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Third Optional Protocol for CROC

Exciting News! – December 2011 Update
The UN General Assembly took a landmark step for children’s rights as it adopted the new (Third) Optional Protocol and finalised the process for adopting this new treaty at the UN level.
An official signing ceremony will be held in 2012 where States will be able to sign and ratify the new Protocol. The new Protocol needs to be ratified by ten States before it can enter into force and be used.

Optional Protocols are additional legal mechanisms which are developed to enhance the operation and effectiveness of international conventions.

The UN adopted two Optional Protocols for the Convention on the Rights of the Child in May 2000.

The Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography entered into force in January 2002 and The Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict entered into force in July 2002.

A campaign for a Third Optional Protocol was initiated by a working group of child rights organisations in 2006, to promote the need for procedures to be developed so that the CROC can be better utilised by those it seeks to protect. See CRC Communications Procedure at for more information on the working group and their campaign.

As it stands, there is no specified method for a complaint to be filed under the CROC if attempts to resolve the complaint domestically have been ineffective. The proposed Protocol would provide a mechanism for individual complaints regarding violations of children’s rights to be filed with the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

The Third Optional Protocol proposes the following four procedures for submitting a complaint to the Committee:

  1. An individual child or groups of children can bring a complaint on their own behalf through the ‘individual communication procedure.’
  2. Non-government organisations can bring a complaint on behalf of a child/children through the ‘collective communication procedure.’
  3. One State can bring a complaint against another State regarding violations of children’s rights through the ‘inter-state complaints procedure.’
  4. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child can initiate inquiries into alleged violations of children’s rights by a State through the ‘inquiry procedure.’

The working group has so far gathered over 600 signatories to their petition ‘An International Call to Strengthen the Enforcement of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child by the Drafting and Adoption of an Optional Protocol to Provide a Communications Procedure.’ For more information, visit:

Sources: UNICEF, CRIN, Wikipedia,