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Convention on the Rights
of the Child
New York, 1989
Core Treaties  
Treaties you might not expect  


  The Convention's objective is to protect children from discrimination, neglect and abuse. It is the principal children's treaty, covering a full range of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. It grants rights for children in peacetime as well as during armed conflict, and provides for the implementation of those rights. The Convention serves as both a rallying point and a useful tool for civil society and individual people, working to protect and promote children's rights. In many ways, it is an innovative instrument.

Key Provisions

  The Convention is the first legally binding international treaty to give universally-recognized norms and standards for the protection and promotion of children's rights in a single text.

  It is the most rapidly and widely ratified international human rights treaty in the world. This unprecedented wide participation clearly shows a common political will to improve the situation of children.

  The Convention highlights the spirit of complementarity and the interdependence of human rights by combining civil and political rights with economic, social and cultural rights. It calls for a holistic approach in analysis, and recognizes that the enjoyment of one right cannot be separated from the enjoyment of others.

  It creates a new vision of the child, combining provisions aimed at protecting the child through positive action by the child's country, parents and relevant institutions, with provisions that recognize the child as a holder of participatory rights and freedoms.

  In this way it creates rights in areas not covered by previous international treaties, such as the right of the child to freely express views and have those views taken seriously, and the right of the child to a name and nationality from birth. The Convention also creates standards for such issues as alternative care, the rights of disabled and refugee children; and the administration of juvenile justice. It also stresses the need for recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of neglect, exploitation or abuse.

  While stressing the country's duty to help families care for and protect the child, the Convention acknowledges the primary role of family and parents in this task. It calls for positive action by institutions and the State or parents.

  It serves as a useful tool for advocacy and greater awareness of the new understanding on children's rights, and attaches special importance to international cooperation and assistance as ways of protecting children's rights.

  The Convention rests on a foundation of four general principles that express its philosophy and offer guidance to national programs for putting that philosophy into effect.

  Key provisions focus on:

  • Non-discrimination
  • Best interests of the child
  • Right to life, survival and development
  • Views of the child

  Article 43 of the Convention establishes the Committee on the Rights of the Child. The Committee is a monitoring body of ten experts who examining the progress that countries party to the Convention have made in realizing its provisions.

An "International Bill of Rights For Children"

1. Convention on the Rights of the Child

2. Optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict

3. Optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography

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