The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC or Convention) will mark 30 years this year. The Convention has the bragging right of being the most ratified UN human rights instrument, with 196 state parties within its fold. However, progress from a near universal ratification to a universal implementation is the most critical element in the global effort to create a world fit for all children.
Like any international human rights instrument, the Convention still faces some implementation challenges – as shown through the monitoring role played by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC Committee or the Committee). The different types of challenges that state parties face in the implementation of the Convention are oft en dependent on a number of factors. These factors include human and financial resources; social stability; the presence and effectiveness of comprehensive laws on children's rights; the extent to which harmful practices, including patriarchy, are embedded in society; geographical location, including topography (for instance, sparsely populated state parties, small island states, effects of exposure to climate change, etc.); and at times, the type of government arrangement, such as federal or unitary, especially in relation to coordination.
This chapter situates the more recent jurisprudence of the Committee in respect of a select number of child rights issues with significant implications for family law, and offers an analysis identifying progress in both conceptualisation and practice, as well as highlights the potential challenges that remain for further investigation and clarification. The issues that have been identified are the concept of the family, discrimination, parental equality, children's rights versus parental rights, child marriage, polygamy and children born through surrogacy arrangements. The discussions are not focused on any specific regions – or countries – though as a matter of fact some thematic issues are more relevant to some region(s) than others. At this juncture, it is also important to underline that the 2020 edition of the Survey will cover a Part 2 of this chapter, and discuss other issues such as childhood statelessness, the child's right to family environment, separation of children from the family, adoption, international child abduction, as well as the rights of children in the context of international migration.