A Brief Assessment of the 25-Year Effect of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

30 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2014 Last revised: 11 Jan 2018

See all articles by Lynne Marie Kohm

Lynne Marie Kohm

Regent University - School of Law

Date Written: March 12, 2014


Designed to protect the best interests of children, the primary instrument known for securing human rights for children internationally is the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), established in 1989. Upon this document, it seemed, rested the hope of children around the world for their provision, protection and participation. While the Convention has enjoyed a significant role globally and across particular continental regions, becoming the gold standard for the treatment of children in nations where there was previously a legal void for their protection, it's 25 years have not improved circumstances for children around the world, and particularly not for those in UN member States. Based on the previous piece, "Suffer the Children: How the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child Has Not Supported Children," 22 N.Y. Int’l. L. REV. 57 (Summer 2009), at:


this piece examines the effectiveness of the CRC where a lack of scholarly debate about the actual merits of the CRC has been troubling. Has it worked to protect them from basic harms perpetrated against them by adults, such as forced combat, or genital mutilation, or sexual prostitution? Has the CRC been a triumph for children or a victory for international convention law? These questions are challenging to answer. What evidence that does exist regarding children in signatory nations reveals that the CRC has not achieved the desired objective set out 25 years ago – to improve the lives of children around the world. Rather, child victims are increasing.

This report first provides a small window of insight regarding the continuation and growth of atrocities experienced by children in numbers large enough to demand attention: child sex trafficking, child slavery, child soldiering, child marriage, and female genital mutilation (FGM). These areas formed the basic core of atrocities which I focused on in a previous publication at:


yet at the 25th Anniversary of the CRC current facts and circumstances require now adding child sacrifice to that parade of horribles that march against children regularly within signatory nations. In discussing these issues, the second part of this report challenges not only whether the CRC has been a success for children, but why it has not protected them from such heinous atrocities. The third part of this report discusses what, if anything, can legitimately be done to improve the lives of children in signatory nations away from these atrocities by offering an interdisciplinary approach of legal, governmental, and social professionals toward more than simply CRC implementation, but actual child protection. Creating these connections can work to provide protection to children suffering under such conditions, with the goal of improving the protection of children in their everyday lives.

Keywords: Convention on the Rights of the Child, CRC, protection, child soldiering, child sex trafficking, child marriage, female genital mutilation, child sacrifice, child labor, child slavery

JEL Classification: K10, J10, K18, J11, J12, J17, J13, J15, J16, J18, J19, J29, J39, K11, K12, K13, K14, K19, K30, K33

Suggested Citation

Kohm, Lynne Marie, A Brief Assessment of the 25-Year Effect of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (March 12, 2014). 23 Cardozo Journal of International and Comparative Law (JICL) 323 (2015), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2382670 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2382670

Lynne Marie Kohm (Contact Author)

Regent University - School of Law ( email )

1000 Regent University Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23464
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.regent.edu/kohm

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