Campaign: 10th Anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the
PR Team: In-house
Timescale: 15 - 21 November 1999
The UNICEF Convention on the Rights of the Child - the most ratified
human rights treaty in the world - celebrated its tenth anniversary on
20 November 1999. The convention covers all aspects of children’s lives,
from education and health, to protection from abuse and the right to
Just two countries have yet to sign the treaty - the US and Somalia.
UNICEF estimates that since the convention came into existence, one
million more children survive beyond their fifth birthday each year.
However, as 12 million children die of mainly preventable diseases every
year, UNICEF believes that there is much more to be done. To mark the
anniversary, UNICEF ran a week-long campaign to remind the public of the
rights of children.
To raise awareness of the convention and remind people of the poor,
endangered and marginalised children worldwide. Also, to call on the UK
Government to appoint a Children’s Rights Commissioner, who would act as
an independent advocate for children. Following a model used in other
European countries, the commissioner would look across all areas of
Government work, acting in the interests of children. Although the
commissioner would have no legislative power, he or she could not be
denied access to any parts of Government.
Strategy and Plan
Pop star and UNICEF supporter Robbie Williams kicked off the UK campaign
with a photocall at the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, East
Williams joined 25 children from a local school to ’Make a Mark and Make
a Wish’ by adding his painted handprint to a display created by the
children and making a wish for children everywhere over the next
At the start of the week, UNICEF released the results of a MORI poll
into what children think of their rights and organised local surgeries
for MPs and schoolchildren. Participating children challenged their MPs
to take into account the national and international issues that mattered
A world record was also set for the number of people taking part in a
simultaneous performance when 12,000 children from 100 stage schools
around the country performed The Rainbow Juggler - a specially created
Other activities included the unveiling of toy store Hamley’s Christmas
window by boy band A1 and the announcement of the first UNICEF Child
Rights Lawyer award, to recognise the contribution of family lawyers in
protecting children. UNICEF press officer Sarah Vincent and executive
director David Bull were put forward for interviews with the press and
Measurement and Evaluation
UNICEF has yet to formally evaluate the campaign. The results of the
MORI poll were covered on BBC News 24, BBC Breakfast News and by PA and
BBC Online as well as national and local radio. The announcement of the
Child Rights Lawyer Award was covered in the Lawyer, the Times and the
Gazette Weekly Journal of the Law Society. The Robbie Williams photocall
received the bulk of the mainstream coverage from Newsroom South East
and the Big Breakfast through to the Daily Sport and Hello magazine.
Sarah Vincent and David Bull appeared on various stations from CNN to
Sky Television’s Sunday Morning With Adam Boulton.
Although the campaign has not yet been evaluated formally, it
communicated its message effectively through a broad range of media.
The broadcast interviews also made the public aware of UNICEF’s
spearheading of a drive by charities to call on the Government for a
Children’s Rights Commissioner. In the wake of the report into Britain’s
biggest child abuse enquiry, published this week, the Government
announced it will appoint a national children’s rights director.