The Convention on the Rights of the Child protects the right of all children, everywhere, to be free from discrimination, violence and neglect. It means that, for example:
children need to be treated with dignity and respect;
that they should be cared for, develop and be part of their communities;
that they have a right to an education, to express their own opinions and to participate in decisions that concern them;
and that they have the right to be protected against all violence and discrimination, wherever they live, regardless of their ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.
Children have human rights and they should be empowered to claim them. Thirty years ago, the Convention recognised children as their own beings entitled to non-negotiable rights. Nearly all Governments - to the exclusion of one - have pledged to respect, protect and promote those rights. This makes the Convention one of the most visionary and universally accepted human rights agreement in history.
This anniversary creates a momentum for the international community to step up its efforts to make children thrive, and to renew their commitment to protect and promote all their human rights. While notable progress has been achieved in the past three decades, significant challenges remain, in particular for girls, children with disabilities and children in disadvantaged and vulnerable situations.
Let’s realize the timeless vision of all human rights for all children: getting closer to ending child poverty and enhancing child survival; ending child marriages and increasing the number of children enrolled in schools; ending children’s social exclusion and fostering their equal access to essential services; no longer silencing children and instead letting them participate meaningfully in decisions that concern them.
Let all children thrive! Let us stand, alongside them, for their human rights!