The Convention on Children’s Rights : a still insufficient first step
- This Convention, ratified by most UN member countries, except the USA and Somalia, aims to ensure the protection of more than 8 million children in the world against common ailments they suffer: work forced child labour, sexual abuse, child soldiers, prostitution, trafficking, pornography.
- This text is important because it is a universal basic duties of all states for the protection of children. It will only be effective to the extent that it is effectively implemented and that adults are aware of their duty towards children.
- Ten years ago, 200,000 children under 14 years fought with weapons in hand, they are now nearly 300,000. 140 million children still do not have access to primary education (855 million of the world’s population is illiterate that is two thirds of women and one sixth of humanity) even though significant progress has been made. 180 million children are still malnourished, 3 million die each year from lack of clean water. More encouraging signs to report, the mortality of children under 5 years fell by half in 30 years, 8 children in the Third World in 10 attend primary school today.
- 2.2 billion inhabitants of the planet are children. Among them, 18,000 under the age of 5 die every day, but 61 million children don’t have access to school, 115 million exert dangerous work for their physical development, 300.000 child soldiers (28 million children living in poor countries do not attend school because of armed conflict), 11% of girls are married before the age of 15…
Education is the solution to change the world
If all the girls had access to secondary education, infant mortality rate could decrease by 41%, therefore 1.8 million children saved.
An additional year of education increases by 10% future earnings …. and reduces the mortality rate of 7 to 9%.
A child whose mother can read is 50% more likely to survive beyond their fifth year.
For us, field operator, this text must be complete by an obligation that the signing that the signatory States should apply this Convention.
We would add to the Convention of Children’s Rights :
- The age limit for access to work at 16 for children. It is now set to 14 years old.
- That the age limit for a child to carry weapons and wage war be increased from 14 to 18 years. And that those responsible for the enrolment of children may be criminally prosecuted.
- To find out more about Children’s Rights, see the Unicef website
and read “Les enfants soldats” by Alain Louyot – Editions Perrin, Collection Tempus