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The Third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child
The article presents the contents and the travaux préparatoires of the new Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), adopted on 19 December 2011 by the General Assembly of the United Nations. In 2012, the third Protocol was opened for signature by the states which are parties to the CRC or to one or both of its two first Optional Protocols, namely the Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and the Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict.
The third Protocol establishes a complaint procedure (individual and state communications) to the Committee on the Rights of the Child for violations of CRC and previous Protocols’ provisions. The following analysis aims to expose the strengths and weaknesses of the new international instrument. Although its adoption is an important step ahead towards the recognition of the child as a full subject in international law and the affirmation of children’s international citizenship, one ought also to admit that the new treaty contains some controversial provisions.
Moreover, the effectiveness of the procedure set out by the Protocol will largely depend on the ability of the CRC Committee and the UN supporting structure to organise their human and financial resources in an appropriate and functional fashion, as well as on the improvement of the context of constructive dialogue between states and the monitoring body.