The rights of the child fact sheet no. 10 (rev. 1)
This was the end of a process which had begun with the preparations for the 1979 International Year of the Child. That year, discussions started on a draft convention submitted by the Government of Poland. Children had been discussed before by the international community. Declarations on the rights of the child had been adopted by both the League of Nations (1924) and the United Nations (1959). Also, specific provisions concerning children had been incorporated in a number of human rights and humanitarian law treaties. Nevertheless, some States argued that there was a need for a comprehensive statement on children's rights which would be binding under international law. That view was influenced by reports of grave injustices suffered by children: high infant mortality, deficient health care, limited opportunities for basic education. There were also alarming accounts of children being abused and exploited as prostitutes or in harmful jobs, of children in prison or in other difficult circumstances, and of children as refugees and victims of armed conflict. The drafting of the Convention took place in a working group set up by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Government delegates formed the core of the drafting group, but representatives of United Nations bodies and specialized agencies, including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as a number of non-governmental organizations, took part in the deliberations. The original draft submitted by the Polish Government was extensively amended and expanded through the long discussions.
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