A resolution concerning the rights of the child was recently approved within the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly (GA). This resolution (text not yet public), an outcome of the session on “Promotion and protection of the rights of children” comes amid the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), commemorated on 20 November 2014. The Omnibus Resolution, adopted on 17 November 2014, renewed the mandate of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (SRSG-CAAC), with no major changes, for a period of three years.
Marking the 25th anniversary of the CRC, this year’s annual Third Committee Assembly meeting on the promotion and protection of the rights of children constituted a special occasion for Member States to reflect on gaps in implementation of the CRC, and additional measures to ensure that the rights of children are fully realized. The GA resolution lauds progress made since the adoption of the CRC, however, expressing concern that the situation of children in many parts of the world continues to be negatively affected by the persistence of poverty, discrimination and inequality, disease, and armed conflict. Special attention during the Third Committee session was paid to several new phenomena, including issues relating to children’s rights and communication technologies, migration and unaccompanied minors, and children deprived of liberty.
The GA welcomed the “Children, not soldiers” campaign initiated by the SRSG-CAAC with UNICEF and other UN partners, aimed at ending and preventing the recruitment and use of children by concerned armed forces by 2015. It further requested that the SRSG-CAAC report on progress of the campaign in her next report to the GA. In light of increasing attacks and threats of attacks against schools and hospitals, the GA also welcomed the publication of the guidance note on attacks on schools and hospitals produced by the SRSG-CAAC, UNICEF, WHO, and UNESCO. The resolution reiterates that it is the States’ responsibility to protect children affected by armed conflict and, in particular, to ensure that they receive timely, effective humanitarian assistance. It further calls upon the international community to hold perpetrators responsible for violations against children to be held accountable, inter alia, through the International Criminal Court.
Under item “Promotion and protection of the rights of children”, the UNGA decided in its resolution to focus on the theme “Right to education” at its seventieth session.