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1989-2009: The 20th Anniversary of the International Convention on Children Rights on the Road for the Effectiveness of the Universal Law
The 20th anniversary of the Convention occurs in the 60th of the Universal declaration of Human Rights which is the «source of the sources» of the new international law and proclaims that «recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world». Children are the sons of the human family. Thanks to the 1989 Covention, they are legally recognised as original subjects of rights that are reinforced compared to the rights of the adult members of the human family. This legal instrument makes even more visible and urgent the responsibilities and duties, first of all edu cational, of the adult population.
The author argues that children can be considered as the pioneers of the international recognition of fundamental rights. The UN Charter and the Universal Declaration have been advanced by a Declaration on Children Rights endorsed by the League of Nations in 1924. A further Declar ation was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989, followed twenty years later by the International Convention. To prepare this legally binding instrument an ad hoc Working Group, established by the UN Human Rights Commission, was funtioning from 1978, benefiting also from the creative contribution of a network of reputed NGOs. In 1986, the President of UNICEF Italy, Arnoldo Farina, having realised that the Italian government was not participating in the Geneva Group, asked the Human Rights Centre of the University of Padua to set up a UNICEF Scientific Committee to elaborate proposals from the Italian side to submit to the UN Working Group. The UNICEF document was finalised during an international conference in Genua in June 1986, with the participation also of Mrs. Etty Leiserson, the secretary of the UN Working Group. In July 1986 Mr. Farina personally handled the Italian-UNICEF report to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
The Italian govern ment sent a representative in the last phase of the Geneva Group. It should be recalled that one of the Italian proposals was in the direction of raising the age of minors for recruitment in military structures and prohibiting the minors involvement in war operations.
Another proposal was aimed to formally recognise the right of children to peace as a fundamental right.
The author emphasises that the principle of «the best interest of children» should have a central place in the list of general principles of international law of human rights, not limited to «children issues».