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UN Framework for the Implementation of the Rights of the Child in Adolescence

Members of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child held a meeting with experts from various countries who presented their propositions and suggestions on the General Comment on the Rights of Adolescents, in a two day session, on 6 and 7 June 2015 in Geneva, in Palais Wilson.

The experiences, opportunities and challenges facing adolescents vary across different regions and among different groups of adolescents. The Committee was therefore seeking to develop the General Comment on the Rights of Adolescents and asked for submissions from interested bodies and states to inform the drafting process in the protection of the best interest of the youth in the context of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The General Comment on the Rights of Adolescents is a framework for the implementation of the rights of the child during adolescence: health promotion, development and well-being of adolescents in the member states of the Convention, focus on the goal that no girl or boy would be marginalized or discriminated, and on the affirmation of universal standards which would enable adequate response in case of culturally sensitive issues, as well as on enabling adolescent participation and ensuring their right to be heard. The working draft of this document is available at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRC/Pages/CallRightsofAdolescents.aspx

The General Comment on the Rights of Adolescents was presented by author Gerison Lansdown, international children’s rights consultant, who published and lectured widely on the subject of children’s rights both at the national and international levels. The meeting was run and moderated by Sara Oviedo, deputy president of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. D.Sc. Bruna Profaca, psychologist of the Child Protection Centre of Zagreb, invited by the UNICEF, participated at the meeting among about thirty experts from various countries and organisations.

The work proceeded in plenaries and in small groups, and the experts discussed the following topics regarding the improvement of the existing working draft of the General Comment on the Rights of Adolescents: definition of adolescence and focusing on the period of adolescence, development of the youth competences and the balance between autonomy and protection, problems of marginalization, abuse, exclusion and poverty among adolescents, etc.

Discussion, work in groups and inclusion of all experts led to conclusions summarised by author Gerison Lansdown, and to recommendations for further development of this document.

This meeting was an opportunity for the members of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to exchange opinions with experts from various regions and organisations contributing to a better implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in all areas regarding adolescents.