January 1, 2024
2023 brought a lot of good news for children
A summary of ten positive developments for children, according to Human Rights Watch
Source: IPS - Image by Kiran Hania via Pixabay
For the first time, all Rohingy children in refugee camps in Bangladesh have formal access to education. Three hundred thousand children enrolled - a huge increase over 2021.
In the U.S., child rights got a boost in Minnesota, New Mexico and Illinois. The states abolished life sentences without parole for juvenile offenders. Three more handier states, Connecticut, Vermont and Michigan, banned child marriages.
In Mexico, the Supreme Court has ordered Congress to abolish federal penalties for abortion. This will give girls and women more access to abortion.
The African country of Sierra Leone got a new education law that guarantees children thirteen years of free education. The law prohibits corporal punishment and also protects the rights of pregnant students and students with children or disabilities.
Australia and Guyana have signed the Safe Schools Declaration. A total of 118 countries have now committed to protect schools, teachers and students during armed conflict.
Iraq has signed an action plan with the United Nations to stop the recruitment of child soldiers into the "Popular Mobilization Forces." That organization has ties to the government and has previously used children in the fight against Islamic State.
The European Union has agreed on a new law requiring companies to protect human rights in their supply chains, including child labor and other child rights abuses. So that means suppliers to European companies must also address abuses.
The United Nations Commission on the Rights of the Child has produced authoritative guidelines around governments' obligations to protect children's rights in the face of climate change and other environmental crises. The guidelines are based on input from 16,000 children in 121 countries.
The U.S., Brazil and India have taken action to protect the online privacy of millions of students. Online learning platforms must no longer allow tracking by advertisers, must have security audits and will face fines if they use children's data for non-educational purposes.
Bulgaria, Slovakia, South Africa and Peru have destroyed their stockpiles of cluster munitions, bombs that disproportionately kill and injure children. All 112 states parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions have now fulfilled their obligation to destroy their stockpiles.