Thursday marks the 25th anniversary of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The treaty outlines international standards for children’s rights in areas ranging from health to education to child labor and marriage laws. One hundred and ninety UN countries have ratified the treaty. Only three have not- Somalia, South Sudan and the United States.
In spite of the overwhelming support for the treaty, some of the numbers concerning the implementation of the standards outlined in the CRC are startling. According to the WORLD Policy Analysis Center’s online resource bank on the treaty, nearly a quarter of the countries that ratified the CRC still charge tuition fees for secondary education, and globally 69 million children are not enrolled in secondary school. Only 19 percent of the countries that ratified the CRC protect disabled children’s right to education. Just 49 percent of the nations that ratified the CRC prohibit child marriage with parental consent. Child labor is a practice that still affects 168 million children worldwide, and many countries do not legally protect children from working.
Where has the most progress been made in terms of protecting children’s rights, and what areas are most in need of improvement? How have obstacles to ensuring children’s rights changed in the last 25 years, and what are the most effective ways of protecting children’s rights today? We took the discussion to Twitter. Dr. Jody Heymann (@WPolicyForum), Dean of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, and founding director of the WORLD Policy Analysis Center, shared her insights, along with several of the center’s analysts. Read a transcript of the conversation below.