This study seeks to evaluate the extent to which States and the international community have succeeded in putting in place the foundations of legal and political accountability, set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which are an essential component of efforts to make a reality of children’s rights. The paper puts the Convention into historical perspective by reviewing the different phases that the movement for children’s rights has undergone since the beginning of the twentieth century. It then reviews the ways in which the Convention has come to be reflected in the law and institutions at various levels and specifically examines:
the challenge of attaining universal ratification
the extent to which children’s rights have been reflected in the regional human rights arrangements in Africa, the Americas and Europe
the extent to which national-level constitutional arrangements have been adapted to acknowledge and entrench respect for children’s rights.
The principle and practice of accountability in relation to children’s rights is examined, paying particular attention to the role of the UN Commission on Human Rights, national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights, and civil society. A case study of the role played by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund is presented, specifically looking at the roles and responses of these IFIs in the context of the impact of the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s on Indonesia.