Making Children's Rights Widely Known
42 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2020 Last revised: 2 Apr 2020
Date Written: March 2, 2020
Since the advent of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the international community has witnessed significant progress on children’s rights in both law and practice. Yet as we reach the 30th anniversary of the CRC, children’s rights violations remain widespread. These abuses reinforce the fact that children’s rights — and human rights more generally — have yet to be fully embraced in all communities. A precursor to children’s rights being fully embraced and respected is to have them widely known and understood. This article asserts that a significant factor in the failure to achieve widespread acceptance of children’s rights is the insufficient attention given to implementation of Article 42 of the CRC and its obligation to make children’s rights “widely known.” Article 42 of the CRC is simultaneously one of the most important and most overlooked provisions of the treaty. Article 42 requires states to ensure that “the principles and provisions of the [CRC] are widely known, by appropriate and active means, to adults and children alike.” Despite the threshold nature of Article 42 — without knowledge that they have rights, individuals cannot seek to realize them — there has been surprisingly little meaningful work done to ensure that Article 42 is fully implemented.
This article seeks to invigorate a discourse on Article 42 of the CRC, its meaning, and best practices for securing its full implementation. It includes an analysis of the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child’s jurisprudence on Article 42. The article also discusses how Article 42’s mandate and the human rights education mandate found in CRC Article 29 and other treaties should be understood in relation to each other. Finally, the article maps the relevant stakeholders and their roles in the implementation of Article 42, with a view to building sustained support for law, policies, and programs that advance children’s rights and well-being.
Keywords: children's rights, human rights, Convention on the Rights of the Child, human rights education, training, dissemination, implementation, international law
JEL Classification: K00, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation