Thirty years ago, the world came together with a wish to build a world worthy of children. A world where every child has the opportunity to grow, learn, develop their abilities and talents, grow up in a family, and be safe and protected.
At a time when the world order was in turmoil, when the Berlin Wall was falling, when the Internet was born — the world came together to defend children and childhood.
On 20 November 1989, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, an international document that recognises the rights of children throughout the world. The Convention was signed by 196 states, thus becoming the most rapidly and widely accepted agreement in the history of human rights. The Government of the Republic of Croatia passed a special decision stating that further to the notification of succession from the former state, Croatia was to be regarded as a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child as of the date of its independence, 8 October 1991.
Before the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, there was no widespread acceptance of the fundamental connection between the wellbeing of children and the power of the societies in which they live. This is why the Convention was such an important milestone. The Convention is the first document in which the child is regarded as a subject in his or her own right, and not only a person who needs special protection. The Convention on the Rights of the Child is a legal act with the force of law, binding the parties to comply with its provisions; and it includes the right of supervision of its implementation in the states that have accepted and ratified it.
Children’s rights do not have an expiry date. They are universal and unending. Children are our future, but their future begins now. Each generation is an opportunity to build the foundations of a new, better world. An opportunity we must not miss. An opportunity to create a world worthy of the child.
The Children’s Rights Festival
UNICEF Croatia works to raise awareness of the rights of the child in everything we do and, from as early as 2009, through the Children’s Rights Festival, we have been addressing topics concerning children’s rights with children, young people, educators, and experts.
Thousands of children and young people from all over Croatia participate in the Children’s Rights Festival every year. It is a festival that celebrates and promotes creativity in film-making by children and young people, but also creations by adult filmmakers who promote the rights of children and the young.