Mainstreaming Human Rights

The Working Group on the Human Rights Council brings together NGOs willing to promote the rights of the child at the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC). It aims to ensure that this important international human rights mechanism addresses the specific rights and situations of children worldwide in its regular work and sessions. By advocating for the inclusion of its concerns into the HRC’s resolutions, the NGO community can further ensure better support and coherence between international politics and local realities affecting the realisation of children’s rights.

Universal Periodic Review

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a new mechanism whereby the HRC will examine the human rights situation in every Member State once every four years. In order to assist NGOs to participate and contribute to the UPR, the Working Group produced a toolkit. The toolkit consists of:

A summary of the toolkit is also available.

Reinforcing the “omnibus resolution” on the rights of the child

The most recent resolution of the HRC on the rights of the child was adopted at its 7th session in March 2008. The HRC decided that it would consider an omnibus resolution on the rights of the child only every four years but it would focus on a specific theme of the rights of the child on an annual basis in the intervening period. The Working Group regards the omnibus resolution as very important and devotes a significant percent of its work to:

  • Drafting and gathering contributions for the alternative NGO text for the resolution.
  • Using the text in lobbying during the drafting and negotiations of member states on the resolution.
  • Disseminating widely both the alternative NGO text and the final resolution, in particular to national child rights coalitions, in order to enhance the impact and implementation of the resolution at country level and identify potential areas to develop further the following year.

Mainstreaming children’s rights

The Working Group strongly believes that children’s rights issues ought to be included in other human rights resolutions. With this position the Working Group:

  • Identifies ways of fostering mainstreaming (using concluding observations of the Committee, existing international standards, additional information on targeted themes or countries, etc.)
  • Lobbies member states sponsoring resolutions in which children’s rights could be mainstreamed
  • Promotes a child rights approach to any child related issue addressed by the Council

Holding the Children’s Human Rights Caucus during the HRC

The Working Group hosts a special interest group called the Children’s Human Rights Caucus during the HRC. Being the only one of its kind, the Caucus serves as an important focal point where a range of participants in the Council can meet on children’s issues. The Working Group:

  • Plans and organises morning briefings on children’s issues and thematic presentations by NGOs, rapporteurs, and member states
  • Provides daily information on children’s issues at the Council for Caucus members worldwide through e-mail and in-site announcements and reports
  • Liaises with other Caucuses, notably through CONGO, in order to develop joint NGO information and lobbying efforts

Organising side-events and information sharing

The HRC attracts some of the foremost human rights advocates from around the world. The Working Group facilitates the organisation of side-events whereby NGOs have a platform for raising children’s rights issues. Those interested in the HRC but unable to be present at the meetings are kept informed through the website and email. The Working Group:

  • Co-organises with other working groups or members panels on issues of importance to children’s rights NGOs
  • Participates in all side-events related to children and reports through the Children’s Human Rights Caucus
  • Produces weekly reports for CRIN mail and contributes to CRIN newsletters

Ensuring follow-up of the Council’s work on child related issues

After each meeting of the HRC, the Working Group has a review process that involves:

  • Conducting an evaluation session of the Working Group’s work at the HRC with the aim of finding new areas for further improvements
  • Producing and disseminating an analytical and a reader-friendly versions of the Children’s Human Rights Caucus activity report at the HRC
  • Attending the annual meetings of special procedures of the Council and chairpersons of the treaty bodies to present the report and recommendations of the Working Group

Publications on the Human Rights Council

Publications on the Commission on Human Rights

  • Children’s Human Rights Caucus Final Report 2005 [word and pdf], 2004 [word and pdf], 2003 [pdf], 2002 [pdf]
  • Subgroup alternative resolution on the rights of the child for the 60th Session of the Commission on Human Rights 2004 on item 13 [word] and [pdf]
  • Subgroup paper on some country resolutions from the UN Commission on Human Rights vis-à-vis the Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, January 2003 [word].

Contact Details of the Working Group

For more information about the Mainstreaming Child Rights Working Group (Human Rights Council) please contact covenors, Sabine Saliba Boutruche from Child Rights Internatinal Network (CRIN).