National Rapporteur contributes expertise to UN Committee on children’s rights

In response to the upcoming reporting procedure of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings and Sexual Violence against Children has submitted a list of issues today focused on sexual abuse and exploitation of children in the Netherlands. ‘In cooperation with the Dutch NGO coalition for Children’s Rights and other organisations, we have each contributed our expertise to the UN Committee,’ says National Rapporteur Herman Bolhaar.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the body of eighteen independent experts that monitors the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Since the Netherlands signed and ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Netherlands reports every five years to the CRC on the situation of children’s rights in the Netherlands. In the run-up to the upcoming report, Dutch NGO’s, human rights organisations and other experts have been invited to submit a List of Issues Prior to Reporting before 1 July 2019. This list should reflect the most urgent issues that the CRC should address.

‘Over the last few decades the Dutch government has set a high standard protecting and improving children’s rights. Yet we should always look for ways to improve the protection of the most vulnerable in our society against exploitation and sexual abuse. Our List of Issues is therefore meant as an incentive in order to keep improving and to continue learning’, says Bolhaar.

The List of Issues Prior to Reporting from the National Rapporteur

The contribution submitted by the National Rapporteur focuses on the need for a thorough understanding of the nature and extent of exploitation and sexual violence against children, as well as insight regarding the effectiveness of policy measures.

The National Rapporteur urges the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to take the following five issues into consideration when it submits their list of issues to the government of the Netherlands: strengthening the preventative approach for both victims and offenders, leveraging the potential of technology, ensuring protection against criminal exploitation, improving care for child victims and offenders, and addressing the lifelong criminal records for juvenile offenders of sexual violence.

The report on children’s rights in the Netherlands

The Dutch NGO coalition for Children’s Rights, the Ombudsman for Children, the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights, the National Youth Council, as well as the National Rapporteur have each submitted a List of Issues Prior to Reporting to the CRC. In October 2019, the CRC will present a List of Issues Prior to Reporting to the Dutch government. This will be based among others on the input they have received from NGO’s, human rights organisations, and experts. The government of the Netherlands as well as the NGO’s involved, will reply to this list of issues in 2020. This will lead to a series of dialogue sessions between the CRC, the government and the experts. The CRC recommendations to the government of the Netherlands are to be expected in 2021.