Half of children do not know about the Convention on the Rights of the Child

News and Press Release
Originally published


  • The NGO Educo reports that states are not fulfilling their obligation to inform about the text

  • The 30th anniversary of the Convention takes place on 20th November

18th November. Although the Convention on the Rights of the Child requires states to inform the population about the text, Educo reports that countries are not complying with this commitment. Evidence of this appears in the report “Small Voices Big Dreams”*, carried out by the NGO as a member of ChildFund alliance and in which 5500 children aged between 10 and 12 from 15 different countries have participated. According to the study, 49.8% of them do not know about the Convention.

These data are revealed a few days before the 30th anniversary of the ratification of the Convention, created on 20 November 1989.

“It is an unacceptable situation. Article 42 of the Convention demands that states actively promote children’s rights to the whole of society. However, half of children do not know about this text or what it is for. This figure is a clear sign that governments have not taken children rights seriously since the Convention was approved 30 years ago. There is no excuse that justifies this attitude. It is time for states to fulfil their obligations”, says Reinaldo Plasencia, Coordinator of Quality Programs for Latin America at Educo.

The report by Educo and ChildFund also reveals that there are more children that do not know about the Convention in impoverished countries than in countries with a better economic situation (61% compared to 33.7%). As Plasencia explains, “it is vital that children who live in places where there is a higher level of inequality know about the Convention, because inequality mainly affects children, and does so to a greater extent. If we want to achieve fairer and more equal societies, it is fundamental that we all know about children’s rights. And we must act now. Children, especially the most vulnerable ones, cannot wait another 30 years”.

Although children do not know about the Convention, they are aware that they have rights, as declared by 71% of the children interviewed. However, 4 out of 10 (39.2%) think that adults do not know about or respect their rights. “How can adults respect and defend children’s rights if they do not even know they exist? All of society must know about them if we don’t want the Convention to have been a wasted effort”, says the Coordinator of Quality Programs. The “Small Voices Big Dreams” study also shows that half (49.7%) of the children interviewed also say that adults do not listen to their opinions regarding issues that are important to them. In relation to this, Plasencia reminds us that “defending children’s rights begins with listening to them. They have a lot to say, lots of ideas to contribute. Which is why it is vital to promote their participation in the decisions that affect them, and create appropriate spaces for that to happen in. And that participation begins by showing them that they have the right to give their opinion and be listened to, as stated in the Convention”.

The Convention on the Rights of the Children is the most widely and rapidly ratified human rights treaty in history. Only two countries, the United States and Somalia, have not ratified this agreement. The Convention provides a common benchmark against which progress in meeting children human rights standards can be analysed and results compared. Having accepted compliance with the standards of the Convention, governments are obliged to harmonize their laws, policies and practices with the standards of the Convention; to make these standards a reality for children; and to refrain from taking any action that might impede or violate the enjoyment of these rights.

* Click here to access the full report Small Voices Big Dreams 2019 in Spanish, English and French:

About Small Voices Big Dreams 2019
“Small Voices Big Dreams” is an initiative carried out by all the members of ChildFund Alliance. Our aim is to raise children’s voices about the issues that affect them directly. This edition, in 2019, presents 5500 children’s opinions regarding violence against children. The participating children have very different living conditions, cultural traditions and geographic origins. Their countries are also very diverse: Mexico, Brazil, Honduras, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Canada, Spain, Sweden, Burkina Faso, Ghana, South Korea, India, Thailand, Vietnam and Nueva Zealand.

About Educo:
Educo is a global development and humanitarian action NGO with over 25 years’ experience working in 13 countries to defend children and their rights, and in particular the right to an equitable and quality education. We work with children and their communities to promote fair and equitable societies that guarantee their rights and wellbeing. We want to build a world in which we all fully enjoy our rights and lead a dignified life.

ChildFund Alliance
Founded in 2002, ChildFund Alliance is a global network of 11 development NGOs dedicated to children who support almost 13 million children and their families in more than 60 countries. It works to end exploitation and violence against children, and to overcome situations of poverty and the underlying conditions that prevent them from reaching their full potential. ChildFund Alliance collaborates with children and their communities to produce lasting change and facilitate significant child participation in the decisions that affect them.