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30th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Convention on the Rights of the Child

20 November will be World Day on the Rights of the Child. This day was chosen because on 20 November 1989 the General Assembly of the United Nations approved the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which this year celebrates its thirtieth anniversary.

The Convention is the treaty on human rights with the highest number of ratifications: 196 states have acceded to it. These do not include the United States and Somalia.

Convention on the Rights of the Child: Why Do We Need It?

The preamble to the Convention explains the choice to dedicate a specific treaty on the rights of the child. The document aims to provide special protection and care and to protect the vulnerability of children by providing them with adequate legal protection, both before and after birth.

The Convention seeks to ensure that children’s human rights are respected. The principle of non-discrimination is laid down, according to which every child must enjoy the same rights, without exception on account of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political opinions, social status, origin or economic conditions. Furthermore, the Convention states that every child, from birth, must have the right to a name and a nationality and benefit from social security, so as to grow and develop in a healthy way.

It establishes the fundamental right to education, which at least at elementary level should be free and compulsory, but also to love and understanding. The need to always take children’s opinion and point of view into account when making decisions that affect them is also stressed.

The Convention also seeks to protect children from all forms of exploitation to which they may be subjected, including forms of child trafficking and child labour. Finally, the need to educate children in a spirit of understanding, tolerance, friendship between peoples, free from prejudice and discrimination is highlighted.

UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

To ensure respect for the rights enshrined in the Convention, a UN Committee on the Rights of the Child was also set up. The Committee has the task of examining the progress of the various States in implementing the obligations laid down in the Convention. The Committee is composed of 18 experts, distributed in a geographically equitable manner, who deal with examining the periodic reports that the various States are obliged to present every two years from the time of the signature of the Convention and, subsequently, every five years.

Every two years, the Committee shall submit a report with its observations to the General Assembly of the United Nations. The document presented has a purely political impact on the Member States, which are encouraged to promote respect for and protection of children’s rights in order to maintain public acceptance.

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