News 2009

Back "UN Child Rights treaty 20 years on: Implementation still not satisfactory" says Commissioner Hammarberg

Strasbourg, 16.11.2009 – "The 20th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child should be a moment of reflection: many children still suffer grave violations. Their concerns are seldom given top priority in politics" said Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in his latest {C}{C}Viewpoint published today.

"The Convention on the Rights of the Child has become one of the most well-known and broadly supported international human rights treaties. Yet, its actual implementation has been less effective than we anticipated, mainly because of the absence of a systematic, comprehensive approach to children's rights as a political priority."

Recommending concrete steps to governments in order to develop a systematic approach to fully empower children and give full effect to their rights, the Commissioner stresses that the economic crisis should not penalise children's interests. "In the wake of the current recession, there have already been budget cuts in several countries for education, health care and social benefits. Resource limitations cannot be seen as an excuse for ignoring obligations to protect child rights and for delaying the implementation of measures. The greater the difficulties, the more reason to act with a clear political will in order to address the problems in a systematic fashion."

Finally, the Commissioner recommends that the short- and long-term impact on children be analysed before the next budgets are approved. "In Europe we now already have a serious problem of child poverty - appallingly widespread in some countries. Here, a large number of children are disadvantaged from the very start. This has to be addressed."

Published fortnightly in English, French and Russian, Viewpoints can be used without prior consent, provided that the text is not modified and the original source is indicated in the following way: "Also available at the Commissioner's website at {C}{C}".