On November 18, 2019, the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee finalised negotiations and adopted its annual resolution on the Rights of the Child (A/RES/74/21). This year, the resolution focuses on children without parental care – one of the world’s most vulnerable populations.
In the resolution, UN member states express concern about the particular vulnerability of millions of children around the globe due to the lack of both adequate support for families at risk and a range of quality care options for children who have lost parental care. The resolution also outlines a series of actions and commitments to improve the situation and fulfill the rights of this group of children.
“We welcome the new UN resolution on the Rights of the Child as an historic milestone for the care community," said Siddhartha Kaul, President of SOS Children’s Villages International.
"Children without parental care and at risk of losing parental care have often been overlooked. The childhood of many children is cut short due to a lack of care and protection. Implementing the new UN resolution is an imperative for governments to deliver on all children’s rights,” President Kaul said.
SOS Children’s Villages Representative to the United Nations, Sofia Garcia Garcia, said of the resolution: “Through this international agreement, governments from all around the world recognise the grave situation in which many children grow up, with their rights violated and the development of their full potential compromised. But most importantly, they lay out a set of solutions and commitments to put into place the mechanisms, investments and systems to fulfill and protect the rights and meet the protection needs of children without parental care."
Member states reaffirmed their commitment to implement key systemic actions such as training for authorities who work with children using the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children. They called for improved data collection to inform policies and programming for this group of children. They also recognised that a range of quality care options is needed in order to meet the principles of necessity and suitability of care placement and to avoid institutionalisation, ensuring that every child can be provided with an individualised care solution in his or her best interest.
“In this Rights of the Child resolution, governments have committed to put programmes, policies and investments in place to better fulfill the rights of children without parental care, ensuring that the professionals and systems serving them do so from a rights-based and participative approach,” Ms Garcia Garcia said.
In addition to the language adopted in the resolution, member states reaffirmed key international human and child rights documents such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children.
SOS Children’s Villages is pleased to see the recognition that multiple vulnerabilities often intersect to cause family separation and values the commitment to take a holistic approach to ensuring the fulfilment and protection of the rights of every child. A series of actions towards strengthening parents’ ability to take care of their children and improve the economic and social situation of families is a welcome focus of the resolution as it will ensure that alternative care is always a measure of last resort.
President Kaul added: “With the adoption of this resolution, governments have built momentum to improve the situation of millions of families and children around the world. SOS Children’s Villages, as a leader in the child rights international community and a care provider with decades of experience, stands ready to support governments and other authorities in translating the resolution into concrete steps and actions in their country so that every child grows up with quality care.”
The UN Secretary General’s annual “Status on the Convention on the Rights on the Child” 2019 focusing on children without parental care is available here.
For more information on types of quality alternative care, click here.