Foreign Policy Blogs

Convention on the Rights of the Child

“Human rights are inscribed in the hearts of people; they were there long before lawmakers drafted their first proclamation.” , Mary Robinson, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

I know anyone reading this blog has an interest in the welfare of our children and I know most of you understand their fundamental rights.  However I just want to give you some resources on laws, treaties and conventions effecting children's rights, especially a brief introduction on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.   

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is probably best explained in easy terms on Wikipedia, so I won't get all detailed about it.  The conceptual idea of creating a convention for children's rights emerged after the UN's “Year of the Child” in 1979.  Following ten years of discussion the Convention was finally adopted into international law on November 20, 1989 and then came into force on September 2, 1990.  Those dates' rights there illustrate in my opinion just how far behind on protecting our children we are and have always been.   

With the exception of the US and Somalia the UN party countries have signed and ratified the convention in whole or in part.   Therefore I am led to my first bit of discussion for my next blog, “Why hasn't the US signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child?”. So please read my next entry when I will discuss this further.  I promise I will try to be as objective as possible.  For now I will move on

Children aged 0-14 make up 27.4% (CIA Fact Book) of our world's population.  It may not seem like a large figure, however this is the number of the potential future leaders of our world and we must take there rights seriously.  A child who is a victim of war, abuse slavery, and so many other unspeakable crimes is loosing not only their youth, but their future.  Of course a child of 10 working in a diamond mine dramatically decreases his or her life span, as does the 14 year old girl sold into prostitution.  The average life expectancy I can find for a miner is 33-45 years, however the figures where not based on children alone, but miners on the whole.  According to one article on Cambodian sex workers “While the life expectancy for Cambodian woman is 56 girls in the sex trade are lucky to live half that long” (Canadian Encyclopedia Article).  The children, who do make it to adulthood, lead a life full of struggle and many continue the cycle of violence, turn to drugs, develop mental illnesses or sever health problems and dieses

There are various policy papers and laws around the world which focus on issues relevant to children's rights; however I won't go through them all, but leave you with some resources and links.

CRIN (Children's Rights Information Network)

A World Fit for Children – UN Special Session

US laws information on Children's Rights- Mega Law

Cornell University –Wex, a legal dictionary and encyclopedia

Children's Rights

United Nations Children's Rights Report

Human Rights Watch , Children's International Legal Standards , Gives direct link to all the relevant conventions, treaties, etc. that have issues relevant to children's Rights.

Council of Europe on Family Law and Children's Rights

Stanford Encyclopedia on Philosophy on Children's Rights

Universal Declaration of Human Rights



Cassandra Clifford

Cassandra Clifford is the Founder and Executive Director of Bridge to Freedom Foundation, which works to enhance and improve the services and opportunities available to survivors of modern slavery. She holds an M.A., International Relations from Dublin City University in Ireland, as well as a B.A., Marketing and A.S., Fashion Merchandise/Marketing from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Cassandra has previously worked in both the corporate and charity sector for various industries and causes, including; Child Trafficking, Learning Disabilities, Publishing, Marketing, Public Relations and Fashion. Currently Cassandra is conducting independent research on the use of rape as a weapon of war, as well as America’s Pimp Culture and its Impact on Modern Slavery. In addition to her many purists Cassandra is also working to develop a series of children’s books.

Cassandra currently resides in the Washington, D.C. metro area, where she also writes for the Examiner, as the DC Human Rights Examiner, and serves as an active leadership member of DC Stop Modern Slavery.

Areas of Focus:
Children's Rights; Human Rights; Conflict