Update: 23.04.2014

NGO report on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child sees urgent need for action

In June 2014 Switzerland will be examined by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child for the second time. The key issue will be the question as to what authorities should do in order to improve the situation of children. A shadow report published by the Child Rights Network Switzerland end of March 2014 shows the problems clearly.

Lacking coordination leads to big differences

“In spite of children and adolescents having the same rights all over Switzerland, they do not get access to the same possibilities, depending on the canton they live in and their status”, states Christina Weber Khan, President of the Child Rights Network Switzerland. Although Switzerland officially ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) 17 years ago, there still exists a great lack of coordination between the federal and cantonal levels in its implementation. Michael Marugg, author of the NGO report, adds that the measures taken by the Confederation and the cantons lack a programmatic character and their lasting effect is debatable. Moreover Switzerland failed to implement a single one of the recommendations by the UN Committee from the year 2002 within specified time limits.

The rights of the particularly vulnerable will be affected

The poor respect for and lacking implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has immediate effects on the reality of the lives of children and adolescents. Vulnerable groups of children and adolescents, in particular those with physical or mental impairments, those affected by poverty, unaccompanied minors seeking asylum or imprisoned minors are often deprived of access to their legitimate rights, such as the right of the child to education (Art. 28 CRC), the right of a child to live with his parents (Art. 9 CRC), the right to special protection and assistance provided by the state (Art. 20 CRC) or the right of the child to rest and leisure (Art. 31 CRC).

In general, children are not heard frequently enough in affairs that affect them (Art. 12 CRC). The primary objective of protecting the child’s well-being is generally of only little interest of politics, legislation, administration and the judiciary, the Child Rights Network Switzerland states in its media release. Its call for action against this grievance includes the drafting of a national strategy paper on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the creation of a national human rights institution with an explicit assignment in the field of children’s rights.

The Child Rights Network Switzerland is an alliance of 43 Swiss NGOs, among them Pro Juventute, Kinderschutz Schweiz (Swiss Foundation for the Protection of the Child) or Terre des hommes Switzerland. The supporting organizations include humanrights.ch.

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