|Resources||Human Rights Standards||Case Studies||Consolidated Replies||Related Links|
The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. In 1989, world leaders decided that children needed a special convention just for them because people under 18 years old often need special care and protection that adults do not. The leaders also wanted to make sure that the world recognized that children have human rights too. The Convention sets out these rights in 54 articles and two
Optional Protocols. It spells out the basic human rights that children everywhere have: the right to survival; to develop to the fullest; to protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation; and to participate fully in family, cultural and social life. The four core principles of the Convention are non-discrimination; devotion to the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and respect for the views of the child. Every right spelled out in the Convention is inherent to the human dignity and harmonious development of every child. The Convention protects children’s rights by setting standards in health care; education; and legal, civil and social services. By agreeing to undertake the obligations of the Convention (by ratifying or acceding to it), national governments have committed themselves to protecting and ensuring children’s rights and they have agreed to hold themselves accountable for this commitment before the international community. States parties to the Convention are obliged to develop and undertake all actions and policies in the light of the best interests of the child.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by its State parties. It also monitors implementation of two optional protocols to the Convention, on involvement of children in armed conflict and on sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. All States parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. States must report initially two years after acceding to the Convention and then every five years. The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of “concluding observations”. The Committee reviews additional reports which must be submitted by States who have acceded to the two Optional Protocols to the Convention. The Committee cannot consider individual complaints, although child rights may be raised before other committees with competence to consider individual complaints. The Committee also publishes its interpretation of the content of human rights provisions, known as general comments on thematic issues and organizes days of general discussion.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child publishes its interpretation of the content of human rights provisions, in the form of General Comments on thematic issues. The Committee has issued general comments on the following subjects:
No. 12: The right of the child to be heard
No. 11: Indigenous children and their rights under the Convention
No. 10: Children’s rights in Juvenile Justice
No. 9: The rights of children with disabilities
No. 8: The right of the child to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment
No. 7: Implementing child rights in early childhood
No. 6: Treatment of unaccompanied and separated children outside their country of origin
No. 5: General measures of implementation for the Convention on the Rights of the Child
No. 4: Adolescent Health
No. 3: HIV/AIDS and the rights of the child
No. 2: The role of independent human rights institutions
No. 1: The aims of education
By 1990, international awareness of the commercial sexual exploitation and the sale of children had grown to such a level that the United Nations Commission on Human Rights decided to appoint a Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography by resolution 1990/68, mandating the Special Rapporteur to investigate the exploitation of children around the world and to submit reports thereon to the General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights, making recommendations for the protection of the rights of the children concerned.
The mandate of the Special Rapporteur includes the following:
To read more about the Special Rapporteur’s activities, or view annual or country reports, refer to the relevant OHCHR webpage.