A second revolution: 30 years of child rights, and the unfinished agenda
By Nigel Spence, Susanne Legena, Paul Ronalds and Claire Rogers In 1989, at a time of massive political and economic change, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was passed by the UN General Assembly and set in motion a quiet, far-reaching revolution for the world’s children.
The CRC has become the most widely ratified of any of the human rights treaties and, since its adoption, has spurred a raft of legislation designed to protect children, encouraged investment in services that children need to survive and develop, and allowed more children to have a say in shaping their future.
On most measures, the lives of children today are dramatically better than 30 years ago. Children are healthier, better nourished, more educated, and more protected in law than at any point in human history.
The mortality rate for children under the age of five has more than halved in the last 30 years. In 1989, 120 million children were missing out on a primary education; by 2017 this had fallen to less than 64 million.
The thirtieth anniversary of the CRC is a moment to celebrate progress but also a time to take stock of this first revolution in child rights.
These are extraordinary achievements, and a tribute to the many governments, businesses and civil society organisations that have taken action to improve conditions for children. Most of all, it is testament to the determination of parents, community leaders and children themselves who have sought to create a better life.
But for all the advances that have been made, too many children have been left behind.
An assessment of children’s rights today by a group of leading child-focused organisations finds that the promises of the Convention remain unfulfilled for millions of children in our region and around the world. A ‘second revolution’ is required to realise the rights of all children.
Failure on children’s rights …read more