The Laws of Armed Conflicts: A Collection of Conventions, Resolutions, and Other Documents

By Dietrich Schindler; Jiri Toman | Go to book overview

No. 67
CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD

Adopted by resolution 44/25 of the United Nations General Assembly, 20 November 1989

I. CONVENTION (ARTICLES 38 AND 39, RELATING TO ARMED CONFLICTS)

II. OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD ON THE INVOLVEMENT OF CHILDREN IN ARMED CONFLICT

Adopted by resolution 54/263 of the United Nations General Assembly, 25 May 2000

INTRODUCTORY NOTE:

Convention: The physical and mental vulnerability and fragility of children require special protection and care. The necessity of this protection had already been expressed in the 1924 Geneva Declaration on the Rights of the Child, adopted by the League of Nations. In 1959, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the Declaration of the Rights of the Child (resolution 1386 (XIV) of 20 November 1959), containing ten principles aimed at the goal of assuring respect for the rights and liberties of children. In 1974, the Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict was adopted (Resolution 3318 (XXIX), 14 December 1974 (No. 35). On 21 December 1976, the United Nations General Assembly declared 1979 to be the International Year of the Child in commemoration of the Twentieth Anniversary of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, proclaimed by it on 20 November 1959 (resolution 1386 (XIV)). In the course of the preparations for this commemoration the Polish government proposed that a draft Convention on the rights of the child be drawn up. The first draft was presented to the Commission on Human Rights in 1978 and was followed by an amended version on 5 October 1979. The Commission on Human Rights continued examination of this issue from its 35th (1979) to 42nd (1986) sessions. An open-ended working group was created in 1979. The group met each year for one week preceding the sessions of the Commission on Human Rights to accelerate drafting of the new Convention.

The Convention was adopted on 20 November 1989 by General Assembly Resolution 44/25. It puts forth all the fundamental rights of the child, whether civil, political, economic, social or cultural. Article 38 and, in part, Article 39, make provision for children in situations of armed conflict. They are the only ones reproduced below.

Article 43 provides for the creation of a Committee on the rights of the child, consisting of ten experts, to follow the progress made by States Parties in fulfilling the obligations undertaken by virtue of the Convention.

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