The Convention is based on a profound idea: that children are not just objects who belong to their parents or small adults in training. Rather, they are human beings with their own rights. The Convention says childhood is separate from adulthood, and lasts until 18; it is a special, protected time, in which children must be allowed to grow, learn, play, develop and flourish with dignity. The CRC requires that all children – without discrimination in any form – benefit from social services and protection measures, grow up in safe, clean, supportive and caring environments and can have their voices heard and participate in their societies.
Viet Nam was the first country in Asia and the second country in the world to ratify the CRC in 1990. Over the past three decades, Viet Nam’s strong political commitment and leadership on child rights has led to improvements in the lives of millions of children in the country. More children are benefiting from a protective legal framework, more children are surviving at birth with access to quality health care, more children are learning knowledge and skills for the future starting from pre-school, and more children are benefited from social welfare policies.
Thirty years on, the rights set out in the CRC remain acutely relevant. Despite remarkable progress, in too many countries children and their childhood are under threat. The world is seeing more children exposed to conflict; separated from their parents; or challenged to do things differently by emerging areas such as the rise of digital technology, environmental change, urbanization, or migration.
The Convention calls for progressive realisation of children’s rights, and that means globally and here in Viet Nam, actions are needed to realize the Sustainable Development Goals for children, to enhance the protection of children from abuse, and to ensure threats to children’s rights are addressed effectively.
Looking to the future, addressing the challenge of human capital development must start with a focus on children – on investing in quality services that protect and give children the strongest health, nutrition, education and protection possible. Economists point to this investment as having the greatest rate of return for economic growth, for peace and development of societies in the future. We therefore must commit to urgent, concrete action to protect and promote the rights of every child in Viet Nam, now, and in future generations.
On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the CRC, celebration activities are being carried out in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City by the Government, UNICEF, development and corporate partners to review the progress, identify the challenges and renew commitment to fulfil all the rights for every child.
In Hanoi, celebration activities will take place in Hoan Kiem Lake during 16-17 November, including a celebration ceremony, a photo exhibition with the theme Lighting up the Smiles of Viet Nam, the inauguration of a child-friendly CRC library, and various entertainment activities engaging children and young people. Pedestrians will also have a chance to witness the iconic Pen Tower (Thap But) and The Huc bridge lighting up in blue symbolizing the hope and opportunities that every child should enjoy. A National Solution Summit will also be carried out in UNIS during the same time, where children from select provinces will discuss and develop solutions for the issues that they are facing.
In Ho Chi Minh City, the Landmark 81, Viet Nam’s tallest building, will be lit up with smiles to celebrate 30 years of the CRC. Children and their families are invited to join the celebrations, to inspire hope and opportunity for every child./.