Media centre

News in brief

Press releases

Reporting guidelines

Contact the media team


UNICEF’s State of The World’s Children report commemorates 20 years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

 UNICEF’s State of The World’s Children report commemorates 20 years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
Ulaanbaatar, 20 November 2009 – A special edition issue of UNICEF's flagship The State of the World's Children report, tracking the impact of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the challenges that remain, was released today on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Convention’s adoption by the UN General Assembly.
“The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most ratified human rights treaty in human history,” said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman. “It has transformed the way children are viewed and treated throughout the world.”
The Convention has 193 ratifications, the process by which countries decide to be bound by the articles of an international treaty. It articulates a set of universal children’s rights, such as the right to an identity, a name and a nationality, the right to an education, and rights to the highest possible standards of health and protection from abuse and exploitation.
These rights are based on four core principles – non-discrimination; the best interest of the child as primary consideration in matters that affect them; rights to life, survival and development, and respect for the views of children.
The Convention also identifies the obligation of governments to do all they can to deliver these rights, and acknowledges the special role of parents in their children’s upbringing.
The State of the World’s Children report describes the timeless relevance of the Convention.
More than seventy countries have incorporated children’s codes into national legislation based on the Convention’s provisions, and awareness and advocacy on child protection issues have increased markedly since the Convention was opened for signature 20 years ago.
Considerable progress has been made through the past twenty years:
The annual number of deaths of children under five years of age has fallen from around 12.5 million in 1990 to an estimated 8.8 million in 2008, representing a 28 per cent decline in the rate of under five mortality;

Between 1990 and 2006, 1.6 billion people world-wide gained access to improved water sources;

Globally, around 84 per cent of primary-school-age children are in class today and the gender gap in primary school enrolment is narrowing;

Important steps have been taken to help protect children from serving as soldiers or trafficked into prostitution or domestic servitude; and

But children’s rights are still far from assured, according to UNICEF. 

 “It is unacceptable that children are still dying from preventable causes, like pneumonia, malaria, measles and malnutrition,” said Veneman. “Many of the world’s children will never see the inside of a school room, and millions lack protection against violence, abuse, exploitation, discrimination and neglect.” More than 160 events are taking place worldwide commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Convention. The special edition of The State of the World’s Children is part of UNICEF’s contribution to those commemorations, which also includes jointly hosting, with civil society and government partners, a global commemoration and panel discussion to be held at the United Nations Headquarters on the 20th of November.
“The big challenge of the next 20 years is to firmly position the best interests of children at the heart of all human activity,” said Veneman. “It is our collective responsibility to ensure every child’s rights to survival, development, protection and participation."
More on the CRC:



 Email this article

unite for children