18th Anniversary of UN Children's Rights Convention; Child Rights Agency Calls for More to be Done

    TORONTO, Nov. 20 /CNW/ - "The prevalence of war, natural disasters, and
political instability all lead to a denial of children's rights. Millions of
children are going through their entire childhood and becoming adults without
ever having gone to school. National policies that defend child rights are
more important than ever. We all need to ask what more can be done in every
society to formalize child rights?" asks David Morley, President and CEO of
Save the Children Canada.
    Eighteen years ago today, 193 countries committed to enforce children's
rights, and yet today some countries are better to live in as a child than
others. The UN Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) was intended to
help secure a broad range of rights for all children. Still millions of
children are being denied their rights - to go to school, to health, to be
protected from physical and sexual violence, to special protection as a
refugee, to defense if charged with breaking the law, to be heard.
    For example, the right to receive an education is still denied to
72 million children. The greatest inequity lies in countries affected by armed
conflict, such as Congo, Sudan, and Cote d'Ivoire, where as many as one out of
every two children do not go to school. But Save the Children has raised a new
global awareness for education rights in conflict-prone regions. Since 2006,
the charity's Rewrite the Future campaign has helped 3.4 million children in
more than 20 countries benefit from a better education.
    In Canada, despite a government resolution in 1989 to eliminate child
poverty by the year 2000, and eighteen years of growing prosperity, the annual
rate of children living below the poverty line has not been reduced. Without a
national anti-poverty strategy to help these 1,200,000 Canadian children,
their rights will continue to be denied.
    Save the Children is working to ensure that child rights form the basis
of many countries' development goals. And progress is being made. Malawi,
Tanzania and Bangladesh have seen a dramatic decline in under-5 mortality
rates because they have made healthcare for children a national priority.
Kenya's Children's Act has ensured that children are protected from
exploitation and abuse through the creation of networks of children's clubs.
On every continent, children were empowered to document the extent of violence
in their everyday lives, through the four-year, global UN Study on Violence
Against Children.
    There is much to be done in the next 18 years using the UN Convention as
our guide. National Child Day should be an annual reminder for us all to
revisit the definitions in the UNCRC wherever children are concerned.

    Notes to Editors:

    -   Country figures of out of school children in this press release are
        from the Unesco Institute of Statistics. Save the Children will
        release a detailed report card of children-in-school figures for
        conflict-affected fragile states in December 2007.

    -   A condensed version of The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
        can be found at

    -   About Save the Children Canada

        Save the Children Canada is the world's largest child-rights
        organization, working for over 86 years to improve the quality of
        children's lives through the realization of their rights. We deliver
        immediate and lasting improvements to children's lives worldwide.
        Save the Children Canada is a member of the International Save the
        Children Alliance. With Save the Children Members organizations in 28
        countries and operating programs in over 120 countries, the Alliance
        is the world's largest global movement for children. For more
        information, visit www.savethechildren.ca.

For further information:

For further information: To schedule interviews please contact: Sue
Rooks, Communications Coordinator, Save the Children Canada, 4141 Yonge St.,
Suite 300, Toronto, ON, Tel: (416) 221-5501, ext 305, or (mobile) (647)
273-7134, Email: srooks@savethechildren.ca

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