27th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: Experts urge universal implementation
On the 20 November 2016, to commemorate the 27th anniversary of the CRC, UN Child Rights experts urged Governments in all regions to spare no efforts to ensure its universal implementation.
Since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, much progress has been made in the protection of children's rights. This progress has been achieved in part because the Convention has become a truly global instrument guiding the enactment of legislation, the design and enforcement of public policies and the setup of institutions to secure the protection of children's rights. Moreover, the Convention has been reinforced by the adoption of three Optional Protocols, namely on the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and on a communications procedure.
"Despite this significant progress, important challenges compromise the universal realization of children's rights," the experts highlighted.
"It is high time to move from universal ratification to universal implementation and to give priority attention to children who have been left behind - especially those in vulnerable situations such as girls, children with disabilities, children living in poverty, children belonging to minorities and indigenous groups, and child victims of violence, conflict and crime," they added.
The principles and provisions of the Convention are as relevant as ever. They constitute a crucial reference for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda and for the safeguarding of children's rights in the face of humanitarian and financial crises and other pressing concerns, including the risks associated with the use of information and communication technologies and the impact of climate change and environmental deterioration.
"As we commemorate the 27th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, an unprecedented 65.3 million people around the world have been forced to abandon their homes. More than half of the refugee population are children, often pressed to flee their countries to escape unspeakable acts of violence, and embarking on a perilous journey of uncertainty and fear in the hope of finding a place of safety where life can be given a chance. These pressing protection concerns must be addressed with a deep sense of urgency and as a shared responsibility," the experts highlighted.
2016 also marks the 20th anniversary the UN Study on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children and the 10th anniversary of the UN Study on Violence against Children. These ground-breaking studies have shown how the Convention on the Rights of the Child can help shape an action-oriented policy agenda, ignite policy commitments, and support tangible implementation and monitoring efforts, while also mobilizing global advocacy and support to prevent and address serious violations of children's rights.
Building upon this important process, the United Nations is now embarking on the development of a third landmark initiative: an in-depth Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, called for by the General Assembly. Children deprived of liberty are amongst the most vulnerable, invisible and forgotten in societies around the globe. Held in closed institutions, psychiatric centres or adult prisons, often awaiting trial for long periods of time and enduring inhumane conditions, these children often lack genuine opportunities to access justice and challenge the legality of their detention, and to benefit from education and vocational training, necessary health services and long-lasting social reintegration.
"As the implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda moves forward, these children have been left behind. The global study provides a unique opportunity to promote the safeguarding of their rights and create opportunities for their fullest development. We welcome the designation of Manfred Nowak as the independent expert who will lead the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, and express our strong commitment to collaborate closely in the steps ahead. We call on Member States and all stakeholders to support this crucial process!"
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