CRAE monitors the Government’s compliance with the treaties it has signed up to, and submit reports to international human rights bodies when they are considering how well children’s rights are being protected in the UK.  While CRAE’s main focus is the UNCRC, we also look at the UK’s implementation of other human rights treaties that are important for children. 

The Committee on the Rights of the Child (the UN Committee) is the UN body which oversees states’ compliance with the UNCRC.  It is made up of 18 children’s rights experts from different countries and meets three times a year, in Geneva.  It also provides guidance to states on implementing different aspects of the UNCRC, in the form of ‘General Comments’

Every five years it reviews states’ implementation of the UNCRC and publishes its report with recommendations to governments (Concluding Observations) telling them how to improve the protection of children’s rights. As part of this process, civil society can submit evidence to the Committee and produce an alternative report.

CRAE coordinates the children’s sector participation in this process, in England, and the NGO alternative report to the Committee. We have made comprehensive submissions each time the UK has been examined– in 1995, 2002, 2008 and 2016. When the Committee examined the UK in May 2016, CRAE's alternative report was endorsed by 76 organisations in England. You can read the 2016 report here.

CRAE also supported children and young people in England to carry out a major children's rights investigation and submit their own reports to the UN in 2008 and 2015. You can read the 2015 children’s report here, and see Supporting children to campaign for more information.

Most of the recommendations in the civil society alternative report and from the report from children and young people were reflected in the Committee’s Concluding Observations to the UK published in June 2016.

The next examination of the UK by the UN Committee is taking place in 2023, see the timetable below. 

CRC Examination timeline

CRAE submitted a civil society alternative report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in December 2022, endorsed by 97 children’s charities from across England (read our press release).

The report reveals that, due to Government failures, children’s rights have worsened in many areas since the UN’s last examination in 2016. Although there have been some improvements, the report concludes that children remain worryingly low on the political agenda in England.

The UK Government will be examined by the UN Committee in May 2023 and the Committee will then publish their Concluding Observations to the UK in June 2023.