The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child turns 30!

Wednesday 12 February 2020

In fundamental recognition of children as rights holders, on November 20, 1989 the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child UNCRC came into force! 

Human rights are basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world, and the UNCRC is a human rights treaty which outlines the rights that all children should enjoy around the world. The UNCRC is an instrument which recognises that children have not only basic rights but also additional special rights due to the increased vulnerabilities they face due to their age. The UNCRC sets the minimum standards and overarching principles by which every society should treat every child, and has played a critical role in catalysing progress for children over the last 30 years. We can be proud of the fact that the UNCRC remains the world’s most ratified international human rights instrument. 

Since 1990:

  • The number of children dying before their fifth birthday from preventable causes has halved.
  • There are 42% fewer children out of primary school than in 2000.
  • The number of children who are stunted as a result of malnutrition has fallen by more than a third. 

This notwithstanding, there is still a long way to go to ensure every last child can reach their full potential. We are currently witnessing a global erosion of the rule of law and human rights – including the individual human rights of children, and girls in particular, by both State and non-State actors. Today,

  • 1.7 billion children are affected by violence each year
  • More than 420 million children – nearly one fifth of children worldwide - are living in conflict zones; a rise of nearly 30 million from 2016.
  • 5.9 million children still die of preventable causes, like pneumonia, each year.
  • 317 million children – 1 in 4 primary aged children – are not learning to read or write, despite being in school
  • Four girls under the age of 15 get married every minute
  • Over 700 million children[1] live under regimes that systematically deny citizens basic civil and political rights