New York, 14.04.2014 Remarks by H.E. Ferit Hoxha, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Albania to the United Nations At the Side Event celebrating the entry into force of the Optional Protocol on a Communication Procedure to the Convention of the Rights of the Child :
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good afternoon to all of you and thank you indeed for being here today with us. I feel privileged for this opportunity to be part of and moderate this Side Event.
Today, in a joint effort from the Permanent Missions, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Germany, Montenegro, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Thailand and my own country, Albania, but also with the International Coalition for the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, we come together to celebrate the entry into force of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure. Pour la communauté francophone, j'aimerais vous remercierpour votre présence, en effet une occasion unique de célébrer l’entrée en vigueur aujourd'hui du Protocole facultatif à la Convention relative aux droits de l'enfant.
As I understand, this event is not the only event celebrated today and, I would like to seize this opportunity to sincerely wish to our Thai colleagues and other colleagues celebrating Songkran - Sawatdi Pi Mai. Now, I am not sure we could do it properly here in the room but, of course, outdoors it wouldn’t be a problem.
On 19 December 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the new Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure (OP3 CRC).Even though theConvention on the Rights of the Child, adopted 25 years ago, is the most ratified human rights treaty, it was however the only core international human rights treaty without a communications procedure. The Optional Protocol filled this protection gap.
The Protocol to the CRC on a Communications Procedure has entered into force today, following its ratification by the required 10 Member States, namely Bolivia, Gabon, Germany, Montenegro, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, Slovakia, Costa Rica and my own country, Albania.
The Third Optional Protocol to the CRC allows children, groups of children or their representativesto complain directly to the Committee on the Rights of the Child about alleged violations of their rightsunder the Convention or its two protocols.The Protocol further allows, through the inquiry procedure, any interested party to provide information to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, on grave and systematic violations of the rights of the child.
Recognizing that children, just like adults, have access to international human rights bodies, this new instrument reinforces the international system of accountability for human rights, and is a major step towards the full protection of children’s rights and the participatory approach of the CRC.
To mark this day, we have here a distinguished panel and I am pleased to introduce them briefly.
His Excellency Mr. Leonardo Garnier, Minister of Public Education of Costa Rica; His Excellency Mr. Milorad Šćepanović, Permanent Representative of Montenegro to the United Nations, Mr. Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights; Ms. Sara Austin, representing the International Coalition for the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure, and Ms. Elda Moreno - Special Assistant to the SRSG on violence against Children. To all of you a most warm welcome here.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to thank the panellists - Minister Garnier, Amb. Šćepanović, ASG Šimonović, Ms. Moreno, Ms. Austin and Professor Cardona for their thoughtful presentations and inspiring thoughts. I would like to thank you all for being here and contributing to this discussion.
I would like to just highlight a couple of very important points:
1. In its 25 years since adoption, the Convention of the Rights has been instrumental in improving the life of millions of children around the world. This should inspire us to go further.
2. However, as we all know, despite tremendous progress, children’s rights continue to be violated on a large scale and a lot more needs to be done.
3. All signatory parties of the Third Protocol by doing so have indicated strong determination to continue to promote and protect the rights of the child. But, as we know, it is only the ratification that provides the children with the capacity and a tool to claim their own rights, just like adults.
Our 10 countries have done so and we therefore call on countries that have already signed the Protocol to ratify it, but also on all other countries to consider being part of this important instrument for the rights of the child. We formulate the wish that OP3 reaches universal ratification as soon as possible.
We will remain committed to implement this treaty, continue raising awareness amongst children of their right to complain, within our own countries and constituencies, and to encouraging universal ratification at the international level.
I thank you.
The side event was broadcasted live on UN TV, the video can be found here .