Realising children's rights –
Safeguarding the future

Children in Windhoek, Namibia

Background: Children represent hope for the future

Children and young people are the biggest popu­la­tion group by far in almost all de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. In some coun­tries up to 70 per cent of the popu­la­tion is younger than 25 years of age. These young people are a source of hope for the future for their coun­tries. It is they who will ultimately determine whether urgently needed social and political change can be realised. Yet the rights of millions of children are violated and abused in a multitude of ways. In particular, extreme pov­er­ty, armed conflicts, poor governance, inadequate schooling and serious diseases such as malaria or aids, reduce the opportunities they have in life. more

International human rights agreements to protect children and young people

In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 the UN stressed that children have a right to "special care and assistance". Basic children's rights are enshrined in the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – and are thus binding under in­ter­national law. In addition, children's and young people's rights have now been incorporated into numerous other in­ter­national agreements and declarations. Individual rights are enshrined for example in the In­ter­national Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), in the In­ter­national Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966), in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979) and in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006). more

Children's and young people's rights in German development policy

Human rights – and therefore the rights of children and young people as well – are the foundation on which the democratic, economic, social and cultural de­vel­op­ment of a coun­try is built. Respecting, protecting and fulfilling human rights is therefore the guiding principle of German de­vel­op­ment policy. Germany has ratified basic in­ter­national human rights treaties, including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and has thus given an undertaking to realise children's and young people's rights. At the end of the 1990s, the Federal Ministry for Economic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment (BMZ) was one of the first bilateral official donors in the world to address issues specifically concerning children and young people. more

Further information

Here is a selection of links to documents and websites with further information on children's rights and young people's rights. more

BMZ glossary

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