The Philippines and the Convention on the Rights of the Child
This page provides information relating to the forthcoming consideration, in September 2009, by the Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva of the Philippines’ records on implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child since its last analysis in 2005.
What is the Convention on the Rights of the Child?
The Convention was adopted on 20 November 1989 by the UN General Assembly and consists of a preamble and 54 articles. It defines child as any human being below 18 years old, for the purposes of the convention.
The Convention also establishes that “[i]n all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration”, pledging the rights be respected “...without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child's or his or her parent's or legal guardian's race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status”.
What does the Convention mean for the Philippines?
By accepting the Convention, the State committed itself to undertake “…all appropriate measures to ensure that the child is protected against all forms of discrimination or punishment on the basis of the status, activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of the child's parents, legal guardians, or family members”. Moreover, with the ratification, the country was entrusted with the mission to “…undertake all appropriate legislative, administrative, and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized in the […] Convention. With regard to economic, social and cultural rights, [the Philippines] shall undertake such measures to the maximum extent of their available resources and, where needed, within the framework of international co-operation”.
Committee on the Rights of the Child
The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by its State parties. It also monitors implementation of two optional protocols to the Convention, on involvement of children in armed conflict and on sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (and the Philippines ratified both).
What is treaty reporting?
All States parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. States must report initially two years after acceding to the Convention and then every five years. The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of “concluding observations”.
The Committee reviews additional reports which must be submitted by States who have acceded to the two Optional Protocols to the Convention.
The Committee cannot consider individual complaints, although child rights may be raised before other committees with competence to consider individual complaints.
The Committee meets in Geneva and normally holds three sessions per year consisting of a three-week plenary and a one-week pre-sessional working group. In 2006, the Committee considered reports in two parallel chambers of 9 members each, "as an exceptional and temporary measure", in order to clear the backlog of reports.
For more information about the work of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, click here.
The Philippines reporting under the Convention
Reporting to the Committee is an opportunity for the governments of the Philippines to present the steps it has taken to develop the country for the benefit of their citizens, particularly children, and to seek advice from the Committee’s experts on areas where more progress is required.
The initial report from the Philippines was due on 19 September 1992, and the Committee received it on 21 September 1993. The last report was due on 19 September 2007, and it was submitted on 18 January 2008.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child has decided that it will consider the situation in the Philippines at its fifty-second session in September-October 2009. It has requested the Philippines to submit the 3rd and 4th report by September 2007 in a combined report.
Can NGOs and other civil society representatives participate in the process?
Under article 45(a) of the Convention, the Committee on the Rights of the Child may invite specialized agencies, UNICEF, and “other competent bodies” to provide expert advice on the implementation of the Convention. The term “other competent bodies” includes non-governmental organizations. This Convention expressly gives NGOs a role in monitoring its implementation. The Committee has systematically encouraged NGOs to submit reports, documentation or other information in order to provide it with a comprehensive picture of how the Convention is being implemented in a particular country. The Committee welcomes written information from international, regional, national and local organizations. Individual NGOs or national coalitions or networks of NGOs may submit information on the implementation of the Convention, as well as the Optional Protocols.
Click here for more information on NGOs participation.