Eglantyne Jebb established the Save the Children Fund in England in 1919, in the aftermath of the First World War. Today's Save the Children organization often cites their founder with the saying: "All wars, disastrous or victorious, are waged against children." In the early years of the Fund, Eglantyne Jebb perceived a need for the welfare of children and young people that extended beyond the acute problems of wartime and postconflict situation. In 1923 Eglantyne Jebb wrote the Children's Charter. This was adopted by the United Nations' Declaration of the Rights of the Child in the 1950s. This in turn led to arguably one of the United Nations' most successful pieces of international legislation, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), ratified by the vast majority of the world's countries.
Those articles of direct relevance to the spiritual and religious development of young people are highlighted here.
PART I: Children's Rights
Article 1 defines a child as "every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier."
Article 2 presents states' responsibilities to "respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child's or his or her parent's or legal guardian's race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status."
Article 3 states that "In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration."
Article 4 presents states' responsibilities to "undertake all appropriate legislative, administrative, and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized in the present Convention. With regard to economic, social and cultural rights, States Parties shall undertake such measures to the maximum extent of their available resources and, where needed, within the framework of international cooperation."
Article 5 presents the responsibilities of states to "respect the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents or, where applicable, the members of the extended family or community as provided for by local custom, legal guardians or other persons legally responsible for the child, to provide, in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child."
Article 6 states that "Every child has the inherent right to life." It presents the responsibilities of States to ensure "the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child."
Article 7 outlines the need for the child's birth to be registered immediately: "the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents."
Article 8 presents the responsibilities of states to "undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality, name, and family relations as recognized by law without unlawful interference."
Article 9 presents the responsibilities of states to "ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child."
Article 10 deals with "applications by a child or his or her parents to enter or leave a State," especially "for the purpose of family reunification" and the need for states to deal with such applications "in a positive, humane and expeditious manner."
Article 11 outlines the responsibilities of states to take all measure "to combat the illicit transfer and non-return of children abroad."
Article 12 outlines the responsibilities of states to "assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child."
Article 13 states that "The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child's choice."