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Ten years after world leaders pledged to act, the suffering of children around the world is as bad and frequent as ever
THE UNITED Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is 10 years old tomorrow, was hailed as a breakthrough but although ratified by 191 countries has been translated into law in only a handful.

The convention spells out the basic human rights to which children are entitled: the right to survival; the right to the development of their full physical and mental potential; the right to protection from influences harmful to their development; and the right to participate in family, cultural and social life. The United States and Somalia are the only UN countries which have not ratified the convention. More than 650 million children live in absolute poverty, nearly 250 million work full time and 300,000 - some as young as eight - are soldiers in active combat.