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THE UN CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD TURNS 18 - Impressive results achieved in realizing child rights in Viet Nam, yet disparities remain

Hanoi, 20 November 2007 – Today, the World celebrates the 18th birthday of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Adopted by the UN General Assembly on 20 November 1989, the Convention has become the most widely ratified human rights agreement in the world. Anyone who turns 18 this year is part of the first generation to go from birth to adulthood protected by the CRC.

Viet Nam was the first country in Asia and the second country in the world to ratify the CRC in 1990. Since its ratification of CRC, Government of Viet Nam has issued and amended a number of laws and policies to implement the CRC in Viet Nam.

Viet Nam has made impressive results in realizing children’s rights since its ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Infant and child mortality rates have declined substantially. Between 1990 and 2006, the under-five mortality rates fell from 58 to 27 per 1,000 live births. During the same period, the infant mortality rate decreased from 44 to 22 deaths per 1,000 live births. The country’s consistently high immunization coverage eradicated polio in 2000, and maternal and neonatal tetanus in 2005. Children in Viet Nam are also better educated now. Around 95 per cent of eligible children are enrolled in primary school and the Government is committed to expanding educational opportunities for children throughout the system.

However, the achievements are not enjoyed equally by all Vietnamese children. Those living in remote mountainous areas are most at risk of not having all their rights realized. “The country is on track to meet the MDGs in 2015, which is an achievement that only few countries in the world can attain. However, the MDGs are not likely to be reached for all children in all the 64 provinces of Viet Nam”, said Jesper Morch, UNICEF Representative in Viet Nam. “Across the MDGs, it is true that people in remote and mountainous areas are doing worse than those in the cities and in the lowland areas”, he continued.

Guided by the CRC, UNICEF has been supporting the Government of Viet Nam in realizing children’s rights over more than 30 years. On this milestone day in the CRC’s history, UNICEF would like to bring the attention to four areas that the organisation is looking forward to work together with the Government of Viet Nam and further the implementation of the CRC:

  • Raise the national age of childhood to 18. This will ensure the best possible standard of protection for all children under 18. This would render Viet Nam more consistent with the internationally accepted standard.
  • Stronger and meaningful participation of children.  Children’s voice should be included in decision making processes as well as in important planning processes –both on national level, but also in their schools, families and communes.
  • Improve the quality of data on children. A quality disaggregated database on children should be developed to help better address the emerging disparities in terms of gender, ethnic group and geographical areas
  • Strong leadership for children. Taking advantage of Viet Nam’s growing leadership role in the region and the world, Viet Nam could also lead the country to take centre stage as a country fit for children.

Click here to download the background information

For more information please contact:

  • Caroline den Dulk (Ms), UN Communications Office
    Tel: + 844 942 5706, Mobile: 84 91 4756592
  • Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong (Ms), UN Communications Office
    Tel: (84-4) 9425706-11, Ext. 401. Fax : (84-4) 9425705. E-mail :



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