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What does the National CRC Monitoring Mechanism do?

The German Institute for Human Rights established the Monitory Mechanism for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.  The National CRC Monitoring Mechanism’s mandate is to monitor, on an independent basis, Germany’s implementation of the convention.

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UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

The "Convention on the Rights of the Child", commonly abbreviated as CRC, was adopted by the UN on 20 November 1989. The CRC is the most ratified convention  of the UN human rights treaties.
The UN CRC codifies children’s rights of protection, provision and participation. At the heart of the Convention is the recognition of children as legal subjects. The state must take into account the best interests of children, or of the particular child affected, in all of its actions. By ratifying the CRC in 1992, Germany committed itself to protecting and implementing children’s rights in accordance with that Convention.

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What led up to the establishment of the Monitoring Mechanism to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child?

The United Nations’ Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed concern about the absence of a central body in Germany to monitor CRC implementation on several occasions since 1992; its most recent recommendation for the creation of such a body was issued in February 2014.
Complying with this recommendation, the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth charged the German Institute for Human Rights, which is Germany’s independent national human rights institution, to conduct this monitoring. The National CRC Monitoring Mechanism took up this work at the GIHR in August 2015. The initial schedule foresees a two-year development phase, to end in June 2017.

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How does the Monitoring Mechanism for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child perfom this work?

During its construction phase, the National CRC Monitoring Mechanism will do the following:
investigate the status of CRC implementation in Germany and – where necessary – develop appropriate methods for acquiring information;

  • identify problems in the implementation of children’s rights (on the basis of targeted analyses of the situations in which children and adolescents are living);
  • contribute towards greater awareness and practice of children’s rights among children and the bodies concerned with their welfare;
  • develop criteria for use in evaluating the implementation of children’s rights, for the purpose of assessing political measures (incl. the application of statutes) from children’s rights perspectives;
  • advise the legislative and political domains in connection with political decision-making processes, and influence opinions by participating in policy discussions and the expert discourse on children’s rights.

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Who will the Monitoring Mechanism for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child be working with?

Accordingly, the National CRC Monitoring Mechanism will work closely with civil society organisations, state bodies, scientific research institutes and members of parliaments at the federal, state and local level. In this respect the aim of the two-year development phase is to develop good designs for a future exchange of knowledge, views and ideas.

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Participation of children and adolescents

The National CRC Monitoring Mechanism will pay special attention on child and youth particiaption within it’s own work. For this purpose National CRC Monitoring Mechanism organizes consultations with children and adolescents.

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No advising on individual cases

The National CRC Monitoring Mechanism does not have the authority to investigate complaints or provide legal advice in individual cases – it does not act in an complain mechanism capacity. However, it does do its best to provide information about appropriate advising services.

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Validity of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Germany

The rights set down in the CRC have had legal effect in the Federal Republic of Germany since 1992; in the early years, restrictions (known as reservations according to article 51 CRC) did apply. All of the restrictions were withdrawn in 2010, and the convention has therefore been law in binding force in Germany since then, law that can be invoked by “every human being in Germany below the age of eighteen years” (Article 1 of the CRC). The same applies to the three optional protocols to the CRC:

  • The first and second optional protocols, which concern the involvement of children in armed conflicts and the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, were adopted by the UN General Assembly on 25 May 2000 and have been in force, in Germany and elsewhere, since 2002.
  • The third optional protocol, concerning a system allowing children to submit individual complaints, was adopted by the UN General Assembly in November 2011. It has been in force in Germany since 2012.

The Federal Republic of Germany therefore has an obligation to respect, protect and fulfil the children’s rights chartered in the CRC and in its optional protocols (currently three in number). Children can invoke these rights.

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Who works at the Monitory Mechanism for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child?

A total of five people work at the National CRC Monitoring Mechanism. Dominik Bär and Judith Feige serve as policy advisors at the National CRC Monitoring Mechanism. Paola Carega (deputising for Christine Weingarten) and Kerstin Krell are its public relations officers and Claudia Kittel is the head of the National CRC Monitoring Mechanism.

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