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Mortality of children under five in families in the poorest wealth quintile, compared to the richest.
Statement by Mr. Robert Fuderich, UNICEF Representative in Uzbekistan on the 25th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
TASHKENT, 21 November 2014 - 25 years ago, on the 20th of November 1989, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Currently, 194 countries have ratified or adopted the CRC, making it the most accepted human rights convention in the world. As we have heard, Uzbekistan signed the CRC in 1992 shortly after independence and ratified it in 1994.
By ratifying the Convention, state parties are obligated to amend or create laws and policies that are fully compliant with the CRC. The Governments must ensure actions in light of the best interests of the child as articulated in the CRC and every five years, these governments are required to submit a monitoring report to the Committee on the CRC which meets in Geneva. The Committee then sends their assessments or observations back to the country some of these require further action.
The task, however, must be to engage not just governments, but all members of society. The standards and principles articulated in the Convention can only become a reality when they are respected and protected by everyone—within the family, in schools and in other institutions that provide services for children, in communities and at all levels of administration. It is also a task for each child up to 18 years old to become familiar with their rights and exercise these rights in a responsible manner.
There have been significant improvements in almost all areas of children’s lives around the globe. Key achievements include:
- Reducing the number of children under 5 who die each year by nearly 50 per cent, from 12 to 6 million;
- Reducing the number of people living in extreme poverty by approximately half, from 47 to 18 per cent;
- Increasing enrolment in early childhood education globally by more than 30 per cent;
- Reducing the number of children aged 5 to 17 involved in child labour by almost a third;
- Providing nearly 2 billion people with access to appropriate sanitation facilities.
There is much to celebrate as we mark the 25th anniversary of the CRC, but this historic milestone must also serve as an urgent reminder that there is still much to be done. Millions of children around the world still do not fully enjoy their rights, including children from poor families, children living in institutions, children with disabilities, children who are HIV-positive, children affected by war, children in contact and conflict with the law and others.
As we mark the 25th Anniversary of the Convention, we must not simply take account of the successes during these past two-and-a-half decades. We must critically analyse, courageously look forward and re-dedicate ourselves to those children whose rights are not being respected and protected…often the most marginalised, sometimes even invisible by not being counted but definitely the most vulnerable members of our societies.
Let all of us unite for children.
All rights for all children!