Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2000


Published in Great Plains Research 10 (Fall 2000): 409-21. Copyright © 2000 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


The preamble to The Convention on the Rights of the Child, "recalls the basic principles of the United Nations and specific provisions of certain relevant human rights treaties and proclamations; reaffirms the fact that children, because of their vulnerability, need special care and protection; and places special emphasis on the primary caring and protective responsibilities of the family, the need for legal and other protection of the child before and after birth, the importance of respect for the cultural values of the child's community, and the vital role of international cooperation in achieving the realization of children's rights" (UNICEF 2001).

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children developed a document that could well apply to any human group that meets their definition of a child. For example, if we were to substitute the terms "child" or "children" for "ethnic minority" or "ethnic minorities," we might envision a prosperous and moral society that would uphold and apply these basic human rights and standards of conduct towards all of its people. Ethnic minorities, are by definition, individuals who are vulnerable, need special care and protection, have needs for legal protection, and demand respect for their cultural values and traditions. The articles of the main provisions of this document call for non-discrimination, implementation of rights, survival and development, preservation of identity, freedom of expression, thought, conscience, and religion, access to quality health services, medical services, education, due process of justice and assistance in preparing and presenting their defense, and the right to practice their own culture and language, among many other provisions. This special issue on Latinos on the Great Plains is dedicated to ensuring the rights, freedom, and privileges to which all human beings are entitled.