A nation is democratic to the extent that its citizens are involved, particularly at the community level. The confidence and competence to be involved must be gradually acquired through practice. It is for this reason that there should be gradually increasing opportunities for children to participate in any aspiring democracy, and particularly in those nations already convinced that they are democratic. With the growth of children’s rights we are beginning to see an increasing recognition of children’s abilities to speak for themselves. Regrettably, while children’s and youths’ participation does occur in different degrees around the world, it is often exploitative or frivolous. This Essay is written for people who know that young people have something to say but who would like to reflect further on the process. It is also written for those people who have it in their power to assist children in having a voice, but who, unwittingly or not, trivialize their involvement.
This latest 'Innocenti Essay' outlines the legal and moral stance behind UNICEF's emerging human rights ethic. It goes on to consider the implications of this thinking in terms of the organisation's perceived future role. The author attempts to end the debate between the traditional development thinkers and the rights advocates, arguing that 'development' is meaningless unless it is designed to ensure the realisation of human rights.
Child Rights in Latin America: From irregular situation to full protection
The Convention on the Rights of the Child has now been ratified by 191 nations. Notwithstanding, securing the principles and necessary legal safeguards remains a difficult achievement. Laws and jurisprudence must be firmly linked to the national reality to avoid them being well-meant placebos.
Better Schools, Less Child Work. Child Work and Education in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Peru
On the basis of detailed statistical surveys conducted in five Latin American countries, this essay demonstrates that actual practice in the region contrasts strongly with legal norms for the minimum age at which children can be employed and the age of completion of compulsory education.
Child Labour and Basic Education in Latin America and the Caribbean
The high primary school enrolment rates in Latin America and the Caribbean mask poor performance in terms of the quality, relevance and cost-effectiveness of formal schooling in the region. What happens to the millions of children who repeat school years, underperform in their first years of schooling and eventually drop out? The vast majority are working children of one sort or another, but their work is likely to lead nowhere in terms of expanded opportunities or eventually to a decent standard of living for them and their future families.