IMG_431920 November marks the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Child, which rapidly became the most widely ratified international human rights treaty in history.

When around 28% of children live at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU, according to the EU Alliance for Investing in Children it is also a day to remind decision makers “to undertake all appropriate legislative, administrative, and other measures” for the implementation of children’s “economic, social and cultural rights to the maximum extent of their available resources”, as the UN Convention says.

Growing up in poverty can negatively affect children’s opportunities for the rest of their lives. In fact, poverty denies children their human rights. The economic, financial and social crisis has been leaving a severe impact on children and families, yet child poverty in Europe was already at unacceptable levels before the crisis hit.

The networks and organisations comprising the EU Alliance are committed to tackling and preventing child poverty and promoting children’s rights and well-being in Europe. We support a rights-based approach that puts the best interests of the child, equal opportunities and support for the most disadvantaged at the centre of efforts to combat child poverty and promote child well-being. Such an approach is described in the Recommendation Investing in Children – Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage put forward by the European Commission last year. It promotes a comprehensive strategy based on three interconnected pillars: access to adequate resources for children and their families, access to affordable, quality services and children’s participation. It recognises children as individual rights holders.

At our event in the framework of the Annual Convention of the European Platform against Poverty we encouraged all EU Member States to comply with the UNCRC and implement the Recommendation’s proposals of preventative measures aimed at breaking the cycle of disadvantage in a child’s early years.

With appropriate support, the current generation of children who are growing up in deprivation and exclusion will be enabled to reach their full potential, and contribute to a healthy society and the economy in the future.

As Natalia, a 14 year-old girl from Spain mentioned in the opening of the Poverty Convention in Brussels yesterday,

“Not only do have we the right to participate in decisions, but it is a vital necessity of life. It gives us the chance to surprise you adults with our creativity, curiosity, energy and with our ability to empathise, with our honesty… All these are ways we can contribute to shaping this changing world. If you are looking for the best and most generous ideas, you can always ask children.”

 Download Natalia’s Speech.

Download the Press Release.