28 Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
20 November 2017
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world, and has become the most important tool for the guarantee, safeguarding, promotion, prevention, and defense of children and adolescents’ economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights. It is accompanied by and used in conjunction with other international instruments that constitute the international framework of protection.
Although it is addressed to the States, this instrument is a key tool for all players working with minors around the world, from different mandates, fields and levels of interventions.
Today, CRC is strengthened by documents interpreting its articles and developed in the General Comments, elaborated by the Committee on the Rights of the Child, as well as by the Committee’s recommendations addressed to the States, considering their compliance reports. These are analyzed in line with the views of the civil society, system agencies, Ombudsman ‘s offices and, more recently, by children and adolescents themselves.
The 28th Anniversary of the CRC adoption by the States Parties is an excellent opportunity to remember, consider, and renew commitments and to revise the challenges we must face.
DCI-International, through its work in Latin America and in the Caribbean, joins in this celebration and takes this opportunity to expose the following:
- The Latin American region played an important role in the accomplishment -in the run up to the adoption of CRC- 1988 and 1989, making advocacy efforts and a demonstration with more than 200 Latin American organizations achieving the inclusion, among others, of Article 6 on the right’s child on survival and development, and the enhancement of wording of Article 8 on Preservation of identity.
- Some of the Latin American and Caribbean States, among others, were among the 20 first member States to ratify the Convention, thus enabling its entry into force in 1989.
- During the first year of implementation, civil society’s participation mechanisms were strengthened. They developed together with democracy restoration processes in the region.
- The 90’s focused on compliance with the Convention’s regulations, involving a process of harmonization of countries’ domestic legislation, which developed the adoption, reform and creation -in many of the countries in the region – of childhood and adolescence codes, criminal justice law for juveniles, among others. However, efforts to envision a legal and political framework for the guarantee, respect, protection and fulfillment of child rights, was eclipsed and contradicted by a side process which was under way of being adopted by regional States. The Washington Consensus was promoting the establishment of a neoliberal model, causing social inequities, poverty rising, and an impaired quality of life of substantial numbers of persons in the region and, enrichment of a small part.
- In the following years, coordination mechanisms were created, such as the systems of integral protection. Childhood plans were developed in an irregular manner, along with policies lacking capacity, political will required, and investment needed to address the complexity and growing ways of violence against children and adolescents, organized crime, social exclusion, massive migration, and poverty. These phenomena are the result of structural causes, due to the prevailing models and to low response from social protection and public policies, among other factors.
- Today, in the 21st Century, we are witnessing the serious violations of human rights against minors, which are still taking place and represent an average of half the region’s population. In addition, significant events in the region have revealed the fragility of democracies and the vulnerability of populations to both man made actions and natural disasters.
- Data indicate that in Latin America, the poorest sectors have an average of 4 years of schooling. Sectors with higher incomes have an average of 10 years, which often is extended to 20 years.
- Between 2008 and 2015, unequal distribution of persons’ income decreased in Latin America thanks to countries’ prioritization of social development goals, but its rate of decrease slowed down between 2012 and 2015 and current levels remain very high for the attainment of sustainable development, alerted the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) …”. This puts at risk the fulfillment of Agenda 2030, therefore, greater efforts in addressing structural issues are required.
- In Latin America and the Caribbean lives 195 million children and adolescents, from which 69 million live in poverty. Only 5% of GDP is devoted to public investment in children. 2 out of 5 children do not have at least one of their rights guaranteed. A significant inequality and inequity gap is seen between urban and rural areas, and urban and fringe urban areas.
- The region reflects major challenges regarding problems such as sexual violence, exploitation and worst forms of child and adolescent labour, trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, children and adolescents in migration contexts, among others. Likewise, there have been increased heavy-handed policies to demonstrations, increase in punishments, and criminal law as a regulatory solution for social conflict.
- Dialogue between the States and the organized civil society has taken significant steps; however, civil society is not seen as a player of equal involvement in decision-making, but it remains as a consultation player.
- Even though there has been an increase in the level of participation from children and adolescents in their families, communities, schools, and institutions, perceptions and attitudes contrary to the spirit of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, expressed by the articles on participation and by its guiding principle centered in article 12. Children’s right to be heard, continue to prevail in the States and in society.
- We, Defence for Children International in Latin America and the Caribbean, reaffirm our commitment of renewing our efforts, constructing with political, economic and social players in the region to contribute to reverse adverse and structural situations that systematically violate human rights. In this line, we are focusing our work for the next years in four strategic pillars adopted by the International General Assembly of DCI International.
- Prevention and eradication of all forms of violence against children and adolescents.
- Children and adolescents in migration situation.
- Children and adolescents victims of post-conflicts.
- Adolescent social and penal conflict.
These pillars are mainstreamed by nature and diversity approach, according to the principles of the Convention (no discrimination, survival, and development; right to be heard and the best interests of the child.) They are also mainstreamed through the enforceability and overall protection approach.
Likewise, we align and will collaborate with other global, regional, national and local efforts that are being promoted, and which coincide with our objectives and our strategic priorities.
We invite to continue to use the Convention on the Rights of the Child as an essential and compulsory tool for working in favor of the human rights of children and adolescents.
To this end, we want to contribute with the first Reference Table about the Convention on the Rights of the Child (click here), which is part of a series of practical resources DCI International will provide for the work of all in the region and globally.
Please click here to acces the videos prepared by our Regional Desk DCI- Americas.