20 Years - The Convention on the Rights of the Child


David L. Parker

David L. Parker has photographed working children, labour conditions and public health problems around the world since 1992. Here he uncovers the hazards they face in South Asia, from leather tanning to mining and quarry work, and calls for a greater commitment to provide for children's basic needs.

Tess Ulrich

United Internet AG’s Tess Ulrich shows how a leading Internet Service Provider draws on its universal medium to champion the rights of children and generate long-term social improvements in medical care, nutrition and educational development.

Dr. Ernest C. Madu

Dr. Ernest C. Madu, an internationally respected authority on sustainable health systems in low-resource environments, underscores the problems in health faced by children in developing countries. In order to improve their situation and increase their educational opportunities, he recommends shifting the focus to empowering parents economically.

Anke Jahn

Deutsche Post DHL’s Anke Jahn examines corporate social responsibility, educational methods for successful healthcare improvements and, finally, shows how the Convention has played a major role in the company’s various initiatives.

Kumar Sangakarra

Captain of Sri Lanka's national cricket team, Kumar Sangakkara is an ambassador for THINKWISE, a joint initiative between the International Cricket Council and UNAIDS, as well as a patron of the Foundation for Goodness. He conveys the restorative nature of team sports and proposes further investment in athletics to enhance social development.

Jaap E. Doek

Jaap E. Doek served as chairperson of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and is a deputy justice on the Amsterdam Court of Appeals. He proposes extensive child participation in monitoring and reporting systems to realize implementation of the Convention.

Kondwani Joe Banda

Kondwani Joe Banda is a 17-year-old UNICEF Child Ambassador from Lusaka, Zambia. Here he demonstrates how important the combination of education and recreation is in a child’s development and advocates for countries to promote child participation as an essential feature of policymaking.

Viola M. Vaughn

Viola M. Vaughn, founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Health Education and Prevention Strategies Alliance and 10,000 Girls programme in Kaolack, Senegal, writes “for girls to thrive, their mothers must also be valued.” Here she explains the societal implications of a gender-imbalanced education system and how independent thinking can yield positive and sustainable communal benefits.

Ela Bhatt

Founder of the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), Ela Bhatt depicts the working-class realities in India of child labour and obstacles to education. She calls for a holistic approach to give children basic human rights by considering the child within the context of the family.

Luyando Mutale Katenda

Thirteen-year-old UNICEF Child Ambassador Luyando Mutale Katenda is from Lusaka, Zambia. He describes the lack of funding available for community schools and basic health services, as well as the harm done to children in the absence of justice.

Sister Rosemary

In 2007 Sister Rosemary was honoured as a CNN Hero for her work as Director of St. Monica Gulu Girls’ Relief in Uganda, which has taken in over 1,400 girls since 2002 and now houses a diverse group of refugees including former child soldiers, orphans, AIDS victims and young mothers. She explains how training in practical skills empowers the girls with self-reliance and self-worth.

Anees Jillani

Anees Jillani is a practising lawyer, a founding member of the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) and the author of several books on children’s rights, child labour and juvenile justice. He argues for increased legal measures to guarantee States incorporate the Convention into their domestic law, while also maintaining that cultural differences should be consider in the Convention's implementation.

Kerry Kennedy

Kerry Kennedy is a best-selling author and has led over 40 human rights delegations across the globe. In 1987 she established the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Justice and Human Rights. Experience has shown her that the work of one advocate towards realizing implementation of children’s rights is as important as that of large institutions.

Grace Mwenya

UNICEF Child Ambassador Grace Mwenya is from Lusaka, Zambia and is eleven years old. She is involved in HIV/AIDS programming at her school, where she has been a leader in the Anti-AIDS Club.  She highlights future goals in the protection of children, explains Zambian children face and looks at how, in her role as child ambassador, she can improve the lives of her fellow children.

Marc and Pau Gasol

Marc and Pau Gasol, originally from Catalunya, Spain, are professional basketball players in the NBA. Grateful for the skills and values playing sports has inspired in them, Marc and Pau urge adults to take responsibility and do their part in providing children with the right to play.

Johann Koss

Four-time Olympic gold medalist in speed skating, Johann Koss is the President and CEO of the internationally-recognized non-profit, Right To Play. He focuses on the role of sports as powerful agents of social change and supports that empowering children with the right to play provides them with critical life skills in addition to improving academic performance.

Iqbal Z. Quadir

Professor Iqbal Quadir is the founder and Director of the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A leading practitioner and intellectual exploring the development of bottom-up entrepreneurship in developing countries, Professor Quadir shares insights gained as the creator of Grameenhhone and early proponent of utilizing mobile technology to transform low-income countries.

Louis Michel

Louis Michel was the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid between 2004 and 2009. Drawing on his extensive public service, he highlights key initiatives the European Union has undertaken to ensure that children within - and outside - its borders have access to education and health.

Benita Ferrero-Waldner

Benita Ferrero-Waldner, European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, identifies policies the EU has undertaken to create safer communities for children, while also calling for increased action in the implementation and promotion of child rights.

Yanghee Lee

Yanghee Lee is the current Chairperson of the Committee on the Rights of the Child. She examines how the Convention, since its creation, has adapted itself to new threats facing children and underlines the importance of continued review and evaluation.

Javier Solana

Javier Solana is Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union and High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy. His essay explores how the EU can implement the ‘Guidelines for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Child’ adopted in 2007.

Jacques Barrot

Jacques Barrot is currently Vice President of the European Commission for Justice, Freedom and Security. He outlines the three strategies essential for achieving children's rights: an increased protection against violence, the integration of all children into societies and strong European Union leadership.


Om Prakash Gurjar

Om Prakash Gurjar, born into a family of bonded labourers, was liberated in 2002 and is now a student in the eleventh grade. His essay depicts the struggles of child labourers and demonstrates the important role youth have in advocating for their own rights.

Marjorie Scardino

Marjorie Scardino is the Chief Executive of Pearson, the international education and media business made up of Pearson Education, Penguin and the Financial Times Group. As the leader of a Fortune 500 company she identifies the responsibilities and opportunities private sector organizations have for supporting children’s development and rights.

Ishmael Beah

Ishmael Beah, bestselling author of A Long Way Gone, Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, describes how he came to understand the value of the Convention and explores the manifestation of several articles in both his life, and the lives of children throughout the world.

Awa Ndèye Ouedraogo

Awa Ndèye Ouedraogo is a former member and Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. While the Convention has enabled children to claim their own rights, she argues governments should build on its mandates to combat issues such as child-trafficking, which has thus far been unsuccessfully impeded.

Andres Velasco

Andres Velasco is one of the foremost development economists in the world. As Chile’s Finance Minister his macroeconomic policy during the global financial crisis has allowed the country to maintain its commitment to social programmes and education.

Hanna Polak

Hanna Polak is an academy-award nominated filmmaker whose documentary, The Children of Leningradsky, exposes the despair and dangers for children living on the street. Her essay focuses on the transformative power advocates and artists have in sharing the stories of children who do not have a voice.

Tan Sri Dato Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin

Tan Sri Dato Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education of Malaysia, uses his Government’s policies as a lens to examine the role of states in providing education and institutional protection to children.

Tim Shriver

Tim Shriver has served as the Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics since 1997. His essay highlights the importance of the Convention in protecting the rights of vulnerable groups, and articulates several of the challenges to the realization of children’s rights that are unique to children with intellectual disabilities.


Reverend Takeyasu Miyamoto

Reverend Miyamoto is the leader of Myochikai, a Japanese Buddhist organization, the president of the Arigatou Foundation, and the founder of the Global Network of Religions for Children.

Thomas Hammarberg

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.

Jacques Rogge

Jacque Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee advocates for the power of sport in transforming youth's lives and in creating healthy and vibrant communities.

Peter Woicke

Peter Woicke is the Chairman of Save the Children, the eminent non-profit whose leadership in the early 20th century initiated the child rights movement. Mr. Woicke makes the case for accountability and enforcement mechanisms in enabling the realization of the rights prescribed in the Convention.

Amihan Abueva

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.

Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro

Brazilian diplomat and legal scholar Paulo Sergio Pinheiro discusses the challenges facing youth in conflict with the law, and the importance of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in protecting children from institutional violence.

Professor dr Gordana Djurovic

Dr. Gordana Djurovic, Professor of Economics in Podgorica, shares how the Convention on the Rights of the Child's impacts the laws of the Convention's most recent member.



EU Logo