ERIC Number: ED560015
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
25 Years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: Is the World a Better Place for Children?
Throughout history, the advance of civilization has been closely tied to the idea that all people have rights: universal, inalienable entitlements to freedom, dignity and security, to be treated fairly and to live free from oppression. The health and soul of all societies depend on how these human rights are recognized--and acted upon. Until the Convention on the Rights of the Child was conceived and adopted 25 years ago, the rights of the world's youngest citizens were not explicitly recognized by any international treaty, nor was there acknowledgement of the fundamental connection between the well-being of children and the strength of their societies. This is why the Convention was such an important milestone--and why the occasion of its twenty-fifth anniversary challenges us all to find new ways of pursuing its universal mandate for every child, as the global community charts its course for the post-Millennium Development Goals period. As the essays in this compendium make clear, during the 25 years since the Convention was adopted, the world has taken action. In every region--and virtually every nation on earth--the Convention has inspired changes in laws to protect children and policies to help them reach their full potential. More broadly, it has provided a clear mandate to translate the right of every child to health, protection and hope into practical programmes and services. In the foreword of this document, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake says that the rights of children are the foundation of a strong and just society. The rapid, widespread ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child--and the results it has helped bring about for children--are among the great triumphs of the past quarter century. He proposes a call to action for reasons moral, economic and humanitarian--and as a means to promote peace and opportunity for every person, in every context--that we must all build on that progress to enable the children of the world to achieve their full potential. Following this foreword, the following contributions are presented in this document: (1) "Is the World a Better Place for Children?" Provides statistical analysis of progress since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. (2) "The Genesis and Spirit of the Convention on the Rights of the Child" (Kirsten Sandburg) reports some encouraging improvements in governments' provision and protection of the rights of children, and discusses many solid efforts and results not only with regard to health and education but also in areas such as juvenile justice, and child participation. (3) "The Convention on the Rights of the Child: Delivery on the Promise for Children is Long Overdue" (Kevin Watkins) reminds us that during the March on Washington, in 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. described the words of the American Constitution as "a promissory note" providing the guarantee of equal opportunity for all citizens. As the world marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Watkins says that The Convention, too, is a "promissory note"--a solemn pledge backed by 194 governments to the world's children. That note, which establishes children as rights holders, is universal in scope and underpinned by four core principles. (4) "The Convention on the Rights of the Child: What it Would Mean to Fulfill Its Potential" (Jody Heyman and Amy Raub) recognizes the importance of evaluating how far countries have come in embedding the principles of the Convention in national laws and policies. The essay also recognizes the potential impact of using that information to identify and examine what hurdles remain. (5) Taking Children Seriously (Urs Gasser) introduces us to two very different but equally significant events of the past 25 years: the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the United Nations General Assembly, and the invention of the World Wide Web by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. While largely unrelated back in 1989, the Convention and the Web share important challenges and opportunities today.
Descriptors: Childrens Rights, International Law, Treaties, Foreign Countries, Well Being, Children, Child Welfare, Child Health, Statistical Analysis, Juvenile Justice, Laws, Public Policy, Internet, Technological Advancement, Social Change, Peace, Social Action, Child Development, Nutrition, Mortality Rate, Disabilities, Child Labor, Marriage, Hazardous Materials, Educational Opportunities, Civil Rights
UNICEF. 3 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017. Tel: 212-326-7000; Fax: 212-887-7465; Web site: http://www.unicef.org/education
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child