Statement on the 30th Anniversary Commemoration of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Ambassador Elisabeth Millard
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 21, 2019


The United States is proud to participate in today’s Commemoration for this milestone in promoting and protecting the human rights of all children. As we stated at the Convention’s adoption 30 years ago, the United States continues to support and believe in the goal of protecting and promoting the rights of the child that underpins it. We also reaffirm this belief as a States party to the two optional protocols.

Over the last three decades, it has become clear to the United States that the role parents and, more broadly, families have in children’s lives is indispensable to achieving our common aspiration to improve the lives of children. In the United States, parents and families play a critical role in empowering children and in creating an enabling environment for them to fully participate in all aspects of society.

Domestically, First Lady Melania Trump has focused on children’s well-being with the launch of the “Be Best” campaign. As she underscored, “It remains our generation’s moral imperative to take responsibility and help our children manage the many issues they are facing today, including encouraging positive social, emotional, and physical habits.”

The United States also prioritizes children in our global partnerships. Under a Department of State Child Protection Compact Partnership, the United States partners bilaterally with other countries on strengthening national efforts to prosecute and convict child traffickers effectively; provide comprehensive trauma-informed care for child victims of these crimes; and prevent all forms of child trafficking. In addition, since 1995 the U.S. Department of Labor has helped rescue nearly two million children from child labor. Currently, the Department funds 49 projects in 43 countries, for a total of over $255 million of programming to combat exploitative child labor.

To reduce preventable child and maternal deaths, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s “Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Strategy for 2014-2025” addresses malnutrition in women of reproductive age and children under five. USAID also promotes the health of children through its programs that support immunization, preventing and treating infectious diseases, and other health issues, including support for better maternity care.

Additionally, the U.S. “Advancing Protection and Care for Children in Adversity Strategy, 2019-2023” aims to help every child survive and reach his or her full potential with dignity, within protective, nurturing and loving parental and/or family care. Children who are living outside of family care – including those living in institutions, other types of residential care, or the street; victims of human trafficking; those exploited for child labor or recruited as soldiers; and those affected by HIV/AIDS and humanitarian crises – are among the world’s most vulnerable children. Under this plan, U.S. government foreign assistance efforts are directed towards three broad objectives: first, building strong beginnings through adequate health, nutrition, responsive caregiving, and family support; second, reducing the numbers living outside of family care; and third, protecting children from violence, exploitation, abuse, and neglect by investing in preventative programming responsive to the needs of children.

The United States also strongly condemns the harmful practices of child, early, and forced marriage (CEFM) and female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C). We provide resources to prevent CEFM in countries and communities where interventions are needed most and where they are most likely to be effective. On FGM/C, we work to strengthen host country legislation against the practice.

The United States also welcomes the Convention’s inclusion of the right of all children to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Parents and families also play a critical role in helping children realize this right.

Over the last thirty years we have seen progress in realizing the human rights of all children, but we still have a long way to go. We call upon other member states, the UN, civil society, families, parents, academics, and other stakeholders to continue addressing environmental, societal, and attitudinal barriers, and create a world where every child can thrive.

Thank you.