State of the World's Children


2013: Children with Disabilities

2012 : Children in an urban world

2011: Adolescence

Special: Child rights

2009: Maternal + newborn health

2008: Child survival

2007: Gender equality


Special: Child rights

Celebrating 20 years of children's rights

© UNICEF/2009

On 20 November 2009, the global community celebrates the 20th anniversary of the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the unique document that sets international standards for the care, treatment and protection of all individuals below age 18.

To mark this milestone, a special edition of The State of the World’s Children, UNICEF's flagship report, is dedicated to examining the CRC’s evolution, progress achieved, remaining challenges and needed actions to ensure that its promise becomes a reality for all children.

Like all powerful ideas, the CRC demands for deep and profound change in the way the world treats its children. Equally, it demands for great accountability by governments, agencies and members of society who all have a responsibility to uphold the principles espoused by the CRC.

Inspiring change in children’s lives

Over the past 20 years, the CRC has inspired changes in children's lives by giving special recognition to the status of children and childhood, and strengthening common understanding of human rights.

It has supported advances in child survival and development, strengthened the holistic concept of child protection, articulated participation as a fundamental right of children, and profoundly influenced the legislative framework for the care and protection of children.

Most importantly, it has inspired partnerships that span the government, media, religious leaders, non-governmental organisations, the private sector, advocates and individuals.

Fostering better childhoods

While great progress has been made on child rights in the past 20 years, much work remains to be done.

One of the key challenges faced by the CRC in the coming years is to reduce disparities among children from marginalised, remote and impoverished communities, and safeguard all children's rights in times of global shocks.

To make the vision of the CRC a reality for every child, it must become a guiding document for every human being and capture a sense of hope that the principles of the CRC will foster better childhoods.





Video: CRC, 2009 - Progress & Challenges



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Celebrating 20 years of children's rights


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