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Thematic Cluster Children and Youth Politics

The children and youth Politics cluster deals with the challenges and problems arising in the implementation of children’s rights in Switzerland. From a legal point of view, children are not only protected by the numerous general human rights treaties but additionally by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989, specially tailored to fit their needs. Everyone who has not yet completed the 18th year of age and is staying in a contracting state can rely on the Convention.

As a member state of this Convention Switzerland has to ensure a discrimination-free implementation of all legal rights or principles written into it for all children within their jurisdiction. The priority on the best interest of the child during decisions affecting the child, ensuring the survival and the development of the child as well as the guarantee of freedom of opinion of the child regarding all aspects of its life are further key principles of the Convention.

The following problems are of particular interest to the SCHR:

  • Protection of minors from any sort of discrimination, abuse or maltreatment
  • Questions regarding the implementation of independent mechanisms for monitoring the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a cantonal and federal level and regarding the receipt of individual and collective complaints by children
  • Realisation of a child-friendly justice, taking into account the differentiated best interests of the child by the civil and criminal legal authorities and the administration
  • Development of proceedings which allow children to participate as legal entities in their various contexts of life (family, school, local etc.)

Competences

The Children and Youth Politics Cluster is under the direction of the Centre interfacultaire en droits de l'enfant (CIDE) part of the University of Geneva (former Institut universitaire Kurt Bösch/IUKB) and the International Institute for the Rights of the Child (IDE) in Sion. Both institutes are proven specialists and are active as experts for national and international organisations (e.g. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child or diverse expert group drafting recommendations for the Council of Europe). In addition, the two institutes organise practice-oriented further education for persons dealing with various problems regarding children and youths. They are also regularly consulted by communal, cantonal and federal authorities and civil society organisations on the topic of children and youth policy. 

Services

The SCHR documents and evaluates the implementation practice of human rights norms in Switzerland on a mandate basis, provides information on standards and best practices, draws up practice-oriented and application-oriented studies and provides further education and counselling services. With its services the SCHR aims at federal, cantonal and municipal authorities, private institutions, enterprises and the civil society.