What is the UNCRC?
UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD (UNCRC)
Every child has the right to survival, protection and education, and to have their voice heard.
The UNCRC is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history.
It sets out the rights of children in 54 articles and is guided by four key beliefs:
- Children should not suffer discrimination (Article 2).
- In all decisions affecting children, their best interests should be the main concern (Article 3).
- Children have the right to survive and develop healthily (Article 6).
- Children have the right to have their views taken into account in matters that affect them (Article 12).
Below are the 54 articles (or ‘rights’) that make up the international Convention on the Rights of the Child:
Article 1 – A child means every human being below the age of eighteen.
Article 2 – State parties must ensure all rights apply to children regardless of their age race, religion, gender, wealth or birthplace.
Article 3 – All signatories of the convention must work towards actions in the best interests of the child.
Article 4 – Governments must make these rights available to all children.
Article 5 – Governments and parents must ensure children are equipped with the knowledge to understand their rights.
Article 6 – All children have the right to a life of fullness.
Article 7 – Governments should respect a child’s right to a name and nationality.
Article 8 – Governments must respect a child’s right to their own identity.
Article 9 – Children should not be removed from their parents unless for their own good.
Article 10 – Families living in different countries should be able to move between them so families can keep in contact or get back together as a family.
Article 11 – Governments must take all measures to combat the illegal removal of children from their country.
Article 12 – Children have the right to their opinion and can say what they think should happen.
Article 13 – Children have the right to freedom of expression and can seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds.
Article 14 – Governments should respect the right of children to have freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
Article 15 – Children have the right to freedom of association.
Article 16 – Children have the right to their privacy.
Article 17 – Governments should ensure children have access to information and material from a diversity of national and international sources, especially those aimed at the promotion of his or her social, spiritual and moral well-being and health.
Article 18 – Parents have a responsibility for bringing up their child and should always consider what is best.
Article 19 – Governments should ensure children are protected from violence and neglect.
Article 20 – Children who cannot be cared for by their own parents should be looked after by people who respect their religion, culture and language.
Article 21 – When a child is adopted, their best interests should be the utmost priority.
Article 22 – Children who enter a country as refugees should have the same rights as children born in that country.
Article 23 – Children with any kind of disability must have special care and support.
Article 24 – Children have the right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health. Governments should work towards the development of healthcare and diminish disease and child mortality.
Article 25 – Children have the right to have their situation reviewed by their local authorities regularly.
Article 26 – Governments should provide the right resources for children if they need to benefit from social security.
Article 27 – All children have the right to a quality standard of living that meets their mental and physical standards and should be helped if they can’t reach this themselves.
Article 28 – All children have the right to an education.
Article 29 – Education should help the development of a child’s personality, talents and physical abilities so they can reach their full potential.
Article 30 – Children have the right to practice their own religion or language
Article 31 – All children have the right to rest and leisure, and to engage in play and recreational activities. They can participate fully in cultural life and the arts.
Article 32 – Governments must protect children from economic exploitation or performing work that can interfere with their education or could be harmful to their development.
Article 33 – Governments must take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect children from the illicit use of drugs and prevent use of children in trafficking substances.
Article 34 – Governments must protect children from sexual abuse.
Article 35 – Governments must protect children from being abducted, sold or trafficked at all costs.
Article 36 – Children must be protected from all forms of activities that can harm their development.
Article 37 – Children who break the law should not be treated cruelly and not imprisoned with adults. They should also be able to contact their families.
Article 38 – Governments should not allow any child under the age of sixteen to join the army.
Article 39 – Governments should take all appropriate measures to promote physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of children exposed to neglect, exploitation or abuse.
Article 40 – Children accused of breaking the law should receive legal help.
Article 41 – If the laws of a country protect a child better than the articles of the convention, then the laws should be followed.
Article 42 – The government should make the convention known to parents and children.
Articles 43 – 54 – These remaining 11 articles contain methods for institutions, organisations and individuals to ensure children’s rights are formally put in place.
You can download a pdf version of the UNCRC here.