This article refers to the increasing importance being given to the children, as human people, with equal rights. It relates how, in 1959, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the value and dignity of the child as a human person and the need to give children the necessary protection for their growth and development. It describes the approval, in November 1989, of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in the form of a legally binding agreement that the 171 ratifying States are obliged to fulfil. This constitutes one of the greatest achievements of the United Nations during its first fifty years.
In various conferences and world summits, it is made clear that respect for human rights is now considered the basis for peaceful coexistence, security and peace and an essential condition for development and economic and social progress. During the World Summit for Children, held in New York in October 1990, the 71 Heads of State or Government undertook to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and to formulate national action plans for children, fundamentally in the areas of health, nutrition and child education. Today's challenge is how to progress from massive ratification to massive implementation.