World Scouting celebrates 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
As the world’s largest educational youth movement, Scouts advocate for the respect, empowerment and protection of children and young people all over the globe. This is at the very core of Scouting values and philosophy!
Thirty years ago, in 1989, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and Scouts were there to celebrate. This year on Universal Children’s Day, 20 November 2019, the world celebrates its 30th anniversary.
But what is the convention? It’s a document with 54 articles that set out children’s rights. Currently, 196 countries have agreed to the UNCRC - that’s more countries than are members of the United Nations! Central to the UNCRC is the acknowledgment by these countries that every child and young person has basic fundamental rights.
There are four articles that are seen as a priority for all children. They are the “General Principles” of the UNCRC and they help to interpret all the other articles:
Non-Discrimination (Article 2)
Children are entitled to these rights regardless of race, skin colour, nationality, ethnic group, gender, language, religion, political belief, disability or economic status.
Best Interest of the Child (Article 3)
Whenever adults make decisions or do anything that affects children, they should always think about what is best for the child.
Right to Life, Survival and Development (Article 6)
Children have the right to live, and governments should make sure they have the chance to survive and develop healthily.
Right to be Heard (Article 12)
When important decisions are being made that affect children, they have the right to have their voices heard and to be taken seriously.
The UNCRC is the only international human rights treaty to give non-governmental organisations (NGOs), like the Scout Movement, a role in overseeing its implementation. All countries that signed up to the UNCRC are bound by international laws to ensure it is followed, and they are monitored by the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Apart from our policies and following the Scout Method, we offer training programmes, and have partnerships to support children’s rights. This is necessary for our continued work to empower children and young people as they develop their full potential, making the rights of the child a reality for all!
There’s still more work to do, and Scouts are part of the solution. You can find out more about how we are working towards the protection of all children and young people, inside and outside Scouting, here: www.scout.org/safefromharm