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Convention on the Rights of Child

  • The Convention on the Rights of the Child lays out the fundamental human rights of children. It was adopted on 20 November 1989.
  • 193 States parties have ratified the CRC, giving it legal force.  The Convention is the most widely ratified human rights agreement in history.
  • The Convention sets out your rights in 54 articles and two optional 'protocols', or extra provisions. It is guided by four fundamental principles:

1. You should not suffer discrimination.
2. Your best interests should be at the top of the agenda when decisions affecting you are being made.
3. You have the right to survive and develop. This includes the right to mental and physical well-being.
4. You should be free to express your views, and these views should be taken into account in all matters that affect you.

  • In September 1990, the United Nations General Assembly held the first global meeting dedicated to improving children’s lives: the World Summit for Children.
  • In 2001, the UN Secretary-General issued ‘We the Children’, a report on progress made for children since the World Summit.  This report listed some of the world’s greatest achievements of the decade: by 2000, 3 million fewer children under five died each year, compared with 1990; 4 per cent fewer children in the same age group were underweight; and 82 per cent of all primary school-age children were now enrolled in primary schools. The 2001 report also noted where there was still room for improvement, or “unfinished business”: half of humanity remained desperately poor; 11 million children were still dying before their fifth birthday, often of preventable causes; 150 million were malnourished; and nearly 120 million were not in school.
  • The Millennium Declaration is a commitment to development, peace and human rights. On 8 September 2000, nearly 200 leaders adopted the Declaration and committed themselves to achieving eight development goals with specific targets by 2015.
  • The UN General Assembly Special Session on Children, held from 8 to 10 May 2002, was the first time that children played an official role in a General Assembly session. They served as official delegates from governments and NGOs. The Special Session was the major follow-up to the 1990 World Summit.
  • In the Children’s Forum preceding the Special Session, 404 young delegates (242 girls and 162 boys) from 154 countries debated how best to improve children’s lives. After three days of hard work, the delegates agreed on a statement to be delivered at the opening of the Special Session. They called their statement ‘A World Fit for Us’.
  • The outcome of the Special Session on Children was a global agenda, A ‘World Fit for Children’, that laid out a plan to bridge the gap between “the great promises” and the “modest achievements” of the 1990s. The plan created time-bound targets for achieving the Millennium Development Goals directly related to children. And it set countries the task of developing, by the end of 2003, national action plans to meet the targets.
  • A year after the Special Session, 105 countries around the world had taken specific follow-up actions by either developing national action plans or taking steps to carry out their plans.
  • An update session called ‘A World Fit for Children + 5’ is due to be held in December 2007.

 

 
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