Acknowledging that children often require special care and protection, and pushing for the world to recognize that children have human rights, in 1989 world leaders moved to draw up a special convention for people under the age of 18. The resulting Convention of the Rights of the Child spelled out the civil, cultural, political, social and economic rights for all children based on four core principles: nondiscrimination; devotion to children’s best interests; the right to life, survival and development; and respect for children’s views.

Last month, the international community celebrated the 20th anniversary of the convention with justifiable pride. It has become the most widely ratified international human rights treaty ever, signed by every country and ratified into law by all but two (the United States and Somalia). Since 1990, more than 70 nations have incorporated children’s codes into their legal system based on the convention’s provisions.

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