The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is a legally-binding international agreement that applies to every child.
It was adopted by the United Nations in November 1989 and every country, with the exception of the United States, has ratified it. This makes it the most widely ratified human rights treaty ever.
Nelson Mandela called it “…that luminous, living document that enshrines the rights of every child without exception, to a life of dignity and self-fulfilment”.
By setting the minimum standards and overarching principles by which every society should treat every child, the UNCRC has played a critical role in catalysing progress for children over the last 30 years.
The UNCRC was based on the Declaration on Child Rights which was written by our founder, Eglantyne Jebb, in 1923.
The UNCRC consists of 54 articles that spell out children’s rights and how governments should work together to make them available to all children.
The UNCRC requires governments to meet children’s basic needs. At its heart is the recognition that every child has fundamental rights. These include the right to:
Three Optional Protocols have been added to UNCRC so that it addresses issues that have emerged since the original treaty was adopted. These cover:
2019 marks the 30th Anniversary of the Convention on Rights of the Child and we have seen unprecedented strides towards realising children’s rights since it was adopted.
But there is still work to be done. Many governments are yet to fully implement the UNCRC and children all over the world continue to suffer violation of their rights on a daily basis.
Every child has the right to survive, learn, be protected, and be heard. We will not stop until every child has the chance to reach their full potential.