The new report, ‘Rights, Remedies and Representation’, takes into account whether children can bring lawsuits when their rights are violated, the legal resources available to them, the practical considerations for taking legal action and whether international law on children’s rights is applied in national courts.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has been ratified by Slovakia and can be directly enforced in the courts, with its provisions taking precedence over national laws. Under Slovak law, children lack legal capacity and their ability to bring a court case by themselves must be judged on a case-by-case basis.
Typically, minor children are represented by their parents, unless there is a conflict of interests, in which case the court will appoint a guardian to represent the interests of the child. Slovak children can submit complaints to the Public Defender, who can assist in bringing a case in the regular courts.Complaints of violations of children’s right may also be submitted to the European Court on Human Rights and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Director of CRIN, Veronica Yates, said: “While the report highlights many examples of systems poorly suited to protecting children’s rights there are also plenty of people using the courts to effectively advance children’s rights.
“Our ranking represents how well States allow children access to justice rather than how well their rights are enshrined. However, it is hard to ignore how many countries with deplorable human rights records are on the lower end of the ranking for children’s access to justice.”
In the foreword of the report the chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child Benyam Dawit Mezmur said: “The Committee welcomes this research and already envisages its concrete contribution to its various engagements with State Parties.
“Child rights standards in international instruments do not mean much for the lived reality of children if they are not implemented. In particular, if the fundamental rights of children are violated, it is critical that children or those acting on their behalf have the recourse, both in law and in practice, to obtain a remedy to cease, prohibit and/or compensate for the violation.
“I hope this study is only the beginning of a new shift in making access to justice for children a priority that will enable other rights to be fulfilled.”
– We believe in rights, not charity
– We are stronger when we work together
– Information is power and it should be free and accessible
– Societies, organisations and institutions should be open, transparent and accountable
– We believe in promoting children’s rights, not ourselves.