An open letter by children on the International Child Rights Day

Friday 20 November 2015

Let’s sign and ratify the Third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child!

A year ago to the day, our peers, children representatives of the NGO network “Snažniji glas za djecu“[1] (A Stronger Voice for Children), addressed the government in Bosnia and Herzegovina and called for the adoption of the Third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure. If our rights are being violated, and we have exhausted all the other options in our country, the Third Optional Protocol enables us to file a complaint to the United Nations.

The Third Optional Protocol (OP3) has neither been signed nor ratified by Bosnia and Herzegovina, although the protocol has been in force in signatory states since 14 April 2014.

To this day, the Protocol has been signed by 50 and ratified by 20 countries in the world. This means that the children in these countries have an additional mechanism for protecting their rights unlike the children in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The children in Bosnia and Herzegovina should not be less important than other children.

In a recent study, conducted among children from six cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 93% of the children claim that children’s rights are being violated in their environments. Interestingly, 26% of the children believe that children’s rights are mostly violated by the authorities i.e. the politicians.

Slightly less than half of the surveyed children (48%) stated that they have had their rights violated, but only 13% of them asked for protection of their rights. We were encouraged by the fact that 39% of the surveyed children had heard of OP3, but we are worried that as much as 89% of them think that children do not know enough about the protection of their rights.

We are using this opportunity to invite you once more to adopt the Optional Protocol on a Communications Procedure and thus contribute to a better protection of children’s rights in our country. The passing of the Third Optional Protocol is only one of the necessary steps for a country to have happy and satisfied children, and responsible citizens in the future.

We are also inviting our peers to get better informed about their rights and ask for protection guaranteed under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

We are looking forward to you accepting our message and to the Protocol being signed.

Children members of the network

 „Snažniji glas za djecu“


[1] “Naša djeca“ Zenica, “Centar za prava djeteta“ Konjic, “Sunce“ Mostar, “Zdravo da ste“ Banja Luka, “Udruženje za mentalno nedovoljno razvijena lica“ Banja Luka, “Zemlja djece“ Tuzla, “Sretni Romi“ Tuzla, “Svjetionik“ Prijedor and  “Naša djeca“ Sarajevo (Children's Parliament Novi Grad and Vogošća)