Children being treated by Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets after chemical attack. Photo courtesy of Associated Press.
WARNING: Graphic Images
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is an international agreement which lays out the social, economic, cultural, civil, and political rights of children everywhere. Since its adoption in 1989, the Convention has been signed by 194 countries. But its interpretation and adherence vary widely across the globe.
Under the Convention, every child – boy or girl – has the right to life and survival; to protection against violence, abuse, and neglect; and to an education.
Right to Life
“For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb” (Ps. 139: 13).
The American Convention on Human Rights declares human life as beginning at conception. Abortion is, however, legal for some 60% of the world’s population.
The United States has performed over 45 million abortions since 1970 .
China performs approximately 23 million abortions annually . Although pre-natal sex determination is now illegal there, it is thought that sex-selective abortions (heavily weighted against females) are a key factor in China’s widely disproportionate number of men.
Right to Survival
“Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, ‘Talitha, cumi,’ which is translated, ‘Little girl, I say to you, arise.’ Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age” (Mark 5: 41-42).
Over one third of child deaths worldwide are related to malnutrition . Another 2 million children or more die annually of readily preventable diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia.
Protection against Violence
“Thus says the LORD: ‘Execute judgment and righteousness, and deliver the plundered out of the hand of the oppressor. Do no wrong and do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, or the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place’ “ (Jer. 22: 3).
During the 10 year period from 1986 – 1996, it is estimated that 2 million children were killed; 4-5 million disabled; and 12 million left homeless by war and conflict . As recently as April of this year, Pres. Bashar al-Assad of Syria again killed dozens of his own men, women, and children in a chemical attack .
As many as 300,000 youngsters worldwide have been compelled by government or rebel forces to become child soldiers .
In the United States, 2710 children were killed by guns between 2014 – 2017 . This ranged from gang violence to school shootings [8A]. Nearly 6000 children are treated for non-fatal gunshot wounds in this country, annually [8B].
Protection against Abuse and Neglect
” ‘Cursed is the one who perverts the justice due the stranger, the fatherless, and widow’ “ (Deut. 27: 14).
As many as 10 million children in the United States witness domestic violence, annually; approximately 5 million are, also, victims of such violence .
Roughly 1670-1740 children die annually in the United States from abuse and neglect . In the past decade, over 20,000 were killed by family members. Millions more are subjected to abuse and neglect, and live with the consequences for the rest of their lives.
An estimated 300,000 – 400,000 children (the majority girls) are trafficked across international borders annually, for use in the sex trade and as slave labor .
Right to an Education
“All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children” (Isa. 54: 13).
According to UNESCO, 264 million children worldwide do not attend school, though poverty and the lack of higher education are closely linked [12A]. Ethiopia, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, and Indonesia are among the worst offenders.
Gender equality exists in only 66% of countries where education is available [12B]. As few as one third of Afghan girls, for instance, are permitted to attend school .
If this is our report card, we are failing as a species.
“Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them…” (Ps. 127: 4-5).
In God’s view, children are a blessing. Every human being is created in His image, and every life precious.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report and Surveillance Summaries (2008-2016), https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/index.html.
 Life Site News, “China commits ‘staggering’ 23 million abortions per year, according to US State Dept.”, 4/15/16, https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/china-commits-staggering-23-million-abortions-per-year-according-to-us-stat.
 World Health Organization (WHO), Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, Child Mortality, 9/11, http://www.who.int/pmnch/media/press_materials/fs/fs_mdg4_childmortality/en/.
 UNICEF, The State of the World’s Children 1996, “Children in war”, https://www.unicef.org/sowc96/1cinwar.htm.
 New York Times, “Dozens Suffocate in Syria as Government Is Accused of Chemical Attack” by Ben Hubbard, 4/8/18, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/08/world/middleeast/syria-chemical-attack-ghouta.html.
 Council on Foreign Relations, “Child Soldiers around the World” by Eben Kaplan, 12/2/05, https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/child-soldiers-around-world.
 The Week, “US gun violence in six chilling statistics”, 5/18/18, http://www.theweek.co.uk/91679/us-gun-violence-in-six-chilling-statistics.
[8A and 8B] Pacific Standard, “How American Children Are Killed by Guns” by Francie Diep, 3/23/18, https://psmag.com/news/how-american-children-are-killed-by-guns.
 Christianity, “Jesus and Violence against Children” by Justin Holcomb, https://www.christianity.com/christian-life/political-and-social-issues/jesus-and-violence-against-children.html.
 American Society for the Positive Care of Children, “Child Abuse Statistics in the US”, https://americanspcc.org/child-abuse-statistics/.
 US Dept. of State, “Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000: Trafficking in Persons Report”, https://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2004/ ; and “2017 Trafficking in Persons Report”, https://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/index.htm.
[12A and 12B] DW Akademie, “UNESCO: 264 million children don’t go to school”, 10/24/17, http://www.dw.com/en/unesco-264-million-children-dont-go-to-school/a-41084932.
 DW Akademie, “Over 60% of Afghan girls not in school, says report”, 10/17/17, http://www.dw.com/en/over-60-percent-of-afghan-girls-not-in-school-says-report/a-40978790.
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