National Rapporteur publishes written statement to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

Prior to the pre-session of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on the Netherlands, the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings and Sexual Violence against Children has submitted a written statement in which updates and new developments are shared concerning human trafficking and sexual violence against children, as seen in its three most recent publications.

Written statement

In its written statement the National Rapporteur urges the CRC to pay extra attention to the specific groups of young victims and offenders, and vulnerable children in migration flows when preparing the dialogue with the State. Hereby it is important to note the growing overlap between the two mandates of the institute: exploitation and sexual violence against children. In the context of multi-problem backgrounds and organised crime, exploitation and sexual violence cannot be seen separately from one another. Multiple and complex underlying problems are often closely related to experiencing various forms of sexual violence. Therefore, it is required to develop a comprehensive approach in which continuous learning takes place.

The National Rapporteur stresses that priority should be given to prevention and resocialisation in improving the situation regarding child trafficking and sexual violence against children in the Netherlands. For example, the National Rapporteur believes it is of utmost importance that the Dutch government collaborates with the educational sector to equip teachers and develop evidence-based teaching programmes that can guidance both potential victims and offenders in their early youth on (online) sexuality, and provide support in their sexual development. Furthermore, it is crucial to find out what the actual impact of COVID-19 is by improved monitoring to implement appropriate measures.

Reporting to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

Every country that has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has to report to the CRC on the situation of children’s rights in their country every five years. In September 2021, the Dutch government will be questioned for the fifth time about compliance with children's rights in the Netherlands during a state session initiated by the CRC.

In July 2019, the National Rapporteur has published a List of Issues Prior to Reporting, as well as The Dutch NGO coalition for Children’s Rights, the Ombudsman for Children, the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights, the National Youth Council. In October 2019, the CRC presented the List of Issues Prior to Reporting to the Dutch government, in which they took into account the input they have received from NGO’s, human rights organisations, and experts. The Netherlands then responded to this List of Issues in their State report of November 2020.

After receiving the State report of the Netherlands, the CRC scheduled the pre-session of the Netherlands the beginning of June 2021. During this pre-session the Committee met online in private with selected Dutch children’s rights defenders, including children, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), Ombudspersons, as well as UN agencies. It is an opportunity for children’s rights defenders to confidentially share their information and concerns before the Committee’s dialogue with the State.