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UNICEF is supporting Cook Islands and Tuvalu prepare for their reporting on how they are upholding the rights of children at the upcoming 84th Extraordinary Session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child which will be held in Samoa next week.
In Article 44 of the Convention, State Parties are required to provide initial reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child within two years of ratification and periodic reports on how they have progressed every five years.
The countries have been part of mock sessions, facilitated by UNICEF, to discuss how they will respond to the Committee on their work related to child rights, including prevention of violence against children, health, children with disabilities and education.
“This is the first time any of the United Nations human rights committees will be holding a session at the regional level and coming directly to our Pacific shores. This is a great opportunity for the Pacific governments to show the progress and achievements they have made in the area of child rights, as well as to discuss outstanding challenges, and we are here to support these countries in this process,” said UNICEF Pacific Representative, Sheldon Yett.
The Cook Islands Government ratified the Convention in 1997, while Tuvalu ratified in 1995. Both the countries have submitted periodic reports in 2015 and the upcoming constructive dialogues with the Committee in Samoa will be reviewing progress made to date.
Children need special care and protection and the Convention places special emphasis on all actions taken in light of the best interests of the child. These values of care, love and protection for children are also central to the Pacific traditional and religious beliefs.
The outcome of the Committee session in Samoa next week will provide guidance to the governments on steps they can take to improve actions on progressing child rights in their countries.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989 and came into force in 1990, is the most widely ratified UN core human rights treaty in history. To date, 196 State Parties have ratified the Convention, and this includes all countries in the South Pacific. The Convention is the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child is a United Nations committee that reviews how countries are doing in upholding the rights of children. It is composed of 18 independent experts from around the world who usually meet in Geneva three times a year. They are of 'high moral standing' and experts in the field of human rights. Although they are nominated and elected by the governments that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Committee members act in a personal capacity. They do not represent their countries' governments or any other organisation to which they might belong. Deriving their mandate in this regard from the Convention itself, Committee members are "accountable solely to the children of the world.
For more information about UNICEF Pacific and its work for children, follow UNICEF Pacific on Twitter and Facebook
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SOURCE: UNICEF PACIFIC/PACNEWS
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