CRC@25: 2014 a year to celebrate child rights

In 2014 we mark the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on the 20th November 1989. The anniversary is a great opportunity to pay tribute to the remarkable impact the CRC has had on the lives of millions of children. The anniversary is also an important time to reflect on the challenges and gaps in the struggle to promote equal rights for children.

While the CRC is the most ratified human rights treaty in history, this does not necessarily mean the rights enshrined in the CRC are fully respected or implemented in all countries. Despite this, as a child rights advocate, I am convinced the CRC has made enormous changes in favour of children around the world. National legislation on child rights has been adopted in many countries and this anniversary is a milestone that should be celebrated.

We also need to celebrate that 193 countries have ratified the CRC and a large number of organizations have given their support and commitment to its implementation. As a World Vision staff member, I am very proud that our international board endorsed the principles and articles of the CRC and its Optional Protocols. World Vision believes the CRC provides an appropriate statement of the minimum standards related to the survival, development, protection, non-discrimination and participation of all children. It also upholds the standard of the best interest of the child.

The anniversary should also celebrate the recognition of children as right-holders, who are entitled to be listened to and actively participate in decision making processes on issues that affect their lives. In the last 25 years, we have observed how the right to participation enshrined in the CRC has brought significant changes to the role of children in the formulation of legislation and policy.

I have seen more and more children invited to join local, national and global political spaces where decision makers want to hear children’s opinions. Unfortunately, there are still some opposing voices about engaging children in decision making but fortunately children have carved out a space to have their voices heard and this will not be given up.

I would like to invite you to celebrate the CRC 25th anniversary during the entire year. This is not a one day, one off event; this is an ongoing process that requires the social commitment and action of everyone to make it happen. By celebrating this anniversary, we can achieve the vision of a society where all boys and girls can have all of their human rights respected and upheld. 

Discover World Vision's CRC@25 blog series.

About the author

Patricio Cuevas-Parra is Senior Policy Adviser, Child Participation, Global Advocacy & Justice for Children, World Vision International. Patricio leads and develops the cross organisational implementation of resources to carry out child participation initiatives at the local, national and international levels. He also leads broader efforts to ensure the development of policies, practices and programs in order to strengthen child participation in advocacy.