Students and teachers from around the world call for schools and universities to be protected from military use.

© 2015 Bede Sheppard/Human Rights Watch

Our children’s rights team at Human Rights Watch spends a lot of time focused on the abuses that children suffer around the world. But as we wrap up the year, we’d also like to recognize some of the positive things that have happened for children. Here are 10 good news stories for kids from 2019:

  1. Four countries – Georgia, South Africa, France, and Kosovo – banned all corporal punishment of children, bringing the global total to 58, up from 11 in 2000.
     
  2. Three armed groups in the Central African Republic, one in Syria, and one in Myanmar signed agreements to end the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict.
     
  3. Government-allied militia forces in Nigeria released nearly 900 children from their ranks.
     
  4. Tanzania and Mozambique both made child marriage illegal.
     
  5. The president of Rwanda pardoned hundreds of women and girls who had been jailed for abortions.
     
  6. An additional 19 countries committed to protecting schools during armed conflict by endorsing the Safe Schools Declaration, bringing the total to 101 endorsers.

     

     

  7. Netherlands adopted a new law requiring companies doing business in the country to prevent child labor in their supply chains.
     
  8. The European Parliament passed a resolution calling on all member states to end medically unnecessary surgeries on children born with intersex traits.
     
  9. Ekiti State in southwest Nigeria adopted a policy to ban the expulsion of girls from school during and after pregnancy.
     
  10. The International Criminal Court upheld a ruling that former warlord Thomas Lubanga is liable for US$10 million in reparations to former child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Many children will benefit from these actions, though millions are still out of school and suffer exploitation and abuse. We should take a moment to celebrate the progress of 2019, but we still have a lot of work to do.