UNCRC in the Netherlands: a review of child rights implementation

On 1-2 February 2022, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child held an online meetig to review the implementation and compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) during the past five years.

The Dutch Children's Rights Coalition (represented by Eurochild member Defence for Children International - The Netherlands) organised a review of the meeting.

“I consider it a positive sign that there was a large delegation present from the Netherlands”- started off Ms. Huri Sahin, chair of the Dutch Coalition - “including recently appointed Secretary of State of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, Mr. Maarten van Ooijen. A variety of issues that we raised in our NGO report definitely appeared in the questions of the Committee.”

Unfortunately, even if the Committee appreciated the work done so far, they also found the answers of the delegation incomplete and selective, since for some issues they did not get clear or concrete answers.

The Dutch Children's Rights Coalition will translate the Concluding Observations in child-friendly language, offer them to the Dutch government and closely follow the implementation of the Recommendations.

Read below a summary of the key topics discussed:

  • The best interests of the child and mental wellbeing

    The best interests of the child reoccurred in multiple areas, such as juvenile justice and youth care. However, in reality children not always felt that their best interest was a primary concern in decision-making that concerns them. In the sessions delegations also spoke about the decentralisation of youth care from state level to municipalities, equal access to care and children's mental wellbeing.

    “Mental wellbeing at school was mentioned. The question is how the governments deals with these issues. The Ministry makes a lot of plans, but we don’t see enough of these plans put into practice [...] I expected more.” - said Ms. Narita Derks, a young advocate for young people in youth care at Cliëntenbelang.
  • Poverty

    According to Huri Sahin: “It was positive that the Dutch government recognised that poverty should be combatted with an integral approach, with multiple departments collaborating. It was disappointing that the delegation did not give any perspective on withdrawing the Dutch reservation on article 26, the right of children to independent social security.”
  • Juvenile justice

    The UN Committee asked the Netherlands about different subjects, such as DNA gathering, sentencing minors as adults and raising the age of criminal responsibility from 12 to 14 or 16 years old. According to Mr. Ton Liefaard, professor of children’s rights at University Leiden: “This is one of the areas where the Committee would really like to see progress. The Government did not demonstrate to be open to change its position.” 
  • Climate change

    According to Huri Sahin, the answer ‘We appreciate the opinion of the youth’ was not enough. Children and young people would like to actively contribute towards climate policy, because it concerns their future.

Further Information

Related News/Events

8 November 2023

A Dream of the Future

On the 20th October, Eurochild and its members joined the Human Rights 75 Regional Dialogue for Europe and Central Asia. Saoirse Exton's, part of the UN Secretary General’s Youth Advisory…
read more
7 November 2023

EuropaSocial 2023 - A new generation of local and European action in defence of the rights of the child

On 16 November, Eurochild co-organised a conference on the state of child rights as part of the Europa Social debate series in Barcelona. The conference, organised together with the Third…
read more
10 October 2023

ENOC Conference: Upholding children’s rights in Europe

Eurochild Secretary General, Sabine Saliba, joined the 2023 ENOC Conference in September and expressed concern over the growing attacks on children’s rights in Europe. The European Network of Ombudspersons for…
read more