China marks 20th Anniversary of its ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Great Hall celebration marks key achievements and remaining challenges for China's children

20 November 2012
A colorful mural painted by young people was presented to Mr. Daniel Toole of UNICEF by Madame Liu Yan Dong and a group of children.
UNICEF/China/2012/Sun Peng
A colorful mural painted by young people was presented to Mr. Daniel Toole of UNICEF by Madame Liu Yan Dong and a group of children.

BEIJING, 20 November 2012 – China today celebrated the 20th anniversary of its ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the world's most widely ratified human rights treaty. The Great Hall of the People celebration was organized by the National Working Committee for Children and Women under the State Council (NWCCW), the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

Liu Yan Dong addresses the 20th anniversary of China's ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

CRC was adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by UN General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989. It entered into force on 2 September 1990. Today CRC has been ratified by 193 countries. China signed the Convention in 1990 and ratified it in 1992.

"During the 20 years since China ratified the CRC, the work for China's children has made historic achievements, and China has basically achieved the United Nations Millennium Development Goals as well as the goals of the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children." said State Councilor Madame Liu Yan Dong, Chair of NWCCW. Madame Liu Yan Dong said, "On behalf of the Government of China, I would like to express sincere thanks to UNICEF and all the other international organizations and friends who care for and support China's children."

"It would be hard to count the number of children's lives that have been changed, and how many futures have been brightened, during the course of China's 20 years of effort to implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child. " said Daniel Toole, Regional Director, UNICEF East Asia and the Pacific Regional Office, "Starting immediately with China's formulation of a National Plan of Action for Children in 1992, we witnessed how a concerted national effort, coordinated by the National Working Committee on Children and Women, could focus all sectors and all levels of government around tangible, measurable results for children."

Two decades ago China's under five mortality rate was nearly 60 per thousand live births. Today the rate is less than 15, a more than 75 per cent decrease in twenty years.

Following the 1986 law on compulsory education, China's leaders launched a national plan in 1993 to universalize compulsory education and eradicate illiteracy. Today China's primary education enrollment rate stands at 99.7 per cent.

Today many of the remaining child rights challenges have to do with one of the core principles of CRC: non-discrimination against any child. According to the CRC, all children should receive equal access to high quality care, support and essential services.

As a developing country which has about 300 million children, China's major unmet challenges include the sharply unbalanced sex ratio at birth of approximately 118 to 100 in favor of boys, 82 million children affected by migration, approximately 6 million children with disabilities, many of whom are still hidden away and unable to enjoy a full life.

"We hope you will continue to spread your important message that they all need and have the right to equal, high quality care and support." said Mr. Daniel Toole, "The final approach to the mountain top is always the steepest. When all of China's children enjoy the same rights and the same opportunities we will have reached the summit.'

At the celebration, a child representative spoke on behalf of all Chinese children to express the wish that every child in the world could grow up with peacefulness and happiness.

A colorful mural painted by young people was presented to Mr. Daniel Toole of UNICEF by Madame Liu Yan Dong and a group of children. The painting consisted of four panels, each representing a major category of child rights: the right to survival, to development, to protection and to participation.

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Communication Specialist
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