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The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is a body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child by governments that ratify the Convention. The Committee also monitors implementation of the optional protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict and optional protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

The CRC is one of the eight UN-linked human rights treaty bodies.

Governments that have ratified the Convention (i.e., all UN member states except Somalia and the United States) are required to submit regular, detailed reports on the national situation of children's rights to the Committee for examination. The Committee examines each report and raises concerns or makes recommendations to the State party.

The Committee cannot consider individual complaints, although child rights may be raised before other committees with competence to consider individual complaints. However, at least the case of Gendhun Choekyi Nyima, 11th Panchen Lama, was considered by the Committee May 28, 1996, as well as at other later dates.[1]

The Committee is made up of 18 members from different countries and legal systems who are of 'high moral standing' and experts in the field of human rights. Although members are nominated and appointed by governments, Committee members act in a personal capacity. They do not represent their countries' governments or any other organization to which they might belong. Members are appointed to a four-year term and can be re-appointed if nominated. They are sometimes described as having been "elected" to the committee, but no democratic electoral process is involved, and they do not in any way carry a mandate from the people of their respective countries.

The current members of the Committee (as of March 2007) are:

  • Ghana Agnes Akosua Aidoo (Term ends 2011)
  • Syria Hadeel Al-Asmar (2013)
  • Italy Luigi Citarella (2011)
  • Algeria Kamel Filali (2011)
  • Slovakia Peter Guran (2013)
  • Hungary Maria Herczog (2011)
  • Egypt Moushira Khattab (2011)
  • Thailand Sanphasit Koompraphant (2013)
  • Tunisia Hatem Kotrane (2011)
  • Germany Lothar Friedrich Krappmann (2011)
  • South Korea Yanghee Lee (2013)
  • Paraguay Rosa María Ortiz, (2011)
  • Chile Marta Mauras Perez (2013)
  • Uganda Awich Pollar (2013)
  • Lithuania Dainius Puras (2011)
  • Mauritius Kamla Devi Varmah (2013)
  • Peru Susana Villaran De La Puente (2013)
  • Switzerland Jean Zermatten (2013)

The unelected Committee regularly instructs the democratically elected governments of UN member countries to prohibit by law all corporal punishment of children, even including mild spanking by their own parents. The text of the Convention does not at any point refer to corporal punishment, spanking, slapping, caning, strapping or smacking.[2] Although half its members are not lawyers, and only three of the present members appear to have any experience as jurists,[3] the Committee of its own volition decided some time after the Convention had been signed by member states and come into force in 1990, and without any public consultation or democratic input, to interpret the text as meaning that parental spanking should be made a criminal offence. It is not stated on the UN website whether or not this interpretation has anywhere been tested in an actual court of law, either at an international level or in any country governed by the rule of law.

References

  1. ^ Gedhun Choekyi Nyima: the XIth Panchen Lama of Tibet website of TCHRD
  2. ^ Article 37 prohibits "torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". Text of the Convention.
  3. ^ CVs of the Committee members, linked from Committee on the Rights of the Child - Members, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

See also

External links

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