On November 20th, 1989 the UN General Assembly (Resolution 44/25) adopted both the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention was ratified by 196 UN Member States, making it the international treaty with the widest consensus. The Convention is an international treaty, therefore it is legally binding for all the countries that ratified it.
Today, we celebrate The Universal Children’s Day as the anniversary of this significant achievement for children’s rights. The Convention of the Rights of the Child established a minimum standard of civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights for children that all signatory countries are obliged to respect and ensure.
All children, from birth until the age of 18 are entitled to the set of rights recognized in the convention, regardless of ethnicity, religion or socio-economic status. The guiding principles that ruled the convention are non-discrimination (Article 2), the best interests of the child (Article 3), right to life, survival, and development (Article 6), and respect for the views of the child (Article 12).
Every child is born with the same inalienable rights. However, ensuring that these rights are fulfilled remains a difficult task to overcome. For instance, inequality poses a severe threat to children’s rights because it compromises their potential to fulfill their rights to fully develop and thrive.
Children account for more than a third of the world’s total population. In developing countries, the majority of the poor are children. Many of them die very early due to preventable and curable diseases. Among these, malnutrition, which leaves a permanent mark in a child’s ability to lead a fulfilled life. Many children are victims of violence. Others are orphaned due to AIDS or are exploited and sexually abused. They have no way to protect and exercise their basic human rights. Thousands of them are left without education, hungry and living in the streets. They are forced to work, often in exploitative and unhealthy conditions. They do not have access to health or sanitary services.
Equity For Children has centered its efforts on promoting equity to improve the lives of children living in poverty. Our organization observes the Universal Children’s Day as an important date to raise awareness of the inequities that affect many children’s lives worldwide. Our goal is to help build societies based on social justice and fair distribution of power and resources, where all children are protected from harm and discrimination.
You can download the convention on the Rights of the Child here.
“What rights do children have?”, poster from Voiced of Youth