Lesson 1- History of UNCRC

History of UNCRC

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child often abbreviated as the CRC or UNCRC is a human rights treaty dedicated to children and was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989.

The idea that children should have rights goes much further back than 1989. Already in the beginning of 20th century some activist started to promote the idea that children should have rights.

In the aftermath of First World War, Eglantyne Jebb the founder of Save the Children wrote the draft of the declaration on the Rights of the Child and together with others she campaigned for the first International declaration on the Rights of the Child adopted by the League of Nations in 1924.

Eglntyne Jebb
 Eglantyne Jebb

The United Nation adopted an expanded version of the declaration 1959. None of these declaration was legally binding. During the International Year of the child 1979 Poland proposed, that it should be a convention for children. During the next 10 years countries around the world debated and negotiated, the text to what should become the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world. Every country in the world except one has ratified CRC.

*Ratify: sign or give formal consent to (a treaty, contract, or agreement), making it officially valid.

1924 Declaration was based on ideas of child welfare, rather than child rights, assuming that children require adult protection in order to ensure the exercise of their rights. Also in1959 UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child children continued to be seen as objects of international human rights law and not as subjects of rights. A charity approach responding to children’s ‘needs’ reinforces power imbalances, relies on sympathy and is not sustainable. CRC is an approach based on child ‘rights’ grounded in obligations and accountability, working with children, not just for them,

UNCRC is making it clear that, with respect to international human rights law, children are active subjects. They not only require certain forms of protection in addition to the entitlements of human rights law, they also require special forms of protection, because they are in a vulnerable position, both legally and developmentally. These entitlements include the right to have their opinion taken into consideration, when adults take decisions on their behalf, to express their views and to join or form associations that represent their own interests.

Declaration of the Rights of the Child 1924 click on the link


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