Home EDUCATIONAL World Day of the Rights of the Child

World Day of the Rights of the Child

In 2019, throughout the planet, children’s rights continue to be violated! And the first right not to be respected is perhaps the most important: freedom. This is what emerges from the report that bears the signature of Professor Manfred Nowak, an independent expert to whom the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) with Resolution 72/245, commissioned a global study to analyze the situation of private children Of freedom …

On November 20, worldwide, the World Day of the Rights of the Child is celebrated. on November 20, 1989, after hard work lasting almost ten years (after the initial proposal of Poland), all the UN countries signed what is still today the UN convention signed by several countries: of the 196 countries that are part of the UN only one has not ratified it: the United States of America! To make this agreement special, the obligation for signatories to ratify or transform it into law. In Italy it took two years to do it.

2019 is a special year for children’s rights around the world: thirty years have passed since the signing of that document (followed by three in-depth studies on specific topics). The time has come to take stock of how the rights of minors are respected.


One of the peculiarities of the Convention on the Rights of the Child is its simplicity: the articles (the most important are certainly the first 42) that compose it are synthetic, almost concise [today it seems that we are no longer able to write such clear laws, NDR ]. But their meaning is very clear.

For example, the Art. 4 states that “States Parties undertake to adopt all legislative, administrative and other provisions necessary to implement the rights recognized by this Convention. Since they are economic, social and cultural rights, they adopt these measures within the limits of the resources they have, and, where appropriate, in the context of international cooperation “. In other words ALL the countries of the world MUST think first of all about the rights of children (the norms on the environment or the wars in progress and the walls on the border come back to mind, more and more numerous and then the billions of dollars spent every year for weapons and armaments to be used in “peace missions”.

“Art. 7 The child is registered immediately at the time of his birth and since then he has the right to a name, to acquire a citizenship and, as far as possible, to know his parents and to be raised by them. States Parties shall ensure that these rights are implemented in accordance with their national legislation and with the obligations imposed on them by the international instruments applicable in the matter, in particular in cases where this is not done, the child would find himself stateless ” .

To see what happens in the world it would seem that all this, for migrant children, should not apply. All over the world, migrant children are forced to live in inhuman conditions. Not only in third world countries but also in many “developed” and “civil” countries.

Only a few days ago, in a hearing at the EU Parliament, the Greek Minister for migration Mikalis Chrisochoidis launched a heartfelt appeal asking EU partner countries to help Greece take care of 4,000 children living in inhuman conditions in the reception centers on the islands of Lesvos, Samos, Kos and other islands of the northern Aegean. Mind you its was not an appeal addressed to the redistribution of migrants (subject to disputes and never-ending disputes). His was a cry for help ONLY for migrant children.

But his request for help remained unheard (only one country responded to his appeal). so much so that even the media have preferred not to talk about it.

In 2019, throughout the planet, children’s rights continue to be violated! And the first right not to be respected is perhaps the most important one is perhaps freedom. This is what emerges from the report that bears the signature of Professor Manfred Nowak, an independent expert to whom the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) with Resolution 72/245, commissioned a global study to analyze the situation of private children Of freedom. Four are the essential themes of his work: evaluating the extent of the phenomenon of children deprived of their liberty, including the number of children deprived of their liberty (disaggregated by age, gender and nationality), as well as the reasons invoked, the causes of root, type and duration of deprivation of liberty and places of detention; document the real situation and propose good practices; promote a change in stigmatizing attitudes and behavior towards children at risk of being or being deprived of liberty; and provide recommendations for the law, policy and practices to safeguard children’s rights.

The results of the painstaking and extremely difficult work (as he himself stated, it was often difficult even to obtain the data from the authorities they had been asked for) carried out by Nowak have recently been published and the numbers are shocking. Hundreds of thousands of children are detained, forced to live in inhumane conditions in adult facilities (in obvious violation of their human rights), are “at high risk of violence, rape and sexual violence, including acts of torture and cruel treatment or punishment , inhuman or degrading “. And a huge number of children are “held ever younger and held for longer periods of time” with frightening consequences both on “their physical and mental development and on their ability to lead a healthy and constructive life in society”. Their fault: very often only that of being migrants.

Hundreds of thousands of migrant children would have been locked up or deprived of liberty.

What happened to human rights champions? And what happened to the Convention on the Rights of the Child? And yet in Art. 22 of the Convention states: “States Parties shall take appropriate measures so that a child who seeks to obtain refugee status, or is considered a refugee under the rules and procedures of applicable international or national law, alone or accompanied by his father or from the mother or any other person, may benefit from the protection and humanitarian assistance necessary to enable him to enjoy the rights granted to him by this Convention and by the other international instruments relating to human rights or humanitarian in those States they are parts. To this end, the States Parties collaborate, in the ways deemed necessary, to all the efforts made by the United Nations Organization and other competent intergovernmental or non-governmental organizations that collaborate with the United Nations Organization, to protect and help children who find themselves in such a situation and to seek out the parents or other family members of each refugee child in order to obtain the information necessary to rejoin him with his family. If the father, mother or any other family member cannot be found, the child will be granted, according to the principles set forth in this Convention, the same protection as that of any other child permanently or temporarily deprived of his family environment for any reason “.

Art. 37, then, goes further: “States parties ensure that: a) no child is subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without the possibility of release must be decreed for crimes committed by persons under the age of eighteen; b) no child is deprived of liberty illegally or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child must be carried out in accordance with the law, constitute a provision of last resort and have the shortest duration possible … “.

In presenting the results of the study, a few hours ago, Nowak could not help admitting that there are hundreds of thousands of children in prison only because they are migrants. And many of them even in countries where one would not expect to find them: in the US alone there would be over 100 thousand children whose freedom was violated for the sole reason that they had sought a better country to live in. But the US is the only country in the world that has never turned the Convention on the Rights of the Child into law. And the others? There are few countries where governments have adopted ad hoc laws (in Italy, from 2017, law 47 is in force, which concerns precisely the Unaccompanied Foreign Minors).

The Greek minister’s appeals come to mind as he asks his colleagues for help for thousands of children currently crammed into overcrowded and uninhabitable reception centers. And the indifference of the audience in front of his prayers.

We need to be sure: tomorrow, November 20, all the central governments of these countries, the local administrations and hundreds and hundreds of associations will compete to celebrate the World Day of Rights (denied) of the Child …

C.Alessandro Mauceri

Chairman Minori Stranieri Non Accompagnati

Kiwanis Int. Distr. Italia S.Marino



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