All children have the right to be protected from violence, exploitation and abuse. While some children are particularly vulnerable due to their gender, race or socio-economic status, higher levels of vulnerability are often associated with children with disabilities or those living in war zones, on the move or living in poverty. The focus on the prevention and response to violence, exploitation and abuse of the child cuts across all parts of social welfare, education, health and security sectors among government and civil society.
Recently, the world commemorated the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Since 1989, when the CRC was first adopted, much has changed, especially for children – and in another 30 years, things will continue to change in unforeseeable ways. Global trends, like technological advancements, environmental change, protracted conflict and mass migration are changing childhood rapidly. Today’s children face new threats to their rights, but also have new opportunities to realize their rights.
The 30th anniversary of the CRC provides an opportunity to advocate for the CRC, the realization of children’s rights and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030. Both are inextricably linked and critical to ensure that all children grow up in a safe and supportive environment.
Longitudinal studies show that children exposed to violence are more likely to be victims of violence later in life &/or become perpetrators. We must break the devastating cycle of violence – for children, the adults they become and society. Therefore, the development in every country is dependent on a comprehensive, well-coordinated and funded multidisciplinary national plan to prevent and address violence; the enactment and enforcement of legislation to ban all forms of violence and ensure the protection of children; and the consolidation of data and research to identify risks and children left behind. We have an essential opportunity to advocate for action and to provide additional impetus to this important priority for children and all.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the body of 18 Independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by its State parties. It also monitors implementation of two Optional Protocols to the Convention, on involvement of children in armed conflict and on sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. On 19 December 2011, the UN General Assembly approved a third Optional Protocol on a communications procedure, which will allow individual children to submit complaints regarding specific violations of their rights under the Convention and its first two optional protocols. The Protocol entered into force in April 2014.
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