DCI-France calls on French parliamentarians to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure (OP3) without any reservation or interpretative declaration.
We recall that this protocol, which came into force on 14 April 2014, provides childen with the opprtunity to access justice at the international level, given that all domestic remedies have been exhausted. Yet, children are allowed to use this complaints procedure only if their States ratify the protocol.
While the French government has submitted a draft bill to ratify the OP3, and an impact study related to this draft bill, DCI-France raises concerns over the terms and conditions of the ratification proposed by the government.
DCI-France particularly questions the impact study on points II.2 and II.3, relating to the judicial and administrative impacts of the ratification, and point V, relating to the impact of recommendations made by the Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
DCI-France deplores that the impact study highlights the risks of change in domestic law and provides ways to circumvent these risks through interpretative declarations. Overall, interpretative declarations would limit the impact and effective implementation of the Protocol, if ratified, and would therefore compromise any relevant change in the domestic law as well as recommendations made by the UNCRC.
Shortcomings noted by DCI-France particularly concern the following issues (click here to read DCI-France’s full press release (French only)):
– Temporal jurisdiction of the UNCRC: France limits the admissibility of complaints related facts and/or decisions that have taken place after the (eventual) ratification of the OP3. This contradicts article 7,g of the Protocol, which stipulates that a communication regarding facts that started prior to the entry in force of the Protocol but persisted after it can be received by the Committee.
– Interim measures that may be imposed by the Committee: France puts forward its right not to apply provisional/interim measures provided by the Committee in order to avoid irreparable harm caused to children (cf. article 6,1 OP3)
– Exhaustion of domestic remedies: France only takes into account cases in which children have been heard and/or represented before a court. However, children that have not been able to be heard and those that have had remedies provided by administrative decisions at the domestic level, the possibility to seize the Committee on a communications procedure is therefore inexistent (cf. article 7,e,h OP3).
– Non admissibility of communications for cases that have already been examined by other courts and/or regional/international quasi-jurisdiction of human rights based on other legal corpuses than the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Protocol.
While France has not made any reservations to the ratification of the OP3, such interpretative declarations nevertheless send a wrong signal to the international community and put a big question mark on the willingness of the French government to effectively implement the OP3 at the national level.
In this regard, DCI has sent an open letter to the French government (French only) at the beginning of this month and will continue its lobbying activities with the UNCRC as France goes under review in January 2016.