Monitoring and reporting

Every state that has ratified the UN Convention on the is required to report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child on how children's rights are being implemented in their country.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child is the body of 18 independent experts, based in Geneva that was set up by the Convention to monitor implementation of the UNCRC by State parties. It also monitors implementation of the two optional protocols to the Convention.

Two years after ratification Governments have to submit an initial report outlining what measures they have taken to implement the Convention. Every 5 years thereafter each country has to submit a periodic report to the Committee.

UK reporting to the Committee on the Rights of the Child
UK signed the UNCRC April 19 1990
Ratified the UNCRC December 16 1991
Submitted initial state report March 15 1994
Concluding observations to first report January 24 1995
Submitted 2nd periodic report September 14 1999
Concluding observations to 2nd report September 2002
Submitted 3rd and 4th periodic report July 15 2007
Committee publishes concluding observations to 3rd and 4th report  October 3 2008
EU Statement - United Nations 3rd Committee: Rights of the Child
October 17 2013

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the only international human rights treaty that expressly gives a role to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in monitoring the implementation of the Convention (under Article 45a of the UNCRC).

NGOs can submit their own reports, known as ‘alternative reports’ to the Committee. NGOs generally work in collaboration with one another and they have a key role in supporting children and young people’s views to be heard both in their own right and as part of the government report.

The process of preparing both State party and alternative reports offers an invaluable opportunity to conduct a comprehensive review of the various measures that have been undertaken to harmonise national law and policy with the Convention. On receiving the State party and alternative report the Committee holds verbal hearings with the NGOs and additionally relevant independent monitoring institutions and children and young people themselves.

On the basis of all of the evidence that is presented, the Committee then has an opportunity to cross-examine the government on the progress that is being made in realising children's rights. The UN Committee then issues its recommendations, known as Concluding Observations, to the State party on how it can aim to achieve compliance with the UNCRC.

There are currently no individual court sanctions available to the UN Committee but it is internationally shaming if the State party is found not to be progressing in its compliance with the UNCRC. The process of achieving compliance with the UNCRC is seen to be an incremental one with State parties not expected by the Committee to have fully implemented each and every area of the Convention immediately. The ongoing dialogue between State party and Committee that the reporting process systematises is one of constructive criticism supported by advice on implementation. This encourages governments to makes efforts to achieve positive changes for children and young people between reporting sessions.

Reporting guidelines

The Committee requires that reports inform concretely and concisely about progress achieved and do not repeat information. They should be self-critical and identify shortcomings, and propose measures to be taken to improve the implementation record.

The UN Committee asks the State party to group the rights of the Convention together in a way that aims to reinforce the indivisibility of the rights as well as encourage consistency in the Committee’s approach to monitoring implementation.

The eight clusters are grouped under the following headings

  • 1 General Measures of Implementation (articles, 4, 42, 44.6)
  • II Definition of a child (article 1)
  • III General Principles (articles 2, 3, 6, 12)
  • 1V Civil Rights and Freedoms (articles 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 37(a) )
  • V Family and environment and alternative care (articles 5, 9, 10, 11, 18, 20, 21, 25, 27.4)
  • V1 Basic health and welfare (articles 18, 23, 24, 26, 27)
  • V11 Education, leisure and cultural activities (articles 28, 29, 31)
  • V111 Special protection measures (articles 22, 30, 32, 33, 34, 35, 37, 38, 39, 40)
    a) Children in situations of emergency
    b) Children involved with the system of the administration of juvenile justice
    c) Children in situations of exploitation
    d) Children belonging to a minority or indigenous group