own cultures, religions and languages.
In May 2000, the General Assembly adopted by consensus the two Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict and on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. The Optional Protocols entered into force in 2002.
At its fifty-ninth session (2004), the UN General Assembly agreed to the request of the Committee to work simultaneously in two chambers during 2006 (starting with the pre-sessional working group meeting of October 2005) in order to increase the working capacity of the Committee and decrease the existing backlog of reports (see A/59/499).

Committee Membership

The Convention requires that the members of the Committee have a high moral standing and recognized competence in the field of children's rights. The following Experts, nominated by the States parties to serve in their personal capacity, have been elected to the Committee: Ghalia Mohd Bin Hamad Al-Thani (Qatar), Joyce Aluoch (Kenya), Mary Alison Anderson (Jamaica); Jacob Egbert Doek (the Netherlands), Kamel Filali (Algeria), Moushira Khattab (Egypt), Hatem Kotrane (Tunisia), Lothar Friedrich Krappmann (Germany), Yanghee Lee (Republic of Korea), Norberto Liwski (Argentina), Rosa Maria Ortiz (Paraguay), Awa N'Deye Ouedraogo (Burkina Faso), David Brent Parfitt (Canada), Awich Pollar (Uganda), Kamal Siddiqui (Bangladesh), Lucy Smith (Norway), Nevena Vuckovic-Sahovic (Serbia and Montenegro) and Jean Zermatten (Switzerland).

Mr. Doek is the Chairperson. Ms. Aluoch, Ms. Lee, Mr. Liwski and Ms. Khattab are Vice Chairpersons, and Ms. Vuckovic-Sahovic is the Rapporteur.


Tentative Timetable for Consideration of Reports

Following is a tentative timetable for the consideration of reports from States parties to the Convention during this session:

Monday, 12 September
11 a.m.-1 p.m.; 3 p.m.-6 p.m. Trinidad and Tobago (CRC/C/83/Add.12)
Tuesday 13 September
10 a.m.-1 p.m.; 3 p.m.-6 p.m. Australia (CRC/C/129/Add.4)
Wednesday 14 September
10 a.m.-1 p.m.; 3 p.m.-6 p.m. Algeria (CRC/C/93/Add.7)
Thursday 15 September
10 a.m.-1 p.m.; 3 p.m.-6 p.m. Uganda (CRC/C/65/Add.33)
Monday 19 September
10 a.m.-1 p.m.; 3 p.m.-6 p.m. China (CRC/C/83/Add.9 and Parts I and II; and CRC/OPSA/CHN/1)
Tuesday 20 September
10 a.m.-1 p.m.; 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. China continued
Thursday 22 September
10 a.m.-1 p.m.; 3 p.m.-6 p.m. Finland (CRC/C/129/Add.5 and CRC/OPAC/FIN/1)
Monday 26 September
10 a.m.-1 p.m.; 3 p.m.-6 p.m. Denmark (CRC/C/129/Add.3 and CRC/OPAC/DNK/1)
Wednesday 28 September
10 a.m.-1 p.m.; 3 p.m.-6 p.m. Russian Federation (CRC/C/125/Add.5).
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This press release is not an official record and is provided for public information only.