Children's rights: a long-term task

16 November 2021

32 years after the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of a text guaranteeing the rights of the child, these rights are still not respected in the world. NGOs and associations, including Aide et Action, are mobilizing today to make the voice of children heard and to ensure that their rights become a priority, including in France. 

On 20 November 1989, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the first binding text to make children's rights a reality. Children under the age of 18 are full-fledged beings with fundamental social, economic, civil, cultural and political rights. Thirty-two years later, on the occasion of the International Day of the Rights of the Child (20 November), it is clear that, even if significant progress has been made, particularly in the area of child health, the rights of the child are still hardly applied in the world.  

A binding text and yet...

1 in 6 children now live in extreme poverty

12 million girls are married each year

258 million children are denied an education

These alarming figures, which are likely to get even worse because of the economic and social consequences of the VCT-19 pandemic, show that there is a huge gap between the legal framework that promotes children's rights in many countries and the reality, which is very different. Children's rights may be proclaimed universal, but they are far from being respected, even in developed countries like France. With 3 million children living below the poverty line and more than 100,000 children deprived of school, France also offers a rather worrying picture. The fact remains that today, there is an urgent need, because if   rNothing is done in national and international policies between now and 2030, More than 70 million children worldwide could die before their fifth birthday.

70 million children could die by 2030

But why is it that children's rights are still struggling to be implemented? First reason: the CRC may be a binding text, but the fact remains that not respecting it does not lead to any sanction. The Committee on the Rights of the Child, which is responsible for ensuring that it is properly applied, analyses the situation of children's rights in the countries that have ratified the CRC approximately every five years. But it isn the event of a violation of rights, the Committee has strictly no power of sanction and countries are not obliged to apply its recommendations. Even in France, a so-called human rights country, the Human Rights Defender, who In addition, the Court of Cassation "ensures that rights and freedoms are respected" (art. 71-1 of the Constitution), in particular those of children, and has the power to issue injunctions but not to impose sanctions. The second, and perhaps more worrying, reason is that children, despite the existing texts, are still very rarely considered as subjects of rights. 

Unaware of their rights

Poverty, disease, successive economic, political, migratory, environmental and health crises hit children hard and deprive them, as they do many adults, of access to their most basic rights. But unlike adults, children suffer more than they act. Their best interests are rarely taken into account. They are poorly informed of their rights, deprived of the means to defend and enforce them, effectively silenced and kept as objects. All over the world, they face a great deal of discrimination and are often not included in decision-making on issues that affect them. 

However, children's participation is a right that conditions all other rights and is the basis of the best interests of the child. Every child must be able to express himself or herself, to be informed of his or her rights, to have access to justice, to care, to be heard and to be consulted on all decisions that concern him or her. Only such participation allows the child to have a role, to no longer be an object of law but to become fully a subject of law. However, even today, in a country like France, children are very rarely consulted and even less involved in the development of public policies that directly concern them. 

Mobilizing and raising awareness on children's rights: the role of NGOs and Aide et Action

In view of these facts, many associations and NGOs, including Aide et Action, have made children's rights a priority in their field activities and advocacy. In the framework of our development projects, we ensure that children's rights are fully respected, starting with the participation of children. Aide et Action's projects are no longer proposed to children but are developed with them, they become actors of the project. For example, the setting up of school governments, where children elect representatives of their own age group so that they can voice their problems and find solutions, allows children to become aware of themselves and to be actors of change in their own social context. 

Beyond the framework of our field action, we believe it is essential to work towards a better effectiveness of children's rights in the world. This is why Aide et Action is involved in three working groups on children's rights: Agir Ensemble pour les Droits de l'Enfant ( AEDE)which works, among other things, on the drafting of the alternative report submitted to the Committees on the Rights of the Child at the the periodic review of France the Children's GroupA coordination of 18 NGOs convinced that constant attention to children's rights is the key to building a sustainable world and the From Convention to Action!This year's publication is entitled "A step closer to children's rights? An observatory monitoring governance and participation issues.  

Of course, it is a slow, painstaking, long-term process to bring our advocacy messages to the public authorities and to raise awareness of the importance of children's rights in national and international policies. But it is bearing fruit! The Children's Group, in collaboration with UNICEF France, has thus obtained this year that France makes children's rights a priority of its solidarity and development law. This is a great victory for the Children's Group, which has been working on this issue throughout 2021. And our mobilisation does not stop there. 2022 will be a year full of challenges and mobilisations for these three working groups, between the presidential elections, a real opportunity to raise the candidates' awareness of the importance of children's rights, and the hearing of France before the Committee on the Rights of the Child scheduled for May 2022.

On the same theme :

Related projects :

No Results Found

The posts you requested could not be found. Try changing your module settings or create some new posts.