Twenty-Five Years of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: Achievements and Challenges

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Abstract

The 25th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in November 2014 is an appropriate occasion for reviewing its record of achievements and challenges in protecting children’s rights world-wide. Clear accomplishments to build on are the comprehensive nature of the Convention and its capacity to accommodate the largely diverse contexts in which its provisions are to be realized. In addition, widespread and massive law reform is one of the most tangible achievements stimulated by the Convention. Finally, the existence and performance of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, charged with monitoring implementation of the Convention, has been assessed positively. Most recently this was rewarded with the entry into force of the third Optional Protocol to the Convention, which introduced communications procedures including individual and state complaints mechanisms. After having reviewed this record of selected achievements critically, four selected major challenges that still stand in the way of fuller realization of the Convention will be presented more briefly. The main reason for this difference in emphasis is that, on the whole, the achievements speak more significantly to issues concerning the progressive development of international law while the challenges are, on the whole, more of a practical nature. The latter are: the persistence of poverty and other root causes of many child rights problems; difficulties in permeating into the private – including domestic and corporate – sphere where a considerable number of child rights violations occurs but which is still hardly covered explicitly by international human rights law; and issues concerning the availability of data and resources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-303
Number of pages37
JournalNetherlands International Law Review
Volume61
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2015

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