30 Years of Children’s Rights: Time to Act

ICJW representatives Judy Mintz and Lilian Bosboom attended a meeting on September 26 at UN Headquarters entitled “30 Years of Children’s Rights – Opportunities and Threats: Time to Act” as part of Summit Week at the UN General Assembly.

The 30th anniversary of the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child will be marked in November but, disappointingly, the far-reaching changes it offers to children have not been realized. In addition, the implementation of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) is also lacking in advancing its commitments to children. 

This high level meeting served as a “call to action”, discussing major red flags and the fact that even some previous gains have been reversed. Through this summit, many UN child-focused agencies (Child Fund, Save the Children, SOS Children’s Villages, UNICEF, World Vision and Plan International) hope to propose solutions to create accelerated action for the world’s youngest populations, in the fields of climate change, health coverage, ending violence against children, and investments in children’s rights.

Highlighted points included:

  • Children need education, health services, job opportunities
  • Children without parental care caused by migration or disabilities cannot be left behind
  • There must be an increased financial obligation towards education-especially for girls
  • The “small voices” of children must be heard
  • There must be a shift in power towards girls.  There must be “better spending” to ensure gender equality and inclusion
  • In some societies and cultures there must be a shift from “violent discipline” to more positive parenting and best practices
  • Child trafficking for sex, marriage and work is a worldwide issue
  • Voting is a powerful tool for young adults

It was noted that there is a need for more youth participation and acknowledgement of their voices. For one of the first times at the UN, there is a “new revolution” with the creation of a “new movement” based on climate change led by sixteen-year-old activist, Greta Thunberg from Sweden.  She has challenged world leaders with her passion to make a difference!

(l to r) Paloma Escudero, Director of Communications of UNICEF, with ICJW representatives Judy Mintz and Lilian Bosboom