The Innocenti Research Centre at UNICEF recently put out a lengthy report that interprets the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and explores many issues pertaining to youth and children’s rights. The report, titled “The Evolving Capacities of the Child,” finds that age does not directly correspond with competence and capacity, and cites numerous examples to disprove that association. Much of what Americans take for granted about the lack of competency in youth is culturally biased, and not universally true. The report goes on to state that there are obvious legal implications to all of this, and presents different ideas about age restrictions and the role they should or should not play in a society that respects the rights of young people. The report indicates that age restrictions should not be implemented arbitrarily, and the overall tone suggests a feeling that young people ought to be granted more rights and treated with more dignity. The report also acknowledges the harm that overprotecting youth can cause. The fact a body as prestigious and influential as the United Nations would issue a report like this is of great significance. Members are encouraged to read the report here and distribute it widely.

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