Since 1948, significant progress has been made in the articulation of human rights frameworks, which many member states of the United Nations have signed and/or ratified. Sadly, the gap between stated commitments and practice often leaves those who are most vulnerable the least protected. Despite the recent reforms of the UN’s human rights architecture and the outrage prompted by images of children suffering or in danger, the rights-based approach has lost some of its earlier impact in the face of increasing concerns about the so-called ‘migration crisis’. Instead of providing a persuasive call to action, the voices of children are typically drowned out by more powerful interests, as they compete alongside other ‘constituencies’ rather than being seen as the best indicator of the health of our societies.
Agenda 2030 provides the best ever chance of re-balancing attention in human rights and other circles to the rights, needs and interests of children. The call to ‘Leave No One Behind’ provides a vehicle for renewed attention to children with particular reference to those who are uncounted.