To mark the 25th anniversary of this key text that is a reference worldwide, we asked international child advocates to analyze the progress made in their region, progress still to be made, and ways to achieve that progress. Their messages are consistent and in perfect harmony with the commitments we make at BICE: the urgency is today and also long-term actions! This is the future of our world for each and every one of us.
Review: The Convention on the Rights of the Child, what is it?
The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first legally binding international treaty on the rights of children. Consisting of 54 articles, it defines their human rights and addresses all aspects of child protection.
It was adopted unanimously by the United Nations at the General Assembly on 20 November 1989. That key date has since become the universal day for children’s rights.
The text is now ratified by almost every country in the world except for the United States and Somalia.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child is written in a positive spirit and is looking to the future because it requires ratifying States to create conditions that allow children to actively participate in the political and social life of their country.
Experts discuss the rights of children around the world
The deeply international identity of BICE has prompted us to ask experts from several regions of the world to give us their review on 25 years of child rights : discover the testimonies of
- Ghislain Patrick Lessene on Africa,
- Norberto Liwski on Latin America,
- Yanghee Lee on Asia,
- Maria Alekseyenko on Eastern Europe and Russia
- Pascale Boucaud on France and Western Europe.
Clear legal developments but poor implementation
The remarks of Nigel Cantwell, specialist on children’s rights, who has directly contributed to drafting the Convention on the Rights of the Child, is very clear and summarizes all the testimonies collected.
“The fact that the Convention gives the child the status of a subject of law has done much to advance attitudes towards children.”
However, he also notes that
an agreement solves nothing by its mere existence : it is an instrument, a tool that is useful only when it is used.
The challenge today lies precisely in the application of this key text : various experts interviewed emphasized in their own way how the rights of the child entered the concerns of States over the past 25 years, with indisputable legal developments … but in unison they regret that the application is still too often fragmentary.
Continuing mobilization for the rights of the child
BICE sharing these analyzes and reaches the same conclusion today. The realization of a world where every child would enjoy all rights is not a utopia. It depends entirely on the political will of States, on the mobilization of civil society, and on the commitment of all of us. It is by international and regional advocacy, further reflection on responses to new challenges, training in human rights and the rights of the child, and concrete action on the ground that BICE will continue to contribute to the urgent need to mobilize for children.