30 years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

In 1989, the international community made a historic commitment to all children by adopting the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. Today, the Convention on the Rights of the Child celebrates its 30th anniversary.

The Convention is the most ratified in history (196 countries). It explicitly recognises children as rightful claimants for the first time. According to the Convention, childhood is separate from adulthood and lasts for up to 18 years; it is a protected period, in which children must be able to grow, learn, play, open up and develop in a dignified manner.

Children's rights are a key priority of the Belgian foreign policy on human rights. Those rights are also a priority of the Belgian development cooperation.

Within the United Nations, Belgium currently chairs the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) within the framework of the UN Security Council. The aim of this mandate is to combat violations of children's rights in conflict situations.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child has prompted countries all over the world to implement policy changes and bring legislation into line with the rights of the child - as well as to make the necessary investments in specific areas such as health care and education. Yet, implementing the Convention remains a constant focus of attention: millions of children have no or insufficient access to basic care, food, education and/or protection against violence. New challenges such as mass migration, digital technology and climate change are also emerging, with an impact on children's rights.

Belgium will continue its efforts to protect and promote children's rights in a changing world.