20 Years - The Convention on the Rights of the Child

Take action

On 28 May, (foreground) displaced girls attend school in a village in Mardan District in North-West Frontier Province (NWFP).

As the world celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, you may be wondering what you can do to change the Convention from words on paper into real actions for children. No matter who you are – a politician, a parent, a child, a neighbour, a teacher, a journalist, or an employee of a non-governmental organization or a huge corporation, there is something you can do.


  • Ratify all relevant human rights conventions that protect children’s rights. Pass and enforce laws in line with these international norms and standards, and effectively enforce and implement these laws. End impunity for crimes against children.
  • Review existing legislation to determine whether its provisions are consistent with the CRC.

Families and communities

  • Read the CRC. Know and understand its principles and how it can be applied to protect children and childhoods.
  • Hold your government accountable. Find out how your local, national and international leaders are protecting child rights in your community. Make sure that responses to the specific needs of children are an essential part of all programmes and budgets.

Schools and teachers

  • Teach children about their rights. People who know their rights are better able to claim them. When you guide children toward understanding their rights, it's important that you help build and maintain respect for their parents.
  • Provide a broad, relevant and inclusive curriculum. Promote a curriculum that aspires to equip children with numeracy and literacy, as well as knowledge in science, the humanities, sport and the arts. Provide opportunities for play consistent with the right to optimal development.


  • Investigate whether governments are complying with the CRC obligations to which they are legally bound.
  • Put the missing face of children affected by AIDS at the centre of the HIV/AIDS agenda and make sure that the voices of children and young people are heard on the issues that affect them.

Development/humanitarian organizations

  • Scale up programmes. Campaign for better access to medicine, counselling and other support for people living with HIV, including children and their parents. Improve early diagnosis of infants exposed to HIV and treatment of children who are infected.
  • Support court action or other initiatives by people affected by HIV and AIDS, including orphans and other vulnerable children, to demand their rights.

Private sector

  • Develop socially responsible policies and programmes for your workers, their children and communities, and institute broader corporate social responsibility programmes, as well.
  • Declare your shopping mall, gallery, theatre group, restaurant, gym or other business to be a child-friendly space. Allow children’s NGOs and youth groups to use these spaces to express and illustrate 20 years of child rights.

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