Washington, D.C. - On November 20, when the Convention on the Rights of the Child celebrates its 30th anniversary, the IACHR recalls that children still face enormous barriers to the enjoyment of their rights. In this regard, the Commission calls on the OAS member states to renew their commitment to children and adolescents through the implementation of effective national protection systems.
Thirty years ago, the international community came together to take a crucial step in the protection of children around the world, by negotiating and approving a broad regulatory framework that meant a paradigm shift in the matter. It is from the Convention that the States consolidated the recognition of children as holders of their own rights, universally guaranteed, and not as mere objects of protection. Today, the Convention on the Rights of the Child is the human rights treaty with the highest number of ratifications, as it has 196 States Parties, which underlines the universality of its scope.
Although the Commission recognizes the progress achieved during the three decades since the Convention came into force, it also expresses its concern about the deep gap between the rights established therein and the reality in which millions of children live in the region. According to UNICEF, in Latin America alone, 72 million children aged 0 to 14 still live in poverty, 1 in 5 have their physical growth affected by the lack of access to adequate nutrition and 12 million do not attend to school. In addition, almost 25,000 adolescents between 10 and 19 years old are victims of homicide each year in the region and half of those under 15 years of age are subjected to corporal punishment at home.
This scenario requires that the States renew and strengthen their commitment to protect children from any type of violation of their rights. In this regard, the Commission reiterates the need for States to implement national systems that effectively execute special and reinforced public protection policies aimed at guaranteeing the integral development of children, as well as allowing them to live a dignified life and free from all forms of violence.
“The protection of the rights of children requires a joint effort of all social actors, not only at this time of celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Convention, but permanently, with the States occupying a central place in guaranteeing these rights", said Commissioner Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño, President of the IACHR and Rapporteur on the Rights of the Child. "This renewed commitment, which must continue through the years, needs to hear the voice of children who have the right and are increasingly interested in participating in the decisions that affect them", she added.
The Commission notes that the United States of America is the only country that has not ratified the text of the Convention. In this regard, the IACHR takes this opportunity to urge the State to adopt measures to ratify the treaty for the benefit of more than 70 million children living in the United States.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.