The former President of South Africa and Graca Machel, the child rights campaigner, have proposed the creation of a new global partnership for children.  They both have pledged to play a personal role in persuading other world leaders to support this bold initiative.
Mr Mandela stated ‘we are not seeking and will not accept vague promises…. our purpose is to get specific commitments from these leaders and specific results.  We will challenge enlightened government leaders to join us and turn their words into deeds.
We will ask innovators in the business world to put their unique abilities to work for children.  We will call upon leaders in academia, the media, and other sectors to join with us to ensure that the world honours its obligation to children.’
The Global Partnership for Children has been established to tackle several challenges that currently pose the greatest threat to children’s development, protecting the rights of children caught up in armed conflict, halting the advance of preventable diseases, especially HIV/AIDS, and ending discrimination and deep poverty.
The First Substantive Session of the Preparatory Committee for the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children took place recently at the United Nations in New York. (30 May – 2 June).  Some 3290 NGOs were accredited to the process and over 700 NGO’s from 94 countries, 73 of them developing countries, were registered.
Over 235 NGOs participated in the Special Session. During the general discussion 11 NGOs spoke following the presentations of three Expert Panels.  Panel discussion focused on
  • Review and Assessment, including constraints encountered in implementing the goals of the World Summit for Children. 
  • Impact of emerging issues on the situation of children and women.
Presentations made by twelve panelists were followed by commentaries from government delegations and NGOs.  The NGOs organized themselves to represent a cross section of other NGOs, so by the end of the session, a broad cross section of NGO views on most of the selected topics had been shared.
There was consensus on the importance of the life-cycle approach to the rights and well-being of children and adolescents as a useful way of approaching future action for children.  The three outcome areas for children:
  • All children should have a good start to life.
  • They should have an opportunity to complete a good quality education.
  • Adolescents should have opportunities to fully develop their individual capacities.
NB: The Secretary General’s Report on Emerging Issues for Children in the 21st Century. (A/AC.256/3-E/ICEF/2000/13).
The Child Rights Caucus has drafted an A Children’s Rights Agenda For the Coming Decade Paper and it is hoped the final version will be available by the beginning of September for signatures from NGOs that support the statement.
WomenAid International has undertaken to make the revised final document available in Russian.
It is anticipated that during September the report will be presented to UNICEF – the coordinating organisation of the Special Summit – as input for the draft outcome final document that UNICEF is preparing for the UNGASS and to governments.
The Child Rights Caucus is a special lobby group formed by several international NGOs (led by Human Rights Watch) in anticipation of the UN World Summit for Children 2001. During the recent PrepCom for the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) approximately 100 representatives (from 35 international and national organisations committed to protecting and promoting the human rights of children), participated in the Child Rights Caucus, and met every day. Currently it has a coordinating group of five who will also shortly be drafting proposal for Caucasus activities/strategies during the January 2001 PrepCom.
The NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is encouraging participation by NGOs.
Comments or requests for information from:
Ms. Jo Becker. Director of Advocacy, Human Right Watch, 350 5th Avenue, 34th Floor, New York NY 10118.
NGO’s have an important role to play in monitoring the implementation of rights. There are six major international human rights instruments NGO’s can invoke in the effort to human rights for all.
  • International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR); 
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); 
  • International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD); 
  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); 
  • Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, (CAT);
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC))
Whilst outcomes of world conferences rely primarily on Governments for their implementation, countries (States parties) that have ratified or acceded any of the Conventions/Covenants are required to report on implementation at regular intervals.  These reports offer a measurement of progress - or lack of progress - made since the last report was presented.
The Reports are then examined by the relevant monitoring committee, for example, the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Experts are elected in their individual capacities to serve on a Committee for four-year terms by the States parties. Following the review of the report, the Committee makes recommendations for the further implementation of the rights concerned in its concluding comments or observations.
Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have a role to play. They can, for example, become involved in working with their government in providing information for the preparation of the report; they can provide information on the current status in their own country to the members of the Committee (each Committee has its own procedure for doing this); they can be present when their country gives its report; and they can make sure that the Committee’s comments are widely publicized once the government has reported.
CRIN is a global network of over 1000 child rights organizations.  It facilitates discussion and information exchange on critical child rights issues with the aim of improving the lives of children throughout the world. To participate and/or contribute contact the following: and visit its excellent site at

2000: September 30
Women’s Rights and Child’s Rights. 

Call for papers for a special issue of the Development Journal to be published in June 2001 for distribution at the UNGASS on children in 2001. The Bernard Leer Foundation and The Society for International Development (SID) invite contributions from policy makers, scholars and activists working in the area of women’s and/or child rights.
Articles should consider the links among the different demands for rights by women and child rights groups within specific socio-cultural contexts. The similar concerns of women and children living in poverty should be considered and how children's rights to well-being are intricately linked to women's rights to health, education, security and sustaining livelihoods.
Contributors should consider if there are actually conflicting rights, for example in terms of early childhood care: how does women's rights to work conflict with children's rights to have love and care and security? Other concerns could be: how to encourage women and children to voice their concerns and needs in public fora, how to explain the cultural and other impediments for both groups to exercise their rights, how to create ways for women and children to know more about their rights.
All articles to be original, written in accessible language. The deadline for applications would be 30 September 2000.
Those interested should send by e-mail to, cc their name, bio-note, article title and 100 word abstract.
The NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child has established an internship programme for persons active in national child rights coalitions.  Based in Geneva, the Professional Internship lasts two months, May and June or September and October and coincides with sessions of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
The programme aims to provide coalition representatives an opportunity to learn more about the work of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, as well as the wider human rights system. English language, computer skills, proven track record in child rights work is required.

For further information contact:

Professional Internship Programme, NGO Group for the CRC c/o Defence for Children International P.O. Box 88 Geneva 20 Switzerland Tel: +41 22 740 4730 
The ChildFocus eDialogue and the ChildFocus eCalendar are created and collated by staff and volunteers of WomenAid International. Our Caucasus Gateway Partner, WomenAid in Georgia through the Child Rights & Well-Being Centre, handles distribution.

The documents are published on a regular basis to government representatives, NGO colleagues, institutions and individuals in the Caucasus and CIS working for the promotion and protection of child rights and well-being.  Documents on
Child Rights & Well-Being Centre
22 Khorava Street, Tbilisi, Georgia. 
Tel/Fax: 00 995 32   23 24 91 
WomenAid International 
Children of the World Initiative
3 Whitehall Court, London SW1A 2EL 
Tel: +44 20 7839 1790 
ChildFocus eDialogue - Russian      ChildFocus eCalendar - English      ChildFocus eCalendar - Russian