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Geneva sheds light on children's rights

March 1st, 2023

Our dossier on 100 years of children's rights has just been published. In a century, the defense of children's rights has progressed enormously despite a globalized economy that poses certain challenges to the respect of fundamental rights, as we have seen again in recent days with the work of migrant children in countries with a robust economy such as the United States.

The first Declaration of the Rights of the Child, known as the Declaration of Geneva, was adopted in Geneva during the IVth General Congress of the International Union for Child Relief on February 23, 1923, and ratified the following year by the League of Nations. The historian Véronique Stenger looks back at the key moments in the history of children's rights.

An interview with a former head of the ILO on the rights of the child

The defense of children's rights refers to a plurality of issues and problems. Véronique Stenger and I wanted to shed some light on the problem of child labor. To do so, we interviewed Kari Tapiola, former Director General of the International Labour Organization. In this interview, Kari Tapiola reviews all the advances and blockages encountered during his tenure at the ILO concerning child labor conditions. This theme is also the subject of an article by Jean Steinauer, published on notreHistoire.ch and included in this dossier, on child labor in the Swiss countryside at the end of the war.

The work of UNICEF

In this dossier, you will also discover the activities of UNICEF, an organization created in 1946 under the aegis of the UN, through an interview with members of the Swiss and Liechtenstein divisions on the actions carried out in particular with the French writer Bernard Clavel and a class from the Foron school in Geneva to promote children's rights on the federal square.

This dossier is an opportunity for me to salute the various initiatives taken throughout the world which demonstrate that the fight for the respect of children's rights is sometimes a complicated task, a challenge as the pessimists would say. The President of the association "Droits partagés", the late Elisabeth Auclaire-Tamaroff, experienced this in the 1990s and 2000s. This association, which she chaired, had created the first digital platform for the promotion of children's rights, putting in contact dozens of actors of this cause in France, Switzerland, the United States, Senegal and several other countries. This database no longer exists but there are still many places on the internet where children's rights are explained and promoted, UNICEF of course but also the OHCHR, kinderschutz.ch, Save the Children, Children's Rights Alliance...

Enjoy reading our dossier, David Glaser, for the editorial staff of geneveMonde.ch

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