United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

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Convention on the Rights of the Child

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Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by the UN General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989. Entered into force on September 2, 1990.

Relevant Provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Article 2

Right of the child to be protected from discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status; and also from discrimination or punishment on the basis of the status, activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of the child’s parents, legal guardians, or family members.

Article 3

In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities of legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.

Article 12

1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.

Article 13

Freedom of expression.

Article 14

Freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Article 15

Freedom of association and of peaceful assembly.

Article 16

1. No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation.

2. The child has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 37

a) No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offenses committed by persons below eighteen years of age;

b) No child shall be deprived of his liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time;

c) Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a manner which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age. Every child deprived of liberty shall be separated from adults unless it is considered in the child’s best interest not to do so and shall have the right to maintain contact with his or her family through correspondence and visits, save in exceptional circumstances;

d) Every child deprived of his liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as well as the right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his liberty before a court of other competent, independent and impartial authority, and to a prompt decision on any such action.

Article 40

1. Right of the child alleged as, accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law to be treated in manner consistent with the promotion of the child’s sense of dignity and worth, which reinforces the child’s respect for human rights and freedoms of others which takes into account child’s age and desirability of promoting the child’s reintegration and the child’s assuming a constructive role in society.

2. a) No child shall be alleged as, be accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law by reason of acts or omissions that were not prohibited by national or international law at the time they were committed,

b) Every child alleged as or accused of having infringed the penal law has at least the following guarantees:

(i) to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law;

(ii) to be informed promptly and directly of the charges against him, and, if appropriate, through his parents or legal guardians, and to have legal or other appropriate assistance in the preparation and presentation of his or her defense;

(iii) to have the matter determined without delay by a competent, independent and impartial authority or judicial body in a fair hearing according to law, in the presence of legal or other appropriate assistance and, unless it is considered not to be in the best interest of the child, in particular, taking into account his age or situation, his parents of legal guardians;

(iv) not to be compelled to give testimony or to confess guilt; to examine or have examined adverse witness and to obtain the participation and examination of witnesses on his or her behalf under conditions of equality;

(v) if considered to have infringed the penal law, to have this decision and any measures imposed in consequence thereof reviewed by a higher competent, independent and impartial authority or judicial body according to law;

(vi) to have the free assistance of an interpreter if the child cannot understand or speak the language used;

(vii) to have his privacy fully respected at all stages of the proceedings.

3. State Parties shall seek to promote the establishment of laws, procedures, authorities and institutions specifically applicable to children alleged as, accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law, and, in particular:

a)The establishment of a minimum age below which children shall be presumed not to have the capacity to infringe the penal law;

b)Whenever appropriate and desirable, measures for dealing with such children without resorting to judicial proceedings, providing that human rights and legal safeguards are fully respected.

4. A variety of dispositions, such as care, guidance and supervision orders; counseling; probation; foster care; education and vocational training programmes and other alternatives to institutional care shall be available to ensure that children are dealt with in a manner appropriate to their well-being and proportionate both to their circumstances and the offence.

Status of Signature, Ratification, and Accession to the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Country Signature Ratification/Accession
Afghanistan 27 September 1990 28 March 1994
Albania 26 January 1990 27 February 1992
Algeria 26 January 1990 16 April 1993
Andorra 2 October 1995 2 January 1996
Angola 14 February 1990 5 December 1990
Antigua and Barbuda 12 March 1991 5 October 1993
Argentina 29 June 1990 4 December 1990
Armenia - 23 June 1993
Australia 22 August 1990 17 December 1990
Austria 26 August 1990 6 August 1992
Azerbaijan - 13 August 1992
Bahamas 30 October 1990 20 February 1991
Bahrain - 13 February 1992
Bangladesh 26 January 1990 3 August 1990
Barbardos 19 April 1990 9 October 1990
Belarus 26 January 1990 1 October 1990
Belgium 26 January 1990 16 December 1991
Belize 2 March 1990 2 May 1990
Benin 25 April 1990 3 August 1990
Bhutan 4 June 1990 1 August 1990
Bolivia 8 March 1990 26 June 1990
Bosnia and Herzegovina - 1 September 1993
Botswana - 14 March 1995
Brazil 26 January 1990 24 September 1990
Brunei Darussalam - 27 December 1995
Bulgaria 31 May 1990 3 June 1991
Burkina Faso 26 January 1990 31 August 1990
Burundi 8 May 1990 19 October 1990
Cambodia - 15 October 1992
Cameroon 25 September 1990 11 January 1993
Canada 28 May 1990 31 December 1991
Cape Verde - 4 June 1992
Central African Republic 30 July 1990 23 April 1992
Chad 30 September 1990 2 October 1990
Chile 26 January 1990 13 August 1990
China 29 August 1990 2 March 1992
Colombia 26 January 1990 28 January 1991
Comoros 30 September 1990 22 June 1993
Congo - 14 October 1993
Cook Islands - 6 June 1997
Costa Rica 26 January 1990 21 August 1990
Ivory Coast 26 January 1990 4 February 1991
Croatia - 12 October 1992
Cuba 26 January 1990 21 August 1991
Cyprus 5 October 1990 7 February 1991
Czech Republic - 22 February 1993
Democratic Peaople's Republic of Korea 23 August 1990 21 September 1990
Democratic Republic of the Congo 20 March 1990 27 September 1990
Denmark 26 January 1990 19 July 1991
Djibouti 30 September 1990 6 December 1990
Dominica 26 January 1990 13 March 1991
Dominican Republic 8 August 1990 11 June 1991
Ecuador 26 January 1990 23 March 1990
Egypt 5 February 1990 6 July 1990
El Salvador 26 January 1990 10 July 1990
Equatorial Guinea - 15 June 1992
Eritrea 20 December 1993 3 August 1994
Estonia - 21 October 1991
Ethiopia - 14 May 1991
Fiji 2 July 1993 13 August 1993
Finland 26 January 1990 20 June 1991
France 26 January 1990 7 August 1990
Gabon 26 January 1990 9 February 1994
Gambia 5 February 1990 8 August 1990
Georgia - 2 June 1994
Germany 26 January 1990 6 March 1992
Ghana 29 January 1990 5 February 1990
Greece 26 January 1990 11 May 1993
Grenade 21 February 1990 5 November 1990
Guatemala 26 January 1990 6 June 1990
Guinea - 13 July 1990
Guinea Bissau 26 January 1990 20 August 1990
Guyana 30 September 1990 14 January 1991
Holy See 20 April 1990 20 April 1990
Honduras 31 May 1990 10 August 1990
Hungary 14 March 1990 7 October 1991
Iceland 26 January 1990 28 October 1992
India - 11 December 1992
Indonesia 26 January 1990 5 September 1990
Iran (Islamic Republic of) 5 September 1991 13 July 1994
Iraq - 15 June 1994
Ireland 30 September 1990 28 September 1992
Israel 3 July 1990 3 October 1991
Italy 26 January 1990 5 September 1991
Jamaica 26 January 1990 14 May 1991
Japan 21 September 1990 22 April 1994
Jordan 29 August 1990 24 May 1991
Kazakhstan 16 February 1994 12 August 1994
Kenya 26 January 1990 30 July 1990
Kiribati - 11 December 1995
Kuwait 7 June 1990 21 October 1991
Kyrgyzstan - 7 October 1994
Lao People's Democratic Republic - 8 May 1991
Latvia - 14 April 1992
Lebanon 26 January 1990 14 May 1991
Lesotho 21 August 1990 10 March 1992
Liberia 26 April 1990 4 June 1993
Libyan Ara Jamahiriya - 15 April 1993
Liechtenstien 30 September 1990 22 December 1995
Lithuania - 31 January 1992
Luxembourg 21 March 1990 7 March 1994
Magadascar 19 April 1990 19 March 1991
Malawi - 2 January 1991
Malaysia - 17 February 1995
Maldives 21 August 1990 11 February 1991
Mali 26 January 1990 20 September 1990
Malta 26 January 1990 30 September 1990
Marshall Islands 14 April 1993 4 October 1993
Mauritania 26 January 1990 16 May 1991
Mauritius - 26 July 1990
Mexico 26 January 1990 21 September 1990
Micronesia (Federal States of) - 5 May 1993
Monaco - 21 June 1993
Mongolia 26 January 1990 5 July 1990
Montenegro - 23 October 2006
Morocco 26 January 1990 21 June 1993
Mozambique 30 September 1990 26 April 1994
Myanmar - 15 July 1991
Namibia 26 January 1990 30 September 1990
Nauru - 27 July 1994
Nepal 26 January 1990 14 September 1990
Netherlands 26 January 1990 6 February 1995
New Zealand 1 October 1990 6 April 1993
Nicaragua 6 February 1990 5 October 1990
Niger 26 January 1990 30 September 1990
Nigeria 26 January 1990 19 April 1991
Niue - 20 December 1995
Norway 26 January 1990 8 January 1991
Oman - 9 December 1996
Pakistan 20 September 1990 12 November 1990
Palau - 4 August 1995
Panama 26 January 1990 12 December 1990
Papua New Guinea 30 September 1990 2 March 1993
Paraguay 4 April 1990 25 September 1990
Peru 26 January 1990 4 September 1990
Philippines 26 January 1990 21 August 1990
Poland 26 January 1990 7 June 1991
Portugal 26 January 1990 21 September 1990
Qatar 8 December 1992 3 April 1995
Republic of Korea 25 September 1990 20 November 1991
Republic of Moldova - 26 January 1993
Romania 26 January 1990 28 September 1990
Russian Federation 26 January 1990 16 August 1990
Rwanda 26 January 1990 24 January 1991
Samoa 30 September 1990 29 November 1994
San Marino - 25 November 1991
Sao Tome and Principe - 14 May 1991
Saudi Arabia - 26 January 1996
Senegal 26 January 1990 31 July 1990
Serbia - 12 March 2001
Seychelles - 7 September 1990
Sierra Leone 13 February 1990 18 June 1990
Singapore - 5 October 1995
Slovakia - 28 May 1993
Slovenia - 6 July 1992
Solomon Islands - 10 April 1995
Somalia 9 May 2002 -
South Africa 29 January 1993 16 June 1995
Spain 26 January 1990 6 December 1990
Sri Lanka 26 January 1990 12 July 1991
St Kitts and Nevis 26 January 1990 24 July 1990
St Lucia 30 September 1990 16 June 1993
St Vincent and the Grenadines 20 September 1993 26 October 1993
Sudan 24 July 1990 3 August 1990
Suriname 26 January 1990 1 March 1993
Swaziland 22 August 1990 7 September 1995
Sweden 26 January 1990 29 June 1990
Switzerland 1 May 1991 24 February 1997
Syrian Arab Republic 18 September 1990 15 July 1993
Tajikistan - 26 October 1993
Thailand - 27 March 1992
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - 2 December 1993
Timor Leste - 16 April 2003
Togo 26 January 1990 1 August 1990
Tonga - 6 November 1995
Trinidad and Tobago 30 September 1990 5 December 1991
Tunisia 26 February 1990 30 January 1992
Turkey 14 September 1990 4 April 1995
Turkmenistan - 20 September 1993
Tuvalu - 22 September 1995
Uganda 17 August 1990 17 August 1990
Ukraine 21 February 1990 28 August 1991
United Arab Emirates - 3 January 1997
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 19 April 1990 16 December 1991
United Republic of Tanzania 1 June 1990 10 June 1991
United State of America 16 February 1995 -
Uruguay 26 January 1990 20 November 1990
Uzbekistan - 29 June 1994
Vanuatu 30 September 1990 7 July 1993
Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) 26 January 1990 13 September 1990
Viet Nam 26 January 1990 28 February 1990
Yemen 13 February 1990 1 May 1991
Zambia 30 September 1990 6 December 1991
Zimbabwe 8 March 1990 11 September 1990


See International Law