Minister for Children, Kelvin Davis, has welcomed New Zealand’s accession to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure (OPCP).
Now in effect, he said the Protocol will allow claims to be made to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child if the claimant believes the Government has breached New Zealand’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
“New Zealand’s accession to the Protocol will further ensure that the rights of all tamariki in New Zealand are reinforced and upheld,” Minister Davis said.
“This builds on this Government’s commitment to put tamariki at the heart of our decision making, and delivers on one of our manifesto commitments.
“The Protocol will further improve the protection of children’s rights by providing independent scrutiny of Government actions, better honour our obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi and add weight to New Zealand’s existing commitment as a State Party to the Children’s Convention.”
Becoming party to the OPCP will support the Government’s priorities of improving the lives of tamariki by giving greater effect to the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy and the Youth Plan to make New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child or young person, said Mr Davis.
“This supports work already underway across Government targeted at addressing child poverty, family violence, inadequate housing, and improving early years, learning support and mental wellbeing for tamariki and their whānau.”
He said New Zealand’s accession to the OPCP will also provide further protection for the rights of key population groups, including Māori, Pacific people, disabled people, young women and girls and rainbow youth.