- Honoured and delighted to address the 5th Annual Session of the Mediterranean Model United Nations (MEDI.M.U.N.), in my capacity as the first Commissioner for Children´s Rights in Cyprus.
B. U.N CRC ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
· Adopted on 20 November 1989/ Entered in to force 2 September 1990.
· First legally binding instrument to incorporate the complete range of human rights (civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights)
· Prescribes the minimum rights and freedoms to be respected by Governments
· All rights have equal status and cannot be ranked
· Inter-dependent and interrelated: realization of a right may depend, wholly or in part, upon the realization of other rights
· Establishes new perception of the “child” as holder of rights
· Not the property of the parents/ not a helpless object
· Human being with his/hers own rights/recognizes the legal status of the child
· Separate entity, as member of the family and the society in which he/she lives, with rights and responsibilities appropriate for his/her age and
stage of development
· Cyprus: Law 243/1990./Ratified on 7/2/1991. Has superior force to any national legislation
- I would first like to congratulate the English School for its initiative to lead this UN simulation project in Cyprus.
- Such projects contribute to promoting awareness and sensitivity on human rights among young people. This constitutes the prerequisite for the development of a culture of respect for human rights among the younger generation and sets the ground for a future with equal opportunities and respect for human rights for everyone
- As some of you may know, I have very strong links with the English School. I have served, for over a decade, first, as president of ESPA and, then, as a member of the Board of the Management.
- This is not the first time I am addressing the MEDI.M.U.N. I was before you at the Closing Ceremony of the MEDI.M.U.N of 2007 to speak in my, then, capacity as President of the National Institution for the Protection of Human Rights on Human Rights in Cyprus, on the subject of “Human Rights” in general.
- Now I am before you as Commissioner for Children’s Rights to speak about “Children’s Rights” – a specific area of human rights. For this, I again, congratulate the English School for their persistent and active engagement in the promotion of Children’s Rights.
a. Non discrimination (Article 2)
b. Αdherence to the best interests of the child (Article 3)
c. Τhe right to life, survival and development (Article 6)
d. The right to participate (Article 12)
- They represent the underlying requirements for any and all rights to be realized
Classes of rights
Rights to resources, skills and contributions necessary for the survival and full development of the child. Include rights to adequate food, shelter, clean water, formal education, primary health care, leisure and recreation, cultural activities and information about their rights. These rights require not only the existence of the means to fulfill the rights but also access to them.
Protection from all forms of child abuse, neglect, exploitation and cruelty, including the right to special protection in times of war and protection from abuse in the criminal justice system.
Freedom to express opinions and to have a say in matters affecting their social, economic, religious, cultural and political life. It includes the right to express opinions be heard and have the reviews taken into consideration the right to information and freedom of association / obligation of the state to supply with the information on matters that effect them and to take their views into account according to the age and maturity of the child.
Monitoring of the State
· States bound to adhere to the principles of the CRC
· Duty to refrain from action which prevents children from enjoying the whole spectrum of their rights
· Periodic Reports to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
· Committee on the CRC monitors the implementation of the CRC
· Concluding Observations encouraging states to take specific measures to comply
C. INTERNAL MONITORING - ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS INSTITUTIONS
The Committee on the Rights of the Child considers the establishment of such bodies to fall within the commitment made by States parties upon ratification to ensure the implementation of the CRC and advance the universal realization of children’s rights.
- Article 4 of the CRC obliges States parties to “undertake all appropriate legislative, administrative and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized in the present CRC”.
- General Comment No.2 (2002) – “The role of NHRIs in the promotion and protection of the rights of the child”
- “Paris Principles”:
- mandate: as broad a scope as possible for the promotion and protection of human rights
- Independent from Government:
- Independent recourses/independent structure
- Independent NHRIs: an important mechanism to promote and ensure the implementation of the CRC.
D. ESTABLISHMENT OF THE CYPRIOT COMMISSIONER FOR CHILDREN’S RIGHTS
· The Institution of the Commissioner for Children’s Rights was established in Cyprus:
a. expression of its commitment to operate in the context and the spirit of CRC
b. in compliance with its obligations under the CRC
c. in full compliance to the Concluding Observations of the CRC Committee in relation to the Second Periodic Report of Cyprus (2003)
LEGAL FRAMEWORK – THE COMMISSIONER FOR THE PROTECTION OF CHILDRENS RIGHTS LAW 2007 – 74(I)/2007
· Fully complies with the “Paris Principles”, and General Comment No.2.
· Law came into force 22/6/2007.
· Commissioner appointed 29/8/2007 / took office 6/2/2008 / Term expires 31/10/2014
· In compliance with the “Paris Principles:
A person of high moral standing, recognized for his academic and professional knowledge and experience in matters concerning children, appointed by the Council of Ministers for a fixed term of 6 years.
The views of the children, through the Pan-Cyprian Coordinating Student’s Committee (PSEM) and Children’s Parliament as to what skills and qualifications the children’s expect from the Commissioner to have
- In this regard, the Committee urges states members to establish NHRIs and children’s ombudspersons/children’s commissioners for the promotion and monitoring of the implementation of the CRC.
She may not be dismissed or retired from her office, except for the same manner as the Judges of the Supreme Court
No legal proceedings may be brought against the Commissioner for any act done or any opinion expressed
In the exercise of her competence the Commissioner shall act independently complying solely with the law, moral principles and her conscience and be subject to the duty of confidentiality which extends to the members of her staff
The Commissioner has the ability to set her own agenda independently in relation to her mission
The Commissioner may communicate in the exercise of her task, directly with the President of the Republic, the Ministers, the independent state officers, boards of governmental and non governmental organizations legal entities of public or private law, equivalent Commissioners for Children or relevant international organizations and with children or organized groups of children
Duty of every person, authority or organization to provide the Commissioner with any information that she may deem necessary for carrying out her mission
Criminal sanctions (imprisonment or fine) of any person failing to provide the Commissioner information required, insulting, obstructing or harassing her
duty to submit annual report to the President of the Republic and the President of the House of Representatives
Mission of the Commissioner: (extremely wide)
- Takes an affirmation to exercise her duties faithfully and in the best interest of the children and the public interest in general.
- Fully Independent
- Independence safeguarded:
Competences of the Commissioner:
· to represent children and their interests at all levels
· to promote public awareness and sensitivity of the society (seminars, publications)
· to identify and promote the views of the children (programme of school visits, meetings with groups of children, website, studies)
· to supervise and monitor the implementation of the provisions of the United Nations CRC and the European CRC (complaints)
· to monitor and follow up the legislation and practices and to submit proposals, aiming at the harmonization of the legislation with the relevant international treaties(participation at Parliamentary Committees,
· to promote ratification of these treaties by the Republic
· to carry out public awareness and change of attitude campaigns with regard to the status of children in society
· to submit, on behalf of any child, applications for the appointment of a special representative in judicial proceedings affecting the child
· to represent children and their interests in procedures affecting the children, where provided by law; and,
· in general, to take any action as he may deem necessary, in the fulfillment of his mission within the framework of the Law.
In particular the Commissioner may:
· organize educational, training programs relevant to children’s rights
· conduct studies on the status of children in Cyprus
· promote any necessary legislative measure for the protection of children’s rights
· make recommendations and proposals to all competent bodies
· coordinate the uniform application of the provisions relating to protection of children’s rights
· assist the work of non-governmental organizations protecting children’s rights or rendering services to children
· submit to the competent authorities for investigation , complaints for violations of children’s rights and follow the course of the investigation
· evaluate the outcome of the investigation of a complaint by any authority or service regarding the violation of children’s rights
· co-operate with equivalent bodies and authorities of other states and especially those of the member states of the European Union and the Council of Europe, with regard to issues relating to the exercise of his competences;
· express views on any bill concerning, directly or indirectly, the children۠,
· obtain the views of the children and promote their awareness in relation to their rights.
E. EXAMPLES OF ACTIONS
· Children’s Rights:
“a matter for all”
“children have a voice”
· Take view of children’s:
- to protect and promote children’s rights
· Interventions to the Ministers
· Public Interventions
· Children in care institutions
· Participation rights in the family
· Children in the Judicial System
· School Regulations
· Children with Special Needs
· Visits to Schools – “Give a voice to your views”
· Recommendation for reform of legislation and harmonization with CRC
- Children’s Parliament
- Visits to schools
- Freedom of expression
- Children in psychiatric institutions
- Violence in the family
- Safety in places of entertainment for children
- Health and child protection
- Web page (www.childcom.org.cy)
- Telephone communication: 22 873200
- Fax communication : 22 872365
Implementation of the CRC – Make children’s rights a reality
Government: collaborator/ effort to comply
Legislature: respect of views
- made a difference
- children’s rights are discussed
promote views of the Commissioner
source of information for the Commissioner
pressure group for the Government
to make a reality for every child in Cyprus the effective enjoyment of his hers rights
* Respect of human rights, determines the level of democracy and rule of law of any country.
* “The true measure of a nation’s standing is how well it attends to its children – their health and safety, their material security, their education and socialization and their sense of being loved, valued and included in the families and societies in which they are born” (UNICEF).
- pressure for taking action
- commitment to comply with the recommendations
- create public awareness
Speaking Points - MEDIMUN FINAL 16-1-2010.doc
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