Australia is currently preparing for its appearance before the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. This UN Committee monitors Australia’s progress in fulfilling its obligations under:
- the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
- the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (OPSC)
- the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (OPAC)
Every five years the Australian Government reports to the UN Committee on its progress on children's rights. Its latest report to the UN Committee was submitted in January 2018.
The UN Committee makes Concluding Observations on the information it receives from the Australian Government. In these Concluding Observations, the UN Committee assesses Australia's progress on children's rights and makes recommendations for improvement.
National human rights institutions, such as the Australian Human Rights Commission, and civil society, can also make submissions to the UN Committee to inform its deliberations. The Commission, in its role as a national human rights institution, submitted an independent report to the UN Committee about Australia’s implementation of the CRC, OPSC and OPAC on 1 November 2018. This report can be located here.
In February 2019, the National Children's Commissioner will address the UN Committee and assist them in looking at the major issues facing children living in Australia. Following this, the UN Committee will provide the Australian Government with a list of issues that must be addressed in writing by August 2019. The National Children's Commissioner will also update its November 2018 report. In September 2019, the UN Committee will provide Australia with its Concluding Observations and recommendations.
During 2019, the National Children's Commissioner will table a statutory report in Parliament. This will be a 'state of the nation' report containing a more comprehensive review of children's rights in Australia. It will expand on some of the issues included in the report to the UN Committee, as well as showcase some positive programs currently operating in Australia.
For more information about Reporting to the UN on children's rights, please click here.
Children's rights under the CRC can be grouped according to the following clusters of articles. Reports to the UN Committee are structured according to these clusters.
1. General measures of implementation (art. 4, 42, 44(6))
2. Definition of the child (art.1)
3. General principles
- non-discrimination (art. 2)
- best interest of the child (art. 3)
- right to life, survival and development (art. 6)
- respect for the views of the child (art. 12)
4. Civil rights and freedoms
- birth registration, name and nationality (art. 7)
- preservation of identity (art. 8)
- right to seek, receive and impart information (art. 13)
- freedom of thought, conscience and religion (art. 14)
- freedom of association and of peaceful assembly (art. 15)
- protection of privacy and protection of the image (art. 16)
- access to information from a diversity of sources and protection from material harmful to his or her well-being (art. 17)
- measures to promote physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of child victims (art. 39)
5. Violence against children
- abuse and neglect, including physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration (arts. 19 and 39)
- measures to prohibit and eliminate all forms of harmful traditional practices, including, but not limited to, female genital mutilation and early and forced marriages (art. 24(3))
- right not to be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including corporal punishment (arts. 37(a) and 28(2))
- sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (art. 34)
6. Family environment and alternative care
- family environment and parental guidance in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child (art. 5)
- separation from parents (art. 9)
- family reunification (art. 10)
- illicit transfer and non-return (art. 11)
- parents’ common responsibilities, assistance to parents and the provision of childcare services (art. 18)
- children deprived of family environment (art. 20)
- adoption, national and inter-country (art. 21)
- periodic review of placement (art. 25)
- recovery of maintenance for the child (art. 27(4))
7. Disability, basic health and welfare
- measures taken to ensure dignity, self-reliance and active participation in the community for children with disabilities (art. 23)
- survival and development (art. 6(2))
- health and health services, in particular primary health care (art. 24)
- social security and childcare services and facilities (arts. 26 and 18(3));
- standard of living and measures, including material assistance and support programmes with regard to nutrition, clothing and housing, to ensure the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development and reduce poverty and inequality (art. 27, paras. 1–3)
- measures to protect children from substance abuse (art. 33)
8. Education, leisure and cultural activities
- right to education, including vocational training and guidance (art. 28)
- aims of education with reference also to quality of education (art. 29)
- cultural rights of children belonging to indigenous and minority groups (art. 30)
- rest, play, leisure, recreation and cultural and artistic activities (art. 31)
9. Special protection measures
- children outside their country of origin seeking refugee protection, unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, internally displaced children, migrant children and children affected by migration (art. 22)
- children belonging to a minority or an indigenous group (art. 30)
- economic exploitation, including child labour, with specific reference to applicable minimum ages (art. 32)
- use of children in the illicit production and trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances (art. 33)
- sale, trafficking and abduction (art. 35)
- other forms of exploitation (art. 36)
- sentencing of children, in particular the prohibition of capital punishment and life imprisonment (art. 37 (a)) and the existence of alternative sanctions based on a restorative approach; children deprived of their liberty, and measures to ensure that any arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be used as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate time and that legal and other assistance is promptly provided (art. 37 (b)–(d))
- children in armed conflicts (art. 38), including physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration (art. 39)
- physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration (art. 39)
- administration of juvenile justice (art. 40), the existence of specialised and separate courts and the applicable minimum age of criminal responsibility.