United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

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Convention on the Rights of the Child


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 Signatures, Ratifications, and Accessions to the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Country Signature Ratification/Accession
Afghanistan 4 February 1985 1 April 1987
Albania - 11 May 1994
Algeria 26 November 1985 12 September 1989
Andorra 5 August 2002 22 September 2006
Antigua and Barbuda - 19 July 1993
Argentina 4 February 1985 24 September 1986
Armenia - 13 September 1993
Australia 10 December 1985 8 August 1989
Austria 14 March 1985 29 July 1987
Azerbaijan - 16 August 1996
Bahamas 16 December 2008 -
Bahrain - 6 March 1998
Bangladesh - 5 October 1998
Belarus 19 December 1985 13 March 1987
Belgium 4 February 1985 25 June 1999
Belize - 17 March 1986
Benin - 12 March 1992
Bolivia 4 February 1985 12 April 1999
Bosnia and Herzegovina - 1 September 1993
Botswana 8 September 2000 8 September 2000
Brazil 23 September 1985 28 September 1989
Bulgaria 10 June 1986 16 December 1986
Burkina Faso - 4 January 1999
Burundi - 18 February 1993
Cambodia - 15 October 1992
Cameroon - 19 December 1986
Canada 23 August 1985 24 June 1987
Cape Verde - 4 June 1992
Chad - 9 June 1995
Chile 23 September 1987 30 September 1988
China 12 December 1986 4 October 1988
Colombia 10 April 1985 8 December 1987
Comoros 22 September 2000 -
Congo - 30 July 2003
Costa Rica 4 February 1985 11 November 1993
Ivory Coast - 18 December 1995
Croatia - 12 October 1992
Cuba 27 January 1986 17 May 1995
Cyprus 9 October 1985 18 July 1991
Czech Republic - 22 February 1993
Democratic Republic of the Congo - 18 March 1996
Denmark 4 February 1985 27 May 1987
Djibouti - 5 November 2002
Dominican Republic 4 February 1985 -
Ecuador 4 February 1985 30 March 1988
Egypt - 25 June 1986
El Salvador - 17 June 1996
Equatorial Guinea - 8 October 2002
Estonia - 21 October 1991
Ethiopia - 14 March 1994
Finland 4 February 1985 30 August 1989
France 4 February 1985 18 February 1986
Gabon 21 January 1986 8 September 2000
Gambia 23 October 1985 -
Georgia - 26 October 1994
Germany 13 October 1986 1 October 1990
Ghana 7 September 2000 7 September 2000
Greece 4 February 1985 6 October 1988
Guatemala - 5 January 1990
Guinea 30 May 1986 10 October 1989
Guinea Bissau 12 September 2000 -
Guyana 25 January 1988 19 May 1988
Holy See - 26 June 2002
Honduras - 5 December 1996
Hungary 28 November 1986 15 April 1987
Iceland 4 February 1985 23 October 1998
Iraq - 7 July 2011
Ireland 28 September 1992 11 April 2002
Israel 22 October 1986 3 October 1991
Italy 4 February 1985 12 January 1989
Japan - 29 June 1999
Jordan - 13 November 1991
Kazakhstan - 26 August 1998
Kenya - 21 February 1997
Kuwait - 8 March 1996
Kyrgyzstan - 5 September 1997
Lao People's Democratic Republic 21 September 2010 -
Latvia - 14 April 1992
Lebanon - 5 October 2000
Lesotho - 12 November 2001
Liberia - 22 September 2004
Libyan Ara Jamahiriya - 16 May 1989
Liechtenstien 27 June 1985 2 November 1990
Lithuania - 1 February 1996
Luxembourg 22 February 1985 29 September 1987
Magadascar 1 October 2001 13 December 2005
Malawi - 11 June 1996
Maldives - 20 April 2004
Mali - 26 February 1999
Malta - 13 September 1990
Mauritania - 17 November 2004
Mexico 18 March 1985 23 January 1986
Monaco - 6 December 1991
Mongolia - 24 January 2002
Montenegro - 23 October 2006
Morocco 8 January 1986 21 June 1993
Mozambique - 14 September 1999
Namibia - 28 November 1994
Naura 12 November 2001 -
Nepal - 14 May 1991
Netherlands 4 February 1985 21 December 1988
New Zealand 14 January 1986 10 December 1989
Nicaragua 15 April 1985 5 July 2005
Niger - 5 October 1998
Nigeria 28 July 1988 28 June 2001
Norway 4 February 1985 9 July 1986
Pakistan 17 April 2008 23 June 2010
Palau 20 September 2011 -
Panama 22 February 1985 24 August 1987
Paraguay 23 October 1989 12 March 1990
Peru 29 May 1985 7 July 1988
Philippines - 18 June 1986
Poland 13 January 1986 26 July 1989
Portugal 4 February 1985 9 February 1989
Qatar - 11 January 2000
Republic of Korea - 9 January 1995
Republic of Moldova - 28 November 1995
Romania - 18 December 1990
Russian Federation 10 December 1985 3 March 1987
Rwanda - 15 December 2008
San Marino 18 September 2002 27 November 2006
Sao Tome and Principe 6 September 2000 -
Saudi Arabia - 23 September 1997
Senegal 4 February 1985 21 August 1986
Serbia - 12 March 2001
Seychelles - 5 May 1992
Sierra Leone 18 March 1985 25 April 2001
Slovakia - 28 May 1993
Slovenia - 16 July 1993
Somalia - 24 January 1990
South Africa 29 January 1993 10December1998
Spain 4 February 1985 21 October 1987
Sri Lanka - 3 January 1994
St Vincent and the Grenadines - 1 August 2001
Sudan 4 June 1986 -
Swaziland - 26 March 2004
Sweden 4 February 1985 8 January 1986
Switzerland 4 February 1985 2 December 1986
Syrian Arab Republic - 19 August 2004
Tajikistan - 11 January 1995
Thailand - 2 October 2007
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - 12 December 1994
Timor Leste - 16 April 2003
Togo 25 March 1987 18 November 1987
Tunisia 26 August 1987 23 September 1988
Turkey 25 January 1988 2 August 1988
Turkmenistan - 25 June 1999
Uganda - 3 November 1986
Ukraine 27 February 1986 24 February 1987
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 15 March 1985 8 December 1988
United State of America 18 April 1988 21 October 1994
Uruguay 4 February 1985 24 October 1986
Uzbekistan - 28 September 1995
Vanuatu - 12 July 2011
Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) 15 February 1985 29 July 1991
Yemen - 5 November 1991
Zambia - 7 October 1998


See International Law