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A summary of the UN Convention

on the Rights of the Child


Article 1 (definition of the child) Article 13 (freedom of expression) Article 24 (health and health services) Article 36 (other forms of exploitation)
Everyone under the age of 18 has all the Every child must be free to express their Every child has the right to the best Governments must protect children
rights in the Convention. thoughts and opinions and to access all possible health. Governments must from all other forms of exploitation, for
kinds of information, as long as it is within provide good quality health care, clean example the exploitation of children for
Article 2 (non-discrimination) the law. water, nutritious food, and a clean political activities, by the media or for
The Convention applies to every child environment and education on health medical research.
without discrimination, whatever their Article 14 (freedom of thought, and well-being so that children can stay
ethnicity, gender, religion, language, belief and religion) healthy. Richer countries must help poorer Article 37 (inhumane treatment
abilities or any other status, whatever Every child has the right to think and countries achieve this. and detention)
they think or say, whatever their family believe what they choose and also to Children must not be tortured,
background. practise their religion, as long as they are Article 25 (review of treatment in care) sentenced to the death penalty or suffer
not stopping other people from enjoying If a child has been placed away from other cruel or degrading treatment
Article 3 (best interests of the child) their rights. Governments must respect home for the purpose of care or or punishment. Children should be
The best interests of the child must be a the rights and responsibilities of parents to protection (for example, with a foster arrested, detained or imprisoned only
top priority in all decisions and actions that guide their child as they grow up. family or in hospital), they have the right as a last resort and for the shortest time
affect children. to a regular review of their treatment, possible. They must be treated with
Article 15 (freedom of association) the way they are cared for and their respect and care, and be able to keep in
Article 4 (implementation of Every child has the right to meet with wider circumstances. contact with their family. Children must
the Convention) other children and to join groups and not be put in prison with adults.
Governments must do all they can to make organisations, as long as this does not stop Article 26 (social security)
sure every child can enjoy their rights by other people from enjoying their rights. Every child has the right to benefit from Article 38 (war and armed conflicts)
creating systems and passing laws that social security. Governments must Governments must not allow children
promote and protect childrens rights. Article 16 (right to privacy) provide social security, including financial under the age of 15 to take part in war
Every child has the right to privacy. The law support and other benefits, to families in or join the armed forces. Governments
Article 5 (parental guidance and a should protect the childs private, family need of assistance. must do everything they can to protect
childs evolving capacities) and home life, including protecting children and care for children affected by war and
Governments must respect the rights and from unlawful attacks that harm their Article 27 (adequate standard of living) armed conflicts.
responsibilities of parents and carers to reputation. Every child has the right to a standard of
provide guidance and direction to their living that is good enough to meet their Article 39 (recovery from trauma
child as they grow up, so that they fully Article 17 (access to information physical and social needs and support and reintegration)
enjoy their rights. This must be done in a from the media) their development. Governments must Children who have experienced neglect,
way that recognises the childs increasing Every child has the right to reliable help families who cannot afford to abuse, exploitation, torture or who are
capacity to make their own choices. information from a variety of sources, provide this. victims of war must receive special
and governments should encourage the support to help them recover their health,
Article 6 (life, survival and development) media to provide information that children Article 28 (right to education) dignity, self-respect and social life.
Every child has the right to life. can understand. Governments must help Every child has the right to an education.
Governments must do all they can to protect children from materials that could Primary education must be free and Article 40 (juvenile justice)
ensure that children survive and develop to harm them. different forms of secondary education A child accused or guilty of breaking
their full potential. must be available to every child. Discipline the law must be treated with dignity
Article 18 (parental responsibilities in schools must respect childrens dignity and respect. They have the right to legal
Article 7 (birth registration, name, and state assistance) and their rights. Richer countries must help assistance and a fair trial that takes
nationality, care) Both parents share responsibility for poorer countries achieve this. account of their age. Governments must
Every child has the right to be registered at bringing up their child and should always set a minimum age for children to be
birth, to have a name and nationality, and, consider what is best for the child. Article 29 (goals of education) tried in a criminal court and manage a
as far as possible, to know and be cared Governments must support parents by Education must develop every childs justice system that enables children who
for by their parents. creating support services for children and personality, talents and abilities to the have been in conflict with the law to
giving parents the help they need to raise full. It must encourage the childs respect reintegrate into society.
Article 8 (protection and preservation their children. for human rights, as well as respect
of identity) for their parents, their own and other Article 41 (respect for higher
Every child has the right to an identity. Article 19 (protection from violence, cultures, and the environment. national standards)
Governments must respect and protect abuse and neglect) If a country has laws and standards that
that right, and prevent the childs name, Governments must do all they can to Article 30 (children from minority go further than the present Convention,
nationality or family relationships from ensure that children are protected from all or indigenous groups) then the country must keep these laws.
being changed unlawfully. forms of violence, abuse, neglect and bad Every child has the right to learn and
treatment by their parents or anyone else use the language, customs and religion Article 42 (knowledge of rights)
Article 9 (separation from parents) who looks after them. of their family, whether or not these are Governments must actively work to
Children must not be separated from their shared by the majority of the people in make sure children and adults know
parents against their will unless it is in their Article 20 (children unable to live the country where they live. about the Convention.
best interests (for example, if a parent is with their family)
hurting or neglecting a child). Children If a child cannot be looked after by Article 31 (leisure, play and culture) The Convention has 54 articles in total.
whose parents have separated have the their immediate family, the government Every child has the right to relax, play and Articles 4354 are about how adults
right to stay in contact with both parents, must give them special protection and take part in a wide range of cultural and and governments must work together to
unless this could cause them harm. assistance. This includes making sure artistic activities. make sure all children can enjoy all their
the child is provided with alternative care rights, including:
Article 10 (family reunification) that is continuous and respects the childs Article 32 (child labour)
Governments must respond quickly and culture, language and religion. Governments must protect children from Article 45
sympathetically if a child or their parents economic exploitation and work that is Unicef can provide expert advice and
apply to live together in the same country. Article 21 (adoption) dangerous or might harm their health, assistance on childrens rights.
If a childs parents live apart in different Governments must oversee the process of development or education. Governments
countries, the child has the right to visit adoption to make sure it is safe, lawful and must set a minimum age for children to
and keep in contact with both of them. that it prioritises childrens best interests. work and ensure that work conditions
Children should only be adopted outside of are safe and appropriate. Optional Protocols
Article 11 (abduction and non-return their country if they cannot be placed with There are three agreements, called
of children) a family in their own country. Article 33 (drug abuse) Optional Protocols, that strengthen the
Governments must do everything they can Governments must protect children from Convention and add further unique
to stop children being taken out of their Article 22 (refugee children) the illegal use of drugs and from being rights for children. They are optional
own country illegally by their parents or If a child is seeking refuge or has refugee involved in the production or distribution because governments that ratify the
other relatives, or being prevented from status, governments must provide them of drugs. Convention can decide whether or not
returning home. with appropriate protection and assistance to sign up to these Optional Protocols.
to help them enjoy all the rights in the Article 34 (sexual exploitation) They are: the Optional Protocol on the
Article 12 (respect for the views Convention. Governments must help Governments must protect children from sale of children, child prostitution and
of the child) refugee children who are separated from all forms of sexual abuse and exploitation. child pornography, the Optional Protocol
Every child has the right to express their their parents to be reunited with them. on the involvement of children in armed
views, feelings and wishes in all matters Article 35 (abduction, sale conflict and the Optional Protocol on
affecting them, and to have their views Article 23 (children with a disability) and trafficking) a complaints mechanism for children
considered and taken seriously. This right A child with a disability has the right to live Governments must protect children from (called Communications Procedure).
applies at all times, for example during a full and decent life with dignity and, as far being abducted, sold or moved illegally
immigration proceedings, housing decisions as possible, independence and to play an to a different place in or outside their For more information go to
or the childs day-to-day home life. active part in the community. Governments country for the purpose of exploitation. unicef.org.uk/crc/op
must do all they can to support disabled
children and their families.