Africa: ‘Children Live in a World That Is Increasingly Hostile to Their Rights’

Children
Human right

World Children’s Day is observed annually on November 20th to remember the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1989. This Convention is the human rights treaty that has been ratified the most times in the history of the world. When they ratified this international legal framework, the world leaders accepted that every child had rights that could not be taken away from them. In addition, they guaranteed that governments would take measures to guarantee that those rights would be safeguarded and implemented.

“Unfortunately, the world is living in an environment that is becoming more unfriendly to their rights.

When it comes to children’s experiences affected by conflicts, this is nowhere more apparent than it is.

We estimate that over 400 million children are living in or escaping from war zones today. This equates to approximately one kid out of every five. A significant number of people are being harassed sexually, murdered, or wounded. They are seeing members of their family and friends pass away. Moreover, some are being recruited by military forces or other groups and employed by them. A significant number of them have been relocated on many occasions, putting children in danger of being separated from their families, missing out on crucial years of schooling, and having their connections to their communities weakened.

Between the years 2005 and 2022, the United Nations confirmed that there were more than 315,000 severe violations of children’s rights in regions that were experiencing violence. The fact that these are the only incidents verified indicates that the infractions are substantially more significant than reported here.

The rights of children are also in danger outside of areas that are experiencing violence.

It is distressing that this crisis is occurring at the same time as other issues that are violating the rights of children. Among them are the escalating levels of poverty and inequality, the emergence of public health crises, and, of course, the global climate catastrophe.

It is also important to note that climate change poses a grave danger to the health and well-being of children in this generation and future generations. More than one billion children presently reside in countries considered to be highly high-risk due to the effects of climate change. This indicates that as our globe continues to warm, half of the children might be subjected to harm that cannot be repaired. They might lose their lives due to heat waves or pneumonia brought on by air pollution, severe wasting due to drought that has caused local crops to dry up, or stronger storms that could destroy their homes or schools.

Since the Convention on the Rights of the Child was enacted 34 years ago, there has never been a period when the rights of children have been in more danger.

“And this is the reason why we need to take action. I encourage every one of us, from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and our partners in the community of child rights to governments, civil society groups, and the commercial sector, to become more powerful champions and advocates for the fulfillment and preservation of children’s rights. This entails advocating for the harmonization of national legal frameworks with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international norms and promoting the implementation of such requirements.

“It also means reaffirming children’s status as distinct, independent rights holders and ensuring accountability for violations of children’s rights wherever they occur,” the statement reads.

Today ought to be a day we celebrate the progress made in children’s rights worldwide; nevertheless, those rights are now being violated. Instead of allowing this to discourage us, we should become even more determined to see that every child receives the protections promised by the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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