Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
Of 20 November 1989 (Entry into Force: 02 September 1990)
The Convention on the Rights of the Child guarantees children (persons up to their 18th birthday) protection and support in order to develop their personalities. For this purpose children are awarded general human rights and rights based on the particular need for protection. Because of the limited character of children's participation in societal life, their views hardly play into the decision-making process of the state.
196 Contracting States (as at 4 January 2016; current count)
Obligations of Contracting States
The Convention on the Rights of the Child obliges the contracting parties to honour and guarantee the rights of the child established in this convention. They shall take all appropriate measures in legislation and administration to ensure that these rights are supported. Analogous to the obligations of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, all contracting states are obliged to realize the economic, social and cultural rights in the Convention on the Rights of the Child to the full degree, by exhausting all possible resources and, if necessary, through international co-operation.
Optional Protocols of 2000
On 25 May 2000 the UN-General Assembly adopted two optional protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child:
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict
Entry into force: 12 February 2002, 166 Contracting States (as at 2 May 2017; current count)
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
Entry into force: 18 January 2002, 173 Contracting States (as at 2 May 2017; current count)
Third Optional Protocol of 2011: Individual complaints mechanism
Text: English (pdf, 9 pages)
On 19 December 2011, the UN General Assembly adopted the Third Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child establishing a complaints procedure for violations of children’s rights. It allows bringing complaints before the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) regarding the violation of individual rights of the convention or the two Optional Protocols agreed on in 2000, with reference to the sale of children, child prostitution as well as related to the involvement of children in armed conflicts. The protocol was published for signature and ratification on 28 February 2012. It entered into force on 14 April 2014 after the tenth ratification by a State (Costa Rica). 34 states have ratified the Protocol, 50 have signed it (as at 2 May 2017; current count).
- Key UN body can now hear complaints from children whose rights have been violated
Media release by the UN News Centre, 14 January 2014
In Art. 12, the Optional Protocol includes inter-State communications. A State party to the present Protocol may declare that it recognizes the competence of the Committee to receive and consider communications in which a State party claims that another State party is not fulfilling its obligations under any of the following instruments to which the State is a party: The Convention, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography or the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the involvement of children in armed conflict. Art. 13 provides an inquiry procedure allowing the Committee to take action of its own accord in the case of grave or systematic violations of rights guaranteed in the Convention and the Optional Protocols by a signatory state. This authority of the Committee can be nullified by the signatory states by means of a respective declaration (Art. 13, Para. 7).
- Information on the Third Optional Protocol (in German)
Netzwerk Kinderrechte Schweiz
The contracting parties of the Convention on the Rights of the Child are obliged to report to the Committee for the Rights of the Child on designed measures aimed at realizing the listed in the convention and in both optional protocols as well as on achieved improvements and difficulties in the domestic implementation of guarantees. The first report is released two years after entry into force and all five years thereafter (Art. 44).
- UN-Committee on the Rights of the Child
Page on humanrights.ch