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UN Committee on Rights of Child considers NZ's performance

United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child considers New Zealand's performance

Peace Movement Aotearoa

15 September 2016

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child - which monitors state party compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (the Convention), the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (OPAC, also known as the Optional Protocol on Child Soldiers), the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (OPSC) - will begin its consideration of New Zealand's performance in Geneva overnight.

The Committee will hold three interactive dialogues with government representatives, starting at 1amtomorrow morning, during its 73rd session which runs from 13 to 30 September 2016.

This update provides information on New Zealand, the Convention and the Optional Protocols; NGO and other reports to the Committee; and the interactive dialogue times and webcast. Background information on the Convention, its Optional Protocols, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the process for considering state parties performance, and the Committee's 73rd session is available in the formatted version at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/crc-update16.pdf

New Zealand, the Convention and the Optional Protocols

New Zealand ratified the Convention on 6 April 1993, with three reservations - the reservations are available at http://www.justice.govt.nz/justice-sector-policy/constitutional-issues-and-human-rights/human-rights/international-human-rights/crc

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New Zealand ratified the OPAC on 12 November 2001, and the OPSC on 20 September 2011. New Zealand has not signed or ratified the Optional Protocol on a Communications Procedure (OPIC).

The Committee last considered New Zealand in 2011 - the Concluding Observations from that session are available at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/CRC-C-NZL-CO-3-4.pdf and a brief overview of the Committee's concerns is available at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/nzcrc56.pdf

New Zealand submitted its fifth periodic report to the Committee in December 2015, and during the Pre-Sessional Working Group in February 2016, the Committee provided a List of Issues (available at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/crc-loi2016.pdf ) - issues it required the government to supply further information about before the 73rd session. The periodic report, reply to the List of Issues, and appendices are available at http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=1041&Lang=en - to access the documents, scroll down to the 'New Zealand' section, then click on each of the lines with 'state party' in it.

New Zealand's initial report on OPSC will also be considered during the 73rd session - the report, the Committee's List of Issues, and the government's response, are available athttp://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=1041&Lang=en - to access the documents, scroll down to the 'Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography' heading near the end of the page, and click on the lines under 'New Zealand'.

The government delegation to the 73rd session is led by the Minister for Social Development, Anne Tolley - the full delegation list is at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/crc73-del.pdf

NGO and other reports to the Committee

When considering the information provided by the government, the Committee will also take into account the reports provided by NGOs, the Children's Commissioner, and the Human Rights Commission.

The comprehensive combined NGO report for the Pre-Sessional Working Group, which covers all aspects of the Convention, was coordinated and written by Action for Children and Youth Aotearoa (ACYA) - the report is available at http://www.acya.org.nz/uploads/2/9/4/8/29482613/2015_acya_alternative_report_for_dissemination.pdf
ACYA also provided further reports to the Committee last month, which are available athttp://www.acya.org.nz/news-and-events/acyas-latest-reports-to-uncroc ACYA's 'Litany of Missed Opportunities Hurts NZ Children and Young People Most', 14 September 2016, is athttp://www.acya.org.nz/uploads/2/9/4/8/29482613/media_release_14_september_2.pdf

Peace Movement Aotearoa provided the only report about the OPAC - the report, which has six sections covering the New Zealand armed forces and the Optional Protocol (including the age of recruitment and recruitment practices, overseas combat operations and child rights, military policy and child rights, and the New Zealand Cadet Force); public spending, military spending and child rights; military involvement in education, here and in the Pacific; military involvement in youth development programmes here and in the Pacific; the education curriculum and peace education; and OPAC dissemination and training - is available at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/crc73-pma.pdf

UNICEF and Save the Children provided a report to the Committee, 'Our Voices Our Rights', which is about the lives and wishes of children in Aotearoa New Zealand based on the thoughts, experiences and opinions of 1198 children - the report and related video is athttps://www.unicef.org.nz/reports/ourvoices

Other NGO reports covering various aspects of the Convention and the OPSC are athttp://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=1041&Lang=en - to access the documents, scroll down to the 'New Zealand' section, then click on the 'Info from Civil Society Organizations' line.

The reports from the Children's Commissioner and Human Rights Commission are athttp://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=1041&Lang=en - to access the documents, scroll down to the 'New Zealand' section, then click on the 'Info from NHRIs' line.

Interactive dialogue times and webcast

The Committee will begin the interactive dialogue with New Zealand in relation to the Convention and OPAC in Geneva on Thursday, 15 September at 3pm (NZ time: 1am, Friday, 16 September), continue on Friday, 1 September at 10am (NZ time: 8pm, Friday, 16 September), and will then consider NZ in relation to the OPSC on Friday, 16 September at 3pm (NZ time: 1am, Saturday, 17 September). The sessions will more than likely be available live via the webcast athttp://webtv.un.org/meetings-events - scroll down the page and click on the 'Human Rights Treaty Bodies' tab on the left, then on 'Committee on the Rights of the Child'. Please note however that not all sessions of the Committee are broadcast live.

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