This article has been published in Enabling Education 6
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Title: Mainstreaming Child Rights
Author: Khan, A
Publisher: EENET
Date: 2002


Andrea Khan

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on November 20 1989 (Resolution 44/25), and entered into force on September 2 1990. However the ongoing challenge is to ensure that the United Nations and Member States commit to real action that can, and will, be monitored, measured and implemented. The Child Rights Information Network (CRIN)’s partnership with key NGO groups aims to ensure effective dialogue and information sharing in order to achieve this goal. In this article Andrea Khan, the Coordinator of CRIN, discusses the need to mainstream child rights.

The UNCRC has been ratified more quickly and by more governments than any other human rights instrument. Only the United States of America and Somalia have not signed up to the Convention. Its 54 articles outline the protection and promotion of children’s development and participation in society. They combine human rights, civil and political rights and the child’s right to participate in decisions that affect them. Since the World Summit for Children in 1990, and the adoption of the UNCRC, more than 155 countries have developed National Programmes of Action. Progress has certainly been made, but there is also evidence of significant shortfalls. The end-decade review of the follow-up to the World Summit for Children revealed that actual achievements of targets were less than impressive.

Children are now higher than ever on public and political agendas.

Mainstreaming children’s rights into the activities and priorities of many other organisations will be a key part of this process. Child rights issues need to be brought out of the margins and into the mainstream. Ensuring that children’s rights are respected has become an even greater challenge since September 11th 2001 and its aftermath. The UN General Assembly Special Session on Children will be held in May 2002, and will produce a document entitled, ‘A World Fit for Children’. This must ensure that children enjoy their rights and live in an environment of global stability and peace.

CRIN’s objective is to support and promote the implementation of the CRC.

Within the work of the UNCRC, CRIN is guided by Articles 45(a) and (d), which clearly articulate the role that NGOs play in fostering the effective implementation of the Convention and encouraging international cooperation. CRIN’s on-going partnership with ‘the NGO Group’ for the CRC remains important in this regard. The NGO Group for the CRC publishes clear guidelines for how NGOs can monitor the situation at the national level in order to provide expert advice on the implementation of the Convention. By hosting the NGO Group’s information on our website, NGO Alternative Reports to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child are made public, and contact details of national child rights coalitions are made available. CRIN’s on-going programme for child rights includes: a website, directory of child rights organisations, CRIN Newsletter, email list service, and an enquiries and referral service.

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For more information, contact:
Child Rights Information Network (CRIN) c/o Save the Children, 17 Grove Lane, London SE5 8RD,
UK Phone +44 (0)20.7716.2240 Fax +44(0)20.7793.7628 Email
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Andrea’s article is adapted from CRIN Newsletter, Edition 15, ‘Mainstreaming Child Rights’. It is available in English, French and Spanish, and can be downloaded from the Internet at

Children in Armed Conflict and Child Trafficking

Action has recently been taken on these issues by the UN General Assembly. Two new protocols came into force early in 2002. See CRIN’s newsletter and web site for more details.