30 years of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

‘The protection of children must be at the heart of the work of the new European Commission’.

Those were the words of David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament, as he opened a special ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Since becoming law on 20 November 1989, the Convention has inspired the member states of the European Union to make vital changes to laws, policies and practices aimed at protecting and promoting children’s rights, whatever their nationality or residence status.

‘Reflect on the challenges ahead’

But while the event in Brussels was an opportunity to celebrate this work, there was also a clear acceptance that this was a chance for all those involved in promoting and ensuring children’s rights to take stock, discuss the rights of young people to live and thrive, and consider the challenges that new generations face in a global and digital world.

“The Convention helped ensure that children could never again be considered the property of their parents or any other authority,” Sassoli told an audience including HM Mathilde, Queen of Belgium. “It remains the most widely ratified treaty in the history of the world and has helped transform the lives of millions. However, at a time of globalisation and huge digital advances, it is unacceptable that more than six million children under the age of 15 die every year – the majority from preventable causes. If we do not act quickly, more than 55 million children under the age of five will die before 2030.

‘The EU must play its role’

“The European Union must play its role in defending children’s rights around the globe. It is inconceivable that more than 152 million children are deprived of their childhood and education because they are forced into work. This is not to mention those, who suffer even worse forms of exploitation, such as slavery, prostitution, or recruitment as child soldiers. We must all do all we can to end this abuse,” added the president.

Author: Simon Weedy

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