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What does the National CRC Monitoring Mechanism do?

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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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 All of the restrictions were withdrawn in 2010, and the convention has therefore been law in binding force in Germany since then, law that can be invoked by “every human being in Germany below the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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How does the Monitoring Mechanism for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child perfom this work?

The Monitoring Mechanism helps promote  awareness of children’s rights. When necessary,  it reminds individuals and institutions that work  with children to comply with the terms of the  Convention.
The Monitoring Mechanism provides advice on inter - preting the CRC and its child-oriented implemen - tation to policy-makers at the federal, Länder and  local level, as well as the courts, the legal profession  and civil society. The Monitoring Mechanism is also  an advocate for children’s rights-based research.

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

A total of six people work at the National CRC Monitoring Mechanism. Judith Feige, Stephan Gerbig und Nerea González Méndez de Vigo serve as policy advisors at the National CRC Monitoring Mechanism. Kerstin Krell and Freda Wagner (as parental leave representation for Christine Weingarten) are its public relations officers and Claudia Kittel is the head of the National CRC Monitoring Mechanism.

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