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2001: Say Yes for Children campaign launched
The Global Movement for Children begins mobilizing every citizen of every nation to change the world with children. The Say Yes for Children Campaign builds on this momentum, with millions of children and adults around the world pledging their support for critical actions to improve children's lives.
The Summit for Children, with the World Declaration and Plan of Action, held 8-10 May 2002, was a meeting of the UN General Assembly dedicated to the children and adolescents of the world. Providing an opportunity to review progress in the lives of children in the decade since the 1990 World Conference on Children, it brought together government leaders and heads of state, NGOs, and representatives of major UN bodies, as well as children themselves, at the United Nations in New York.
One of the statements arising from the Conference was the World Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children. The adopted plan of action related to this Declaration committed participants to carefully timed targets for achieving improvements in the lives of children around the globe. The Global Movement for Children that resulted from the Conference is designed to be a platform for action that "will work to provide a united voice for all those throughout the world working to improve the lives of children." Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel (who wrote an important report in 1996 on children and armed conflict) were among those calling for a partnership between governments, civil society, and the private sector to form a global movement "committed to ending discrimination against children and adolescents." The aim of this partnership has the high ideals of changing the world for children in order to "ensure that every child, without exception, is assured the right to dignity, security and self-fulfillment."
The range of conventions and declarations outlined here reiterate the notion that children's rights are human rights, but that their vulnerability makes it necessary for many more general or seemingly unrelated international legal standards to make particular reference to the specific rights of the child or the context of childhood.
International Legal Standards: Defending Children's Rights
Declaration on the Rights of the Child (20 November 1959)
Declaration on Social and Legal Principles Relating to the Protection and Welfare of Children, with Special Reference to Foster Placement and Adoption Nationally and Internationally (3 December 1986)
Convention on the Rights of the Child (20 November 1989, effective September 1990)
United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of the Liberty (14 December 1990)
United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (The Riyadh Guidelines) (14 December 1990)
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (25 May 2000, effective 12 February 2002)
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (25 May 2000, effective 18 January 2002).
In the context of children's rights, the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child remains the most single ratified of all such UN conventions.
As recognized at the World Conference in Vienna, there have been many failures in the implementation of many human rights, the years following the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child have been marked by some significant advances on behalf of children. Many countries have used the convention as the basis to revise domestic legislation and improve protections for children, or have appointed special ombudspersons or envoys for children. As the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the body that monitors compliance of government parties to the convention, has evaluated country reports under the convention, it has developed new standards of protection and pressed governments for specific reforms. (Strand & Nowrojee 2001) The World Summit for Children demonstrates at least goodwill in the global community to achieve a better world for children, including protecting and promoting healthy religious and spiritual development, even if reality often falls far short of high ideals.