Regional parliamentary seminar hosted by the National Assembly of Armenia and organized IPU and UNICEF, Yerevan, Armenia, 14-16 June 2011Parliamentary action for child rights: Ombuds for children Independet Human Rights Institutions on Children (IHRIC) Trond Waage International CRC Expert
What is an Ombudsperson forChildren? an independent public institution whose role is to monitor governments’ and other actors’ actions, promote children’s rights at the national and local level, and offer a space for dialogue between children and the State authorities.Trond Waage
What is an Ombudsperson forChildren? operate without the hard power of courts or elected bodies to take binding decisions, but with the soft power to mediate, monitor, recommend and influence other actors’ actions. act as problem pointers and solvers, and facilitators of processes.Trond Waage
What is an Ombudsperson forChildren? their strength lies in the flexibility they bring to an otherwise rigid political system and structure which may not always provide adequate remedies for situations where the children’s rights of are infringed upon.Trond Waage
Global Movement andInfluence In 1981, Norway became the first country to establish through legislation, an Ombudsman for Children Networks – national, regional and international Play an influential role – CoE, EU, UN .Trond Waage
Different Models - 1Human Rights Commissioner or Commission.General Ombudsman Ombuds for ChildrenThe main objective is to ensure that the with Where the Commission concerns itself laws A concerningrights abuses and institution stand-alone, children’s rights Generaland regulationsand human the promotion discrimination with various names:protection of by individuals,are effectively perpetrated human rights groups or the Institution Independent Human Rights Institution forapplied. Separate government, the Ombudsman has the primary Children, Ombudsman, Ombudsperson, Human Rights objective of protecting nationals from rightsThe focus was initiallyInstitution the defence Defensoría, Procurador, Comisión abuses authored by public officials or centered on Commissioner. Independiente…of civil and political rights, they have responded institutions. In other words, the function of theto the increased to insureState ratification of the Ombudsman is trend oflegislationand legality in a General Based on fairness from parliament with OmbudsmanInternational Covenant by including economic, public administration. to the CRC. referencesocial and cultural rights in their agendas. Various mandates – monitoring, handling individual complaints, proposals for law and policy reform, reporting, agenda setting, direct child participation. Can be set up on national and sub-national level Trond Waage
Different Models - 2 General Institution Separate Integrated Institution with added Human Rights legislation Institution IntegratedCommissioner. Integrated intoInstitutionor a new an existing with added General general human rights commissions or legislation Ombudsman general ombudsman offices, with a separate legislation from parliament.Trond Waage
Different Models - 3 General Institution Integrated Institution Integrated - No added legislation Institution Integrated into an existing or a new general human with added rights commissions or legislation general ombudsman offices. Deputy Ombudsman with the responsibility of children’s rights. .Trond Waage
Different Models - 4 General Govermental Institution Institution A department within a governmental institution Integrated Department A unit inside the bureaucracy based Institution on given instructions related to and/or justified by the National Children’s Act or legislation formulating the child rights.Trond Waage
Guiding Principles The Paris Principles on National Human Rights Institutions (Paris Principles, 1991) Committee on the Rights if the Child: General Comment No 2 (2002) The ENOC Standards for Independent Human Rights Institutions for Children (2000, revised 2006) The Committee on the Rights if the Child’s recommendations – concluding observations
Essential CharacteristicsIndependence Establishment by legislation (aims related to the CRC – gives authority of international law) Functional autonomy Recruitment and dismissing Financial autonomy “Any institution can only ever be as independent as the individuals of which it is composed” From the UN Handbook on National Human Rights Institutions
AccessibilityThe Ombudsman and her office must be accessible and visible for children. Children must know that the institution exist, what it does, how to approach it, and feel confidence that it can represent their interest. (..,media, in the curriculum, children’s tv/radio show, etc) Children need to be able to access the Ombudsman Children need to be directly involved in the running of the institution, through advisory groups, representation on the management board, and in evaluation and monitoring
Diverse staffing To be open and accessible, the ombuds need to ensure that staff are representative of a society’s social, ethnic and linguistic composition. Good gender balance is vital. At the same time, selection should always be on competence. Monitoring childhood challenge a 360 degrees approach and the need of a multi-disciplinary staffing
AccountabilityBe accountable to the children for whom it has been established: by publishing child friendly reports by encouraging their involvement in monitoring and evaluating the work by ensuring that the institutions is always open to public scrutiny and comment. working for and with children; working together with NGOs, the research community, etc; bridge building between the professional and bureaucratic sectors.
Reporting system Submit a national report on the situation of children to Parliament. Submit a separate report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Ensure that children’s opinions reach the Committee. Follow up the recommendations from the Committee on the national level.
General Policy Proposal of changes: legislation practice generate synthesise analyse Individual cases, Inspections, Hearings, etc
The Perception on Childhood Protection Protect to enable Provision Prevention ParticipationTrond Waage
Childhood in Transition The ongoing childhood – not a static repetitive process. Children are not only being socialised in an era of uncertainty, but they are the age group living nearest the epicentre of change. Children are confronted with new technology, globalization, and changing cultural patterns.Trond Waage
Childhood in Transition Children’s life situation today cannot be understood within the vocabulary of yesterday. Children are powerful agents for change.Trond Waage
The role of Ombudsman NGOs ParliamentCommercial/Private Sector Ombudsman Government Education Media Children General Sport/Culture Public Public Family Administration UNICEF IRC Reactive role Proactive role Trond Waage
The Role of the Ombudsman ReActive and ProActive Watchdog as well as innovative, flexible and futuristic (setting the agenda) Holistic approach To avoid the fragmentation syndrome Bridge builder between sectors Research institutions, Universities, NGOs, private sector, public sector, ministriesTrond Waage
The Role of the Ombudsman Credibility No hidden agenda, no fundraising strategies, not fishing votes for election, etc Evidence/experience based activity Enjoy children’s confidence and trust.