25 Years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

War Child celebrates along with other children’s organisations the 25th anniversary of the International Convention of the Rights of the Child. An important milestone to reflect on what happened and what remains to be done. Still, not every child can participate in the educational system, have a safe home or live in peace.
19 November 2014

25 Years ago the world have made an important promise to all its children. On the 20th of November the General Assembly of the United Nations has adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. From that day on, committed nations should do everything in their power to protect and guarantee children’s rights. The Convention on the Rights of the Child consists of 54 articles, subdivided in care, protection and information. Where the Convention handles about the educational rights, safe spaces to play and protection against war, War Child’s work is based on the International Convention. Our focus is on children in times of conflict or just afterwards.

Cause for celebration?
There have been good results in those 25 years. Child mortality under five years has almost halved and there is 30 percent less child labor than 25 years ago. At the same time, there is unfortunately little cause for celebration. The world is on fire. In Syria, South-Sudan, DR Congo and Iraq children are victims. Tens of millions of children are growing up in war or structural conflict situations, or have fled the violence and live as refugee in foreign countries. Since the beginning of the war in Syria 1.6 million children have fled, including Abdelfatah; a Syrian boy who resides with his family in Lebanon. He wants nothing more than go home, he declares, but without the shootings and bombing.

Article 39
One piece in the CRC is today more relevant than ever. Article 39 that is, which states that children living in war are entitled to special care. Necessities such as food and clean drinking water are naturally the first step, but that is not enough. Almost all children in conflict zones show strong changes in their emotions, behavior and thoughts. They are desperate and insecure. There is likely a lost generation growing up with children who can not build their future. Emergency help is a necessity and also psychosocial help is indispensable. Processing of trauma’s is often an overlooked component in humanitarian aid.

Psychosocial support
War Child provides psychosocial support for children who suffered in conflict zones or during war. Through sport and play activities and creative workshops war children process their negative experiences. It makes them resilient. It teaches them dealing with difficult situations and appalling conditions, in order that they can choose peace over violence. This transition can influence the future generation.

A brighter future
Unfortunately, psychosocial support is not provided for every child in need. There are still children who are not reached. Hence it is important to continue providing and expanding emergency assistance to children in conflict areas, so that they can process their traumatic experiences. Simultaneously, it is important that conflicts will be resolved and that nations and associated governments continue to promote children’s rights. Children may not be victims of violence, because it is of an urgent matter that their interests remain safeguarded.

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