|Children's Day -- November 20th
|Sponsored by the Greater Oklahoma City Chapter, UNA-USA HOME
|United Nations Association of the United States of America
Greater Oklahoma City Chapter
P.O. Box 60856
Oklahoma City, OK 73146-0856
November 20th is recognized around the world as "Children's Day."
It is the anniversary of the establishment of ...
The Convention on the
Rights of the Child
The Convention on the Rights of the Child has been approved by more
governments than any other human rights instrument in history. The
CRC is the world's best effort to address the human rights of children
and to set minimum standards for the protection of their rights.
As explained by the Child Rights Information Network, "The basic
premise of the Convention is that children are born with fundamental
freedoms and the inherent rights of all human beings."
Amnesty International notes that, "It is the only international treaty to
guarantee civil and political rights as well as economic, social, and
"The treaty," writes Dan Seymour of UNICEF, "has inspired changes in
laws to better protect children, altered the way international
organizations see their work for children, and supported an agenda to
better protect children in situations of armed conflict."
We, the members of the Greater OKC Chapter of the UN Association,
applaud this important treaty -- which is celebrated around the
world on Children's Day, November 20th.
You are invited to reflect on the rights and freedoms that are guaranteed to children by this
Under the terms of the CRC, each government which has ratified the treaty must make a periodic report
to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, an international monitoring group operating under the
United Nations. The committee also observes the implementation of two optional protocols to the
Convention -- one on the involvement of children in armed conflict and one on child prostitution, child
pornography, and the sale of children.
To be effective, the Convention relies on the principles of
transparency and accountability. In fact, the Committee on the
Rights of the Child has no power to force states to comply with
the treaty. It has no coercive powers at all. It has no authority
to punish people or raise taxes or levy fines. From the text of
the treaty, it is clear that States Parties to the Convention are
responsible for voluntary compliance with the provisions of the
Even so, the Committee's monitoring role is important. By
bringing to light the practices of national governments around
the world -- and by measuring the progress of the nations
according to the standards of the treaty -- the Committee can
give support to new reforms and initiatives to protect the rights
Additionally, it should be noted that the Convention describes a role for non-governmental organizations
in monitoring the implementation of the treaty. By involving civil society organizations in this way, the
Convention supports citizen actions to press for local efforts to protect children.
No public policy issue is more
important to Oklahomans than the
education of our children. The
Convention on the Rights of the Child
requires States Parties to "recognize
the right of the child to education"
and to "make primary education
compulsory and free to all."
<> The right to life, survival and development (Article 6);
<> The right of the child to be treated "without discrimination of any
kind, irrespective of the child's or his or her parent's or legal guardian's
race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national,
ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status."
<> The right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and
religion. (Article 14);
<> The right of the child "to rest and leisure, to engage in play and
recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to
participate freely in cultural life and the arts." (Article 31).
All together, the treaty contains more than 50 articles which serve to
protect the rights of children. Significantly, the treaty requires "States
Parties" to the treaty to take affirmative action to support children
through "appropriate measures to diminish infant and child mortalilty,"
through educational programs, and through other protections of
A measure of the treaty's success is the fact that, in the 20 years since
it came into force, no nation has seen fit to withdraw from the treaty.
Moreover, many governments have been motivated by the treaty to
enact legislation to protect the rights of children.
Recreational activities are important
to the development of all children.
Every Oklahoma school has a
playground. Every town and city has
parks so that children may run and
laugh and play safely. The
Convention on the Rights of the Child
recognizes a child's right "to rest
and leisure, to engage in play and
recreational activities appropriate to
the age of the child...."
In Oklahoma, we celebrate the diversity of cultures
that enrich our daily life. The Convention on the
Rights of the Child respects "the right of the
child to preserve his or her identity, including
nationality, name and family relations as recognized
by law without unlawful interference."
U.S. Dept. of Interior
By establishing a universal standard and an effective
monitoring method, the Convention on the Rights of the
Child is one more way that the United Nations helps to
defend the freedom and dignity of all people throughout
"States Parties shall respect the responsibilities,
rights and duties of parents...." (Article 5)
"...The child should be fully prepared to
live an individual life in society, and
brought up in the spirit of the ideals
proclaimed in the Charter of the United
Nations, and in particular in the spirit of
peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom,
equality and solidarity."
From the Preamble to the CRC:
More About the CRC
Who would say a child doesn't have a right to play? Well, it might surprise you,
but the answer seems to be, "The Oklahoma Legislature." In the 2009 legislative
session, our State Senate concurred with a House resolution opposing U.S.
ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.... [ Read More ]