UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is a binding international convention concluded in 1989, which all UN member states except the USA have signed or ratified – making it the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history! It recognizes children as bearers of human rights.

In 54 articles, rights are established that apply equally and indivisibly to all children. They can be divided into protection, promotion and participation rights.

Every five years the implementation of the rights is country-specifically monitored by the Committee on the Rights of the Child. For this purpose, periodic reports are submitted by each state so that the committee is able to assess the situation. NGOs also submit reports to present their view of the situation. More about the procedure around the reporting cycles can be found here: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRC/Pages/ReportingProcedure.aspx

The observations result in Concluding Observations, which the UN Committee prepares to highlight problems and make recommendations for action. These are up to 25 pages long. To make them more accessible, the concluding observations have been summarized within this project.

Optional Protocols

The Optional Protocols are additional regulations that have been introduced after the adoption of the Convention. They can (but don’t have to) be additionally ratified by the countries. At the moment there are three optional protocols:

Optional Protocol to the CRC on the involvement of children in armed conflict

Optional Protocol to the CRC on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

Optional Protocol to the CRC on a communications procedure

Through the right to individual complaint, children and adolescents can file complaints against the violation of their rights, but only in states that have also ratified the Optional Protocol.

General Comments

Since 2001, the Committee has been drafting General Comments at irregular intervals in order to specify rights in the Convention and to put them into (current) context. This is intended to support the states in their implementation.

More information: https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/TBSearch.aspx?Lang=en&TreatyID=5&DocTypeID=11

child-friendly explanations of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child offered by Unicef: https://www.unicef.org/child-rights-convention/convention-text-childrens-version