The Rights of Children, the Rights of Nation

Development Theory and the Politics of Children's Rights

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC, U.N. General Assembly, 1989) is an international treaty adopted by the 159 Members of the United Nations General Assembly in 1989 and subsequently ratified by all but two U.N. member nations (the U.S.2 and Somalia). The CRC consists of a Preamble and 54 Articles stating the rights of “the child” and the responsibilities of “States Parties” in ensuring those rights. The Convention outlines social, economic, cultural, civil, and political rights assured via binding processes of implementing and monitoring by ratifying states. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (the CRC Committee) is central in orchestrating this process designed “to provide an international mechanism for monitoring progress on implementation” of the Convention “working with other Treaty Bodies, United Nations agencies, and other organizations to promote the Convention and the realization of the rights of the Child.” This CRC system is, moreover, the first human rights treaty that involves nongovernmental organizations with an official role in reporting on its implementation (www.crin.org). The CRC also advocates that children have a say in matters that affect them, but, as I will show, their perspectives enter into the dialogue mostly via alternative reports and research.