Convention on the Rights of the Child

For every child, every right.

Convention on the Rights of the Child: A 7-year-old student and her best friend stand together in a school classroom in India.
© UNICEF/UN0296105/Hajra

Thirty years ago, world leaders made a historic commitment to the world’s children by adopting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – an international agreement on childhood. 

It’s become the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history and has helped transform children’s lives around the world. 

But still not every child gets to enjoy a full childhood. Still, too many childhoods are cut short. 

It is up to our generation to demand that leaders from government, business and communities fulfil their commitments and take action for child rights now, once and for all. They must commit to making sure every child, has every right.

Time to act

Ahead of the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore shares eight reasons why she’s worried, and hopeful, about the next generation.

The Convention at a crossroads: Read the special report on the achievements of the past three decades and the critical work that remains – especially for children who have been left behind.

Protesting a lack of government action on the climate crisis, 16 children, including Greta Thunberg, file a landmark complaint to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Over the past 30 years, children’s lives have been transformed...

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More than 50%
reduction in deaths of children under 5 since 1990
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Almost halved
the proportion of undernourished children since 1990
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2.6 billion
more people have cleaner drinking water today than in 1990

...but millions are still left behind and childhood is changing rapidly.

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262 million
children and youth are out of school
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650 million 
girls and women were married before their 18th birthday
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1 in 4 children
will live in areas with extremely limited water resources by 2040

These inspiring children are speaking out, claiming their rights and leading the way to the world they deserve

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham calls on world leaders to keep their promise to children