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UN experts urge States to strengthen protection for children

GENEVA (20 November 2019) – A number of States on Wednesday declare to the world their commitment to improve protection of children’s rights in the face of daunting challenges including discrimination, violence, exploitation and poverty.

Speaking at a conference at the United Nations in Geneva in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Child Rights Convention, the States are among 51 States that responded to the Child Rights Committee’s invitation for them to renew their commitment to the Convention through new pledges.

“The Convention was the first treaty to recognize children as rights-holders, entitled to human rights that are universal and non-negotiable,” said Mr. Luis Pedernera, Chair of the Child Rights Committee. “Since its adoption 30 years ago, we have witnessed momentous improvements in the lives of children all around the world. We celebrate these achievements.”

States who are party to the Convention have the obligation to respect and protect the rights of all children living under their jurisdiction. Every State in the world, with the exception of the United States, has ratified the Convention, making it the most universally accepted human rights agreement in history. Each year, 20 November, the day the Convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989, is celebrated as World Children’s Day.

While the Convention has led to stronger respect for children’s rights, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet stressed that: “In a world grappling with the effects of climate change and a rapidly changing digital environment, millions of children are still left behind.”

“It is critical that States use this anniversary to strengthen their commitment to promote and protect children’s rights, in light of these challenges,” said Pedernera, speaking at a high-level event of the General Assembly in New York. He commended the 51 countries which made more than 200 pledges to implement the Convention, including protecting children from violence, ensuring that their views are respected, and educating the public on children’s rights.

“I hope these countries will demonstrate to all States the importance of reflecting on how they are making the Convention a reality for all children, everywhere,” he said. He also called on all States to ratify the Optional Protocols to the Convention and expressed hope for universal ratification.

All pledges made by States can be viewed on the webpage of the Child Rights Committee here.

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