The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is 25 years old this Thursday. What an amazing victory for all the child rights campaigners!
The Convention on the Rights of the Child was first of its kind in history; it enshrined a number of fundamental human rights for children, and set minimum standards for the protection of those rights. These rights education, protection from economic exploitation, and the rights of disabled children to special care, amongst others.
The Convention helped to galvanise progress which has meant
• About 90 million children, who would have died before their fifth birthday if mortality rates had stuck at 1990 levels, have instead survived.
• Primary school enrolment has increased, from 53% to 81%.
• Nearly 1.9 billion people have gained access to improved sanitation.
These are more than amazing numbers - they are millions of smiling faces.
So let's take the time to celebrate. But let's also recognise that, despite this amazing progress, we have much to do.
• Every year 6.6 million children die before their fifth birthday from preventable causes.
• There are 168 million child labourers (that's one in ten kids) and 73 million of them are under 11 years old.
• More than one in ten of girls are married before they turn 15.
• About 150 million girls and 73 million boys have experienced some form of sexual violence or exploitation.
So how can we fulfil the vision that world set out 25 years ago? In 2015, world leaders will agree a set of goals for a more equal and sustainable world. These discussions, called the "Post-2015" process, provide a vital opportunity to secure a future where child rights are truly universal in practice as well as in principle. As we have seen, when children are able to realize their rights, they can transform their communities. Children's futures depend on world leaders putting them at the centre of the new global goals; and world leaders' success in meeting those goals depends on their ability to empower children to reshape all of our futures.