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Eglantyne Jebb – A Pioneer of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

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The efforts relating to the universal recognition of human rights of children are closely linked with the name of Eglantyne Jebb, who in 1924 convinced the governments assembled in the League of Nations to adopt a first document on children’s rights: “The Declaration of Geneva”. Children’s rights activists have often interpreted this declaration as a charity appeal and not a codification of rights. This article describes how Eglantyne Jebb’s thinking evolved about children and what mankind owes her. The dimensions of the work of the funds, which she founded and directed, the Save the Children Fund in Great Britain 1919 and the Save the Children International Union 1920, progressively showed her that charity is not enough and worldwide cooperation of governments is urgently required to establish structures and provisions to which children are entitled.

Affiliations: 1: Professor, Freie Universitat Berlin, Germany, Waltraut.Kerber-Ganse@alumni.TU-Berlin.DE


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1. Jebb E., Save the Child! A Posthumous Essay (London: The Weardale Press, 1929).
2. Jebb E., Cambridge, A Brief Study in Social Questions (Cambridge: Macmillan & Bowes, 1906, reprinted in 2009 by Cambridge Scholars Publishing).
3. Korczak J.,, "Selected works", ed. Wolins M. (Washington dc: National Science Foundation, 1967). Quotation are taken from the Internet edition: .
4. Mulley C., The Woman who Saved the Children (Oxford: Oneworld, 2009).
5. Wilson F. M., Rebel daughter from a Country House (London, George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1967).

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