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Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
Introduction | Article Summaries | Full Text

Excerpts from The Rights of the Child, Fact Sheet #10, UN Centre for Human Rights:

"The Convention on the Rights of the Child ... is the most complete statement of children's rights ever made and is the first to give these rights the force of international law....

The Convention ... has the same meaning for peoples in all parts of the world. This was made possible in long negotiations, where representatives of countries with different social and economic systems and various cultural, ethical and religious approaches to life worked with non-governmental organizations and United Nations agencies to fashion a set of common values and aims, valid everywhere....

Encompassing the whole range of human rights -- civil, political, economic, social and cultural -- the Convention recognizes that the enjoyment of one right cannot be separated from the enjoyment of others. It demonstrates that the freedom a child needs to develop his or her intellectual, moral and spiritual capacities calls ... for a healthy and safe environment, access to medical care, and minimum standards of food, clothing and shelter....

Each new generation offers humanity another chance. If we provide for the survival and development of children everywhere, protect them from harm and exploitation and enable them to participate in decisions directly affecting their lives, we will surely build the foundation of the just society we all want and that children deserve."

Introduction | Article Summaries | Full Text

Unofficial Summary by UNICEF

Article 1
Definition of a child

A child is recognized as a person under 18, unless national laws recognize the age of majority earlier.

Article 2

All rights apply to all children without exception. It is the State's obligation to protect children from any form of discrimination and to take positive action to promote their rights.

Article 3
Best interests of the child

All actions concerning the child shall take full account of his or her best interests. The State shall provide the child with adequate care when parents, or others charged with that responsibility, fail to do so.

Article 4
Implementation of rights

The State must do all it can to implement the rights contained in the Convention.

Article 5
Parental guidance and the child's evolving capacities

The State must respect the rights and responsibilities of parents and the extended family to provide guidance for the child which is appropriate to her or his evolving capacities.

Article 6
Survival and development

Every child has the inherent right to life, and the State has an obligation to ensure the child's survival and development.

Article 7
Name and nationality

The child has the right to a name at birth. The child also has the right to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, to know his or her parents and be cared for by them.

Article 8
Preservation of identity

The State has an obligation to protect, and if necessary, reestablish basic aspects of the child's identity. This includes name, nationality and family ties.

Article 9
Separation from parents

The child has a right to live with his or her parents unless this is deemed to be incompatible with the child's best interests. The child also has the right to maintain contact with both parents if separated from one or both.

Article 10
Family reunification

Children and their parents have the right to leave any country and to enter their own for purposes of reunion or the maintenance of the child-parent relationship.

Article 11
Illicit transfer and non-return

The State has an obligation to prevent and remedy the kidnapping or retention of children abroad by a parent or third party.

Article 12
The child's opinion

The child has the right to express his or her opinion freely and to have that opinion taken into account in any matter or procedure affecting the child.

Article 13
Freedom of expression

The child has the right to express his or her views, obtain information, make ideas or information known, regardless of frontiers.

Article 14
Freedom of thought, conscience and religion

The State shall respect the child's right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, subject to appropriate parental guidance.

Article 15
Freedom of association

Children have a right to meet with others, and to join or form associations.

Article 16
Protection of privacy

Children have the right to protection from interference with privacy, family, home and correspondence, and from libel or slander.

Article 17
Access to appropriate information

The State shall ensure the accessibility to children of information and material from a diversity of sources, and it shall encourage the mass media to disseminate information which is of social and cultural benefit to the child, and take steps to protect him or her from harmful materials.

Article 18
Parental responsibilities

Parents have joint primary responsibility for raising the child, and the State shall support them in this. The State shall provide appropriate assistance to parents in child-raising.

Article 19
Protection from abuse and neglect

The State shall protect the child from all forms of maltreatment by parents or others responsible for the care of the child and establish appropriate social programmes for the prevention of abuse and the treatment of victims.

Article 20
Protection of a child without family

The State is obliged to provide special protection for a child deprived of the family environment and to ensure that appropriate alternative family care or institutional placement is available in such cases. Efforts to meet this obligation shall pay due regard to the child's cultural background.

Article 21

In countries where adoption is recognized and/or allowed, it shall only be carried out in the best interests of the child, and then only with the authorization of competent authorities, and safeguards for the child.

Article 22
Refugee children

Special protection shall be granted to a refugee child or to a child seeking refugee status. It is the State's obligation to co-operate with competent organizations which provide such protection and assistance.

Article 23
Disabled children

A disabled child has the right to special care, education and training to help him or her enjoy a full and decent life in dignity and achieve the greatest degree of self-reliance and social integration possible.

Article 24
Health and health services

The child has a right to the highest standard of health and medical care attainable. States shall place special emphasis on the provision of primary and preventive health care, public health education and the reduction of infant mortality. They shall encourage international cooperation in this regard and strive to see that no child is deprived of access to effective health services.

Article 25
Periodic review of placement

A child who is placed by the State for reasons of care, protection or treatment is entitled to have that placement evaluated regularly.

Article 26
Social security

The child has the right to benefit from social security including social insurance.

Article 27
Standard of living

Every child has the right to a standard of living adequate for his or her physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development. Parents have the primary responsibility to ensure that the child has an adequate standard of living. The State's duty is to ensure that this responsibility can be fulfilled, and is. State responsibility can include material assistance to parents and their children.

Article 28

The child has a right to education, and the State's duty is to ensure that primary education is free and compulsory, to encourage different forms of secondary education accessible to every child and to make higher education available to all on the basis of capacity. School discipline shall be consistent with the child's rights and dignity. The State shall engage in international cooperation to implement this right.

Article 29
Aims of education

Education shall aim at developing the child's personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to the fullest extent. Education shall prepare the child for an active adult life in a free society and foster respect for the child's parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values, and for the cultural background and values of others.

Article 30
Children of minorities or indigenous populations

Children of minority communities and indigenous populations have the right to enjoy their own culture and to practice their own religion and language.

Article 31
Leisure, recreation and cultural activities

The child has the right to leisure, play and participation in cultural and artistic activities.

Article 32
Child labour

The child has the right to be protected from work that threatens his or her health, education or development. The State shall set minimum ages for employment and regulate working conditions.

Article 33
Drug abuse

Children have the right to protection from the use of narcotic and psychotropic drugs, and from being involved in their production or distribution.

Article 34
Sexual exploitation

The State shall protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse, including prostitution and involvement in pornography.

Article 35
Sale, trafficking and abduction

It is the State's obligation to make every effort to prevent the sale, trafficking and abduction of children.

Article 36
Other forms of exploitation

The child has the right to protection from all forms of exploitation prejudicial to any aspects of the child's welfare not covered in articles 32, 33, 34 and 35.

Article 37
Torture and deprivation of liberty

No child shall be subjected to torture, cruel treatment or punishment, unlawful arrest or deprivation of liberty. Both capital punishment and life imprisonment without the possibility of release are prohibited for offences committed by persons below 18 years. Any child deprived of liberty shall be separated from adults unless it is considered in the child's best interests not to do so. A child who is detained shall have legal and other assistance as well as contact with the family.

Article 38
Armed conflicts

States Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that children under 15 years of age have no direct part in hostilities. No child below 15 shall be recruited into the armed forces. States shall also ensure the protection and care of children who are affected by armed conflict as described in relevant international

Article 39
Rehabilitative care

The State has an obligation to ensure that child victims of armed conflicts, torture, neglect, maltreatment or exploitation receive appropriate treatment for their recovery and social reintegration.

Article 40
Administration of juvenile justice

A child in conflict with the law has the right to treatment which promotes the child's sense of dignity and worth, takes the child's age into account and aims at his or her reintegration into society. The child is entitled to basic guarantees as well as legal or other assistance for his or her defence. Judicial proceedings and institutional placements shall be avoided wherever possible.

Article 41
Respect for higher standards

Wherever standards set in applicable national and international law relevant to the rights of the child that are higher than those in this Convention, the higher standard shall always apply.

For more information, please contact PDHRE:

The People's Movement for Human Rights Education (PDHRE) / NY Office
Shulamith Koenig / Executive Director
526 West 111th Street, New York, NY 10025, USA
tel: +1 212.749-3156; fax: +1 212.666-6325
e-mail: pdhre@igc.org