IACHR Asks States to Prioritize Protecting the Rights of Children and Adolescents

June 10, 2024

Related links

Contact info

IACHR Press Office

[email protected]

Distribution List

Subscribe to our distribution list

Washington, D.C. – On the Day of Children and Adolescents in the Americas, June 9, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) called on States in the region to take action in favor of children and adolescents and to renew their commitment to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

According to data issued by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), there are currently about 200 million children and adolescents living in Latin America and the Caribbean. This significant figure highlights calls for measures to protect and enforce the rights of those children and adolescents.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was adopted on November 20, 1989, with the aim of enforcing and protecting the rights of children and adolescents all over the world. Since this instrument was adopted, it has been ratified by 196 countries, making it the world's most widely ratified international treaty.

The most important change introduced by the Convention on the Rights of the Child involved recognizing children and adolescents as subjects of rights. This new conception meant that children and adolescents were no longer considered objects of assistance and control, through tutelary interventions that ignored their rights.

The Convention's entry into force entailed the adoption of a substantially new legal concept of childhood and led several States in the Americas to change their legislation to adapt it to this instrument.

However, three and a half decades after the Convention was adopted, the IACHR notes that new challenges have emerged for the protection of the rights of children and adolescents, due to new trends like emerging digital technologies, climate change, and new migration flows. Challenges for the full enjoyment of the rights of the child include high poverty rates and educational problems made worse by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to data issued by UNICEF, there are at least 87 million children and adolescents who live in poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean. Of these, 16 million are children and adolescents who became poor as a consequence of the pandemic. According to the World Bank, closures of educational institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean amounted to 1.5 years of lost learning.

The Commission therefore calls on States to renew and strengthen their commitment to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in order to move further in the direction of the full exercise, enjoyment, and enforcement of the rights of children and adolescents in the Americas.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 131/24

3:50 PM