UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is comprised of 18 independent experts who monitor 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.
China signed the Convention on 29 August 1990 and ratified it on 2 March 1992.
All States parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee, approximately every five years, explaining how the rights set out in the Convention are being implemented. The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of “concluding observations”.
China's third and fourth reports were reviewed together during the 64th session of the CRC in 2013. The full process and accompanying documentation is set out below:
China's State Party Report to the CRC was submitted on 16 July 2010 (15½ months late) and published by the CRC on 6 June 2012.
The CRC then engaged with civil society as part of their review process. Tibet Watch and Free Tibet submitted a joint report to the CRC in November 2012. We also attended a meeting of the pre-sessional working group to give evidence in person.
Using the information submitted by civil society groups, the CRC completed their review of China's report and compiled a List of Issues, which was published on 10 May 2013. China was asked to respond to the issues raised by the CRC by 1 July 2013.
China's Response to the List of Issues was submitted to the CRC and published on 10 September 2013.
Civil society groups were then invited to submit their Final Comments on China's response. Tibet Watch and Free Tibet made a joint submission with our comments in September 2013.
The CRC then invited China to attend a 'constructive dialogue'. This is a review process where members of the Committee discuss the reports with Chinese representatives at a public meeting. The meeting was held at the Palais Wilson in Geneva over three sessions and summary records are available for each:
Following the dialogue process, the CRC published their Concluding Observations on 29 October 2013. By UN standards the language used was strong and there was unambiguous criticism of the current human rights situation.
The Committee noted that they were “deeply concerned at the continuous violations of the rights of and discrimination against Tibetan and Uighur children…, including their right to freedom of religion, language and culture”. They further noted they were “deeply disturbed by an alarming escalation of self-immolations by Tibetan children and the State party’s failure to prevent such loss of life by addressing the deep underlying causes and long-standing grievances of Tibetans”. They also expressed their concern about specific human rights violations, including reports of detention, torture and ill-treatment, as well as making recommendations for improvement.
The final step in the process was China's submission of their Final Comments on the Concluding Observations. Not surprisingly they rejected all of the criticism within the CRC's observations. They expressed their "regret" that some parts of the CRC's document "do not square with facts". They claimed that these parts were based on accounts which were "unverified", "lacking necessary analysis" or simply "exaggeration".
The next report to the CRC from China is due by 31 March 2019.