The Child Rights Movement has existed since the early years of the twentieth century when individuals, public institutions and NGOs began to unite their efforts to improve the fate of children around the world. In recent years the Movement has seen a dramatic growth and gained greater coherence with the drafting and entry into force of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) passed on the 30th anniversary of the ‘Declaration of the Rights of the Child’.
A series of events following the adoption of the Convention enhanced the significance of the Movement even more, namely:
- The World Summit for Children in 1990.
- Graça Machel's seminal study on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children (1996)
- A series of global campaigns against landmines, child labour, sexual exploitation, and the use of child soldiers;
- The GMC Convening Committee for the Say Yes for Children campaign (2000), formally established the Global Movement for Children in 2002 bringing together some of the biggest organisations working with children.
- The UN General Assembly’s Special Session on Children (2002).
At the UN General Assembly’s Special Session on Children in 2002 the name Global Movement for Children (GMC) was first coined. The purpose of naming the Global Movement for Children was to help make visible to the world’s leaders the thousands of organisations and millions of citizens, voters - and children themselves - who are today united in this cause.
Nelson Mandela and Graça Machel launched the GMC at the United Nations and since then, it has brought together thousands of organisations in advocating for child rights. Over the years, the GMC has focused on the following issues:
- Girl's education
- Children and AIDS
- Violence against children
- Child Survival
- Children on the move and child traffic