UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Unenforceable?

The 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has reasonable, important declarations protecting children. While the Convention has professed commitments from 190 UN Member States, protections and rights still are not upheld by all. Likely, cultural mores and barriers are a factor, but 25 years after adoption, there are a surprising number of egregious violations of children’s rights including, protection from violence, child labor, marriage of young girls, and education rights (mostly girls). Improvements have been gained, but pressure from the UN should have nearly eliminated violations after such time. Surprisingly, there seem to be no sanctions for not meeting commitments or not ratifying the Convention to begin with, shockingly, like the U.S. and Somalia.

Without ratification, the U.S. has fallen behind in children’s outcomes since the Convention. Further, there are concerns about the Trump administration’s handling of children’s rights relating to education, immigration (family rights), health and welfare, non-discrimination, and children with disabilities.

Perhaps the best defense in combating violations against children in the U.S. might be done through state and city directives buffered from Federal overreach. The New School’s Urban Matters is an example of a city and community collaboration program designed to promote children’s rights, and hopefully dampen the negative impact of Federal initiatives.


Glatter, M. R. (2017, January 26). American Academy Of Pediatrics: protect immigrant children after Trump immigration crackdown. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertglatter/2017/01/26/american-academy-of-pediatrics-protect-immigrant-children-after-trump-immigration-crackdown/#62a52f0d2313

Heymann, D. J. (n.d.). Children’s right to education: where does the world stand? Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-jody-heymann/childrens-right-to-educat_b_6101600.html

The New School (n.d.). Urban Matters. Retrieved from http://www.centernyc.org/urbanmatters/

Unicef (n.d.).  UN Convention on the rights of the child – in child friendly language. Retrieved from https://www.unicef.org/rightsite/files/uncrcchilldfriendlylanguage.pdf

Zocalo (2014, December 12).  Are American children better off today than they were in 1989? – Nexus.  Retrieved from http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2014/11/28/are-american-children-better-off-today-than-they-were-in-1989/ideas/nexus/

One comment

  1. I agree, the news these days in the United States expresses how the UN Convention’s Rights of Children have been neglected. This needs to be ratified with actions that demand members of the UN must demonstrate a greater commitment to the growth of the children in their countries because they are the future of the world. As cliched as that might sound, it is still a fact that demands to be acknowledged.

    Liked by 1 person

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