30 Years of the CRC: Progress and challenges
UNICEF representatives join their voices to highlight the progress and remaining challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean, marking 30 years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
The Convention on the Rights of the Child must be the main reference and inspiration for all government measures related to children. By ratifying the Convention, the States undertake to adopt “all legislative, administrative and other measures that are appropriate” to enforce the rights it contains.
During the last three decades, Latin America and the Caribbean, where 193 million children and adolescents live, has made significant progress in its economic and social development, which has had a positive impact on the well-being of the population and the increasing number of children who can exercise their rights.
However, in many countries, progress has been uneven and there are still a significant number of disadvantaged and excluded children who continue to encounter barriers to access to social services and protection.
Making the principles of children's rights a reality requires governments to take measures and leadership.
30 years after the Convention on the Rights of the Child, despite the regulatory and policy advances made, the main problem facing girls, boys and adolescents in Argentina is inequality. UNICEF works so that children achieve the effective exercise of their rights, regardless of where they are born and the socio-economic characteristics of the home where they grow up.
In Belize, we can end violence against children with sustained political commitment, holistic programmes, child-sensitive policies and partnerships including with communities coming together to work for change.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child has guided Bolivia in achieving important advances in health, education, nutrition and access to basic services for its childhood, childhood and adolescence, but important challenges remain in the prevention and care of violence against children and access to opportunities in equitable conditions. Violence against children and adolescents takes place in eight out of 10 Bolivian households.
In the last 30 years, Brazil has made massive progress in realizing the rights of children and adolescents. However, many girls and boys still die prematurely, do not learn enough in school and suffer violence and abuse.
Chile has placed the children first on its national agenda. The challenge is to have a Law that protects the exercise of all the rights established in the Convention, with a focus on prevention and working with families.
1 in 3 Colombians are children and adolescents. Let's redouble our efforts to maintain the achievements of these past 30 years and to eradicate all types of violence, poverty and inequality.
Although Costa Rica signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 30 years later, 34% of children and adolescents still live in poverty. All children and adolescents have the right to be part of the development train. It is urgent that no child is left behind.
In Cuba, only 18% of Cuban men participate significantly in the educational activities of their children during early childhood. UNICEF works to promote responsible parenthood from the beginning and for a lifetime.
In the coming years, we should be able to tell something wonderful about how UNICEF supported countries and territories throughout the Caribbean to create a safe environment in which children live without fear of violence.
In Ecuador, violence against children, including sexual abuse, represents a challenge for state institutions that need to work together to address this issue.
In El Salvador, violence leaves an indelible mark on the memory of our children and is one of the main obstacles to their development. Protecting them and helping them grow healthy and happy is our priority.
Guatemala and childhood have changed. We must do it too. We have the most valuable resource: the brain of Guatemalan children and adolescents. Together, we can “transform Guatemala into a single generation”, investing in three essential areas: early childhood development, opportunities for adolescence and youth, and the comprehensive protection of children against violence.
In the last 30 years, Guyana and Suriname have seen opportunities to celebrate, reflect and remember the need to fulfill the rights of each child. More needs to be done to prevent and respond to violence and ensure the schooling of children in the early years.
Children are the hope of a nation. UNICEF and the Government of Haiti work hand in hand to achieve the fundamental rights of children and ensure that they have a bright future.
Protecting children from violence is a priority in Honduras. A public health approach to reduce violence is proving to be very effective. Safe schools and the interruption of violence in communities is saving lives.
In Jamaica, 8 out of 10 children are violently punished in their homes. Sexual violence is rampant. There is a massive and urgent need to focus on how these forms of violence can be prevented and reduced.
In Mexico live 40 million children and adolescents. The problems that affect them are many: violence, malnutrition, low school achievement or health problems; many of them derived from poverty.
Nicaragua has significantly reduced infant mortality, access to primary education is almost universal and secondary education is 80 percent and has excellent child protection laws. However, there are still major challenges such as the quality of education, sexual abuse against girls and teenage pregnancy. Greater efforts are needed to ensure a safer environment for children to reach their full potential.
The fulfillment of children's rights is what ensures true sustainable development for a country. Therefore, Panama must invest more in childhood, in its health, education and protection.
In Paraguay live 2.5 million children and adolescents. Many are outside the education system, do not access quality health or suffer violence. Poverty, disability and belonging to an original group are exclusion factors.
Since Peru signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child, it has made significant progress, but challenges remain. 8 out of 10 children and adolescents have suffered violence at some time in their lives. This has to change.
The Dominican Republic has made significant progress in these 30 years. The most important challenge continues to be the protection of children and adolescents against all types of violence, with girls being especially affected.
In these 30 years, Uruguay has reduced child poverty by 26.8 percentage points. However, 48% of people in poverty are children and adolescents. Poverty continues to have a child's face.
In Venezuela, the current crisis puts at risk some achievements in the areas of health, nutrition, education and protection of children. Today, 3.2 million children need humanitarian assistance, their needs are immediate and growing.