Slovakia Ranked 45th in World on Children’s Access to Justice

Slovakia has been ranked as 45th in the world on how effectively children can use the courts to defend their rights according to new research from Child Rights International Network (CRIN).

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.

Achieving access to justice for children is a work in progress and the report represents a snapshot of the ways children’s rights are protected across the world. The report condenses findings from 197 country reports, researched with the support of hundreds of lawyers and NGOs and is intended to help countries improve access to justice for children nationally.

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.”

By Child Rights International Network (CRIN) – a global research, policy and advocacy organisation. Our work is grounded in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Our goal is a world where children’s rights are recognised, respected and enforced, and where every rights violation has a remedy.
Our work is based on five core values:

– 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.

1 Comment

  1. I watch and see daily the plight of many children here, and it sickens me. Fashion children seem to be the latest manifestation, a bit like handbag dogs and treated no better.
    Hedonism appears to be the only thing Slovakia has assimulated.

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