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The Rapporteur on the Rights of the Child, Commission member Dr. Helio Bicudo, began work in October 1998. He determined the main objectives to be:

  1. Specialization and professionalization of the law on children and adolescents
  2. Child exploitation, in its various forms
  3. The impact of socioeconomic factors on the human rights of children

The Rapporteur has made it his first task to review studies already conducted and the legislative and organizational progress made in these areas in order to avoid duplication with and take advantage of the efforts of other organizations or experts. To this end, the Rapporteur has initiated contact with organizations, particularly the Inter-American Children’s Institute and specialized nongovernmental organizations. Contact was also initiated with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees regarding the children of refugee families. In addition to making future reports on these priorities, the Rapporteur also has the tentative objective of preparing a request for an Advisory Opinion from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on bringing current practice into line with the American Convention. The Rapporteur has the direct support of Specialists Osvaldo Kreimer and Ignacio Alvarez in their work.

A working relationship has been established with the Inter-American Children’s Institute (IIN), which began with a presentation by the Rapporteur at its annual meeting in October 1998. Since that time, there have been exchanges with its specialists regarding these lines of action. In March 1999, the Rapporteur will participate in the technical meeting on "Violence and Sexual Exploitation of Children in Latin America and the Caribbean," organized by the Institute in Montevideo, and in the examination of materials on those priorities, together with IIN specialists.

With respect to the third point, the Rapporterur will conduct a study of the nature of states’ obligations and their possible responsibility under international law in cases of the death or physical or mental disability of children due to a lack of adequate measures to ensure minimum conditions of health and nutrition.

The Rapporteur will in due course prepare a questionnaire for the above purposes to be sent to the member states and other organizations.

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