The UN Secretary-General has announced that the new Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child will open for signature on 28 February 2012. Any State that has signed, ratified or acceded to the Convention or either of the two existing Optional Protocols will be able to sign the new Optional Protocol, which will create an international complaints mechanism for breaches of children’s rights.
The new Optional Protocol will provide a framework for communications to be made to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in relation to breaches of the Convention or the existing Optional Protocols, which deal with the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and the involvement of children in armed conflict. Communications will be permissible by individuals or groups of individuals where the state party concerned has ratified the new Optional Protocol.
Signatories to the new Optional Protocol must respond to the Committee’s recommendations or views on a communication within six months. State parties must also undertake to educate the public about the Committee’s views and recommendations, especially where those views involve the State party concerned.
The text of the Third Optional Protocol is available here.