Twenty Five Years On, the Convention on Rights of Child Remains Critical to Improve the Lives of Millions of Children

On the 25th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, millions of children still need

BEIJING, Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — As the world celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF urges renewed commitment to make sure every child has their right to survival, development, protection and participation protected.

The first international treaty to articulate the entire complement of rights — economic, social, cultural, civil and political — relevant to children, the Convention is legally binding on all countries that have ratified it, and with its 194 State parties, it is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history.

The lives of millions of children have improved since 1990, when the Convention took global affect. Countries have incorporated the provisions of the Convention in their laws, constitutions, policies and budgets. Children are now widely viewed differently — as holders of their own rights to health care, adequate nutrition, education, participation, freedom from violence and exploitation, and the time and space to play.

Since China ratified the Convention in 1992, there has been a dramatic reduction in poverty, with 605 million people lifted out of poverty between 1990 and 2011 as defined by the World Bank $1.25 standard. Under-five mortality was reduced by 80% between 1991 and 2013. While primary school enrolment is at almost 100 per cent for both boys and girls.

Despite this remarkable progress, there are still millions of children who are missing out on their fundamental rights and access to basic services, especially those in poor, remote and ethnic minority areas. The number of people living in poverty remains high at 82 million in rural China. Poverty disproportionately affects children: roughly 10% of China’s child population lives in poverty, while 25% of children (approx. 70 million) live in one of China’s 828 designated poverty counties.

"As we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the results it has helped bring about for children, we must remember that by meeting our obligations under the Convention, we build the foundation of a strong as well as a just society," said Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF China Representative. "We must also continue our work for universal implementation of the Convention, making the right of the most disadvantaged, vulnerable and excluded children to health, education, protection and equal opportunity a central public priority."

China is making enormous progress for children — but for this progress to be sustained, it must reach every single child, especially the most vulnerable and the hardest to reach.

As part of its international obligation, China submitted its combined Third and Fourth State Party report on CRC implementation to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2010. In 2013, the Committee reviewed the report making a number of recommendations. These included:

  • To make sure there is better disaggregated data on children publically available and gathered through the official statistical system, as well as to include more international standards and indicators for surveys and data collection linked to children.
  • To focus on gender issues related especially to equality in access to health, education, as well as address negative social norms linked to girls.
  • To preserve the languages, cultures and traditions of ethnic minority children and strengthen their participation and local engagement.
  • To improve and address the legal status for migrant children and to address discrimination that impacts on their de facto lack of access to public education and health services.
  • To adopt a multidimensional set of criteria for accessing child poverty and that poverty be recognized as both a rural and urban phenomenon in China.
  • To seek to expand and build a community based welfare system that meets the needs of vulnerable children in their communities.

In China, an innovative social media campaign under the theme "Please listen to me" was launched today to mark the 25th anniversary of the Convention. The campaign aims to remind the public of the basic rights entitled to every child and inspire a nationwide discussion about the urgency of ensuring all children enjoy the same rights and achieve their full potential.

"I hope every parent can listen to children’s voice carefully," said Chen Kun, UNICEF Ambassador for China. "Their views should be well respected."

As part of the campaign, UNICEF also premiered the first children’s Chinese version of 
Imagine," a world well-known song originated by John Lennon. This year the song was dedicated to UNICEF in advocating for child rights around the world.

Learn more about the CRC@25 advocacy campaign:

Join the online discussion: "Please listen to me"


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit:

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