In 2014, the UN Committee called on the German federal government to establish a comprehensive data-collection system for children and introduce indicators for children’s rights. Despite this recommendation, it is yet to set up such a system. Apart from the recommendation, however, there are a few pieces of useful information to be found in Appendix 2 to the State Report and in the Common Core Document. During the reporting period, the German Institute for Human Rights also started developing indicators for three articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Both the data-collection system requested by the committee and the children’s rights indicators are designed to facilitate assessments of children’s overall situations and guide the formulation, monitoring and evaluation of political measures, programmes and projects for successful implementation of the Convention. As part of the regulatory impact assessment, and when evaluating a law, legislative proposals affecting children or families must refer to the children’s rights that have been upheld as a result of said activities. In order to ascertain the differences in the upholding of children’s rights based on the age, sex, health, disability, geographical location, ethnicity, migration status and socioeconomic background of the children and adolescents, it is essential to have a correspondingly systematic reporting mechanism for these sub-populations of children and adolescents.
The data availability to date can be found in Appendix 2 to the State Report. For some issues, data is itemised by age, sex or so-called ‘migration background’. For some other issues, it is possible to observe the development over several years during the reporting period, e.g. in the abuse of children entrusted to care. For other issues in turn, comparisons can be drawn between German states, e.g. in special-education support. The data available to date does not allow for systematic breakdown by age, sex, disability, geographic location, ethnicity, migration status or socioeconomic background.
This very heterogeneous data in terms of quality, breakdown, geographic origin and time frame makes it difficult to develop children’s rights indicators, which the monitoring mechanism for the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child at the German Institute for Human Rights has currently undertaken. It is essential for civil society to be involved in selecting the indicators and also to decisively broadening them in order to document the progress in implementing the entire UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Germany.
The legibility of the State Report would also be aided by clearly linking text components and data appendices. For example, the appendices contain data on aspects such as HIV infections, which are not mentioned in the text component of the report. Conversely, text components in the main section are not backed up by data. Data are lacking on, for instance family reunification, asylum-seeking processes, digital forms of sexual abuse, or youth involvement in court procedures. In addition to this quantitative data, analyses of unreported cases are also necessary, e.g. in cases of violence, as are studies on the effectiveness of various forms of participation.
- The National Coalition Germany recommends that the UN Committee call on the German federal government to
- 8. Establish an extensive and integrated data-collection system specific to children, covering all German states and the entire age range from childhood to 18, and to introduce indicators for children’s rights, which can be used to analyse and assess the progress made in upholding these rights. The data should be broken down by age, sex, disability, geographic location, ethnicity, migration status and socioeconomic background in order to facilitate assessment of the children’s overall situation and act as a guide for preparing, monitoring and evaluating political measures, programmes and projects for successful convention implementation.
- 9. Provide adequate resources to the monitoring mechanism at the German Institute for Human Rights to enable civil society to be extensively involved in preparing children’s rights indicators.