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Policy advocacy and partnerships for children's rights

Prominent essayists reflect on the impact of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

© UNICEF/AFGA2009-00945/Noorani
A young girl standing outside a bakery in Dah Afghanan, a poor neighbourhood in Kabul, Afghanistan.

By Elizabeth Dettori

NEW YORK, USA, 3 November 2009 – As part of its commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on 20 November, The State of the World’s Children, UNICEF’s annual flagship publication, is launching a new essay series called ‘Perspectives on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.’

The series’ coordinators have invited a broad range of contributors to give their perspectives on what the Convention means to them and the critical issues facing advocates of children’s rights in the 21st century.

Each essayist reflects on the impact the CRC has made in his or her life and work, and offers practical suggestions of ways to build on the treaty’s successes to address the challenges that remain.

The essays are a call to action for governments, international organizations, private businesses and individuals to work together in ensuring that the promise of the Convention becomes a reality for all children. The full series of ‘Perspectives’ will roll out, starting today, on UNICEF’s website on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, www.unicef.org/rightsite.

First instalments
The first essay in the series comes from the Republic of Montenegro, the Convention’s newest State signatory, which became a party to the treaty in November 2006. Gordana Djurovic, the country’s Minister of European Integration, writes about the progress achieved and the challenges faced in implementing the Convention in the newly independent state – underlining the attention given to promoting social inclusion of minority groups and internally displaced and refugee families.

In the second instalment, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, Commissioner and Rapporteur on Children for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, states the case for ending impunity for crimes of violence against children and for improving the quality of juvenile justice – drawing on his unique experience as the former Independent Expert of the UN Secretary-General for the Study on Violence against Children.

Next, Amihan Abueva, the Chairwoman of End Child Prostitution and Trafficking International – a leading organization in the fight against child exploitation – illuminates the Convention’s tangible impact on laws and advocacy efforts.

Then Peter Woicke, Chairman of Save the Children International, makes the case for accountability and enforcement mechanisms in enabling the realization of the rights prescribed in the Convention.

Coming soon
Other contributors to the series in the coming weeks will include:

  • Ela Bhatt, a pioneer advocate for the welfare of women and children, and founder of the Self-Employed Women’s Association in India, relays stories of the hardships facing women and children in India, and discusses the necessity of adaptive and accessible education and social policies.
  • Reverend Takeyasu Miyamoto, Chair of the Global Network of Religions for Children, discusses how faith can promote child rights.
  • Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights in the Council of Europe and former member of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, advocates firmly for greater child participation in the administration of the Convention.
  • Yanghee Lee shares her experiences as Chair of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the official monitoring body overseeing the advances and challenges that Member States face in implementing the Convention's principles.

A call to action
This distinguished group of contributors will be joined by many others in the coming months. The diverse nature of the contributors’ experience, expertise and environments will provide for a vibrant dialogue of ideas and innovations in advocacy, policy and practice. 

A selection of 10 essays from the series will also be featured in a special edition of The State of the World’s Children report celebrating the Convention, which will be launched by UNICEF on 19 November 2009.

‘Perspectives on the Convention on the Rights of the Child’ marks the accomplishments and advances the Convention has inspired for both child rights and social progress throughout the world. UNICEF extends its gratitude to all of the guest essayists for their contributions, insights and inspirations. The commentaries in the ‘Perspectives’ series represent the personal views of the authors; they do not necessarily reflect positions of UNICEF.



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