Michael J. Allen

Class of 2018 - 2019

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Summary of the UN Convention

on the Rights of the Child


What Rights?


Article 1

Everyone under 18 years of age

has all the rights in this Convention.


Article 2

The Convention applies to everyone

whatever their race, religion, abilities,

whatever they think or say, whatever

type of family they come from.


Article 3

All organisations concerned with

children should work towards what

is best for each child.


Article 4

Governments should make these

rights available to children


Article 5

Governments should respect the rights and

responsibilities of families to direct and guide

their children so that, as they grow, they learn

to use their rights properly.


Article 6

All children have the right to life.

Governments should ensure that children

survive and develop healthily.


Article 7

All children have the right to a legally

registered name, and nationality. Also the

right to know and, as far as possible, to be

cared for, by their parents.


Article 8

Governments should respect children's right

to a name, a nationality and family ties.


Article 9

Children should not be separated from their

parents unless it is for their own good. For

example, if a parent is mistreating or neglecting

a child. Children whose parents have separated

have the right to stay in contact with both

parents, unless this might hurt the child.


Article 10

Families who live in different countries should

be allowed to move between those countries so

that parents and children can stay in contact,

or get back together as a family.


Article 11

Governments should take steps to stop children

being taken out of their own country illegally.


Article 12

Children have the right to say what they think

should happen, when adults are making

decisions that affect them, and to have their

opinions taken into account.


Article 13

Children have the right to get and to share

information, as long as the information is not

damaging to them or to others.


Article 14

Children have the right to think and believe

what they want, and to practise their religion,

as long as they are not stopping other people

from enjoying their rights. Parents should

guide their children on these matters.


Article 15

Children have the right to meet together

and to join groups and organisations,

as long as this does not stop other people

from enjoying their rights.


Article 16

Children have a right to privacy. The law

should protect them from attacks against

their way of life, their good name, their

families and their homes.


Article 17

Children have the right to reliable

information from the mass media.

Television, radio, and newspapers should

provide information that children can

understand, and should not promote

materials that could harm children.


Article 18

All parents share responsibility for

bringing up their children, and should

always consider what is best for each child.

Governments should help parents by

providing services to support them,

especially if all parents work.


Article 19

Governments should ensure that children

are properly cared for, and protect them from

violence, abuse and neglect by their parents,

or anyone else who looks after them.


Article 20

Children who cannot be looked after by their

own family must be looked after properly, by

people who respect their religion, culture and



Article 21

When children are adopted the first concern

must be what is best for them. The same rules

should apply whether the children are adopted

in the country where they were born, or if they

are taken to live in another country.


Article 22

Children who come into a country as refugees

should have the same rights as children born

in that country.


Article 23

Children who have any kind of disability

should have special care and support, so that

they can lead full and independent lives.


Article 24

Children have the right to good quality

health care, to clean water, nutritious food,

and a clean environment, so that they

will stay healthy. Rich countries should

help poorer countries achieve this.


Article 25

Children who are looked after by their local

authority, rather than by their parents, should

have their situation reviewed regularly.


Article 26

The Government should provide extra money

for the children of families in need.



Article 27

Children have a right to a standard of living

that is good enough to meet their physical and

mental needs. The Government should help

families who cannot afford to provide this.


Article 28

Children have a right to an education.

Discipline in schools should respect children’s

human dignity. Primary education should be

free. Wealthy countries should help poorer

countries achieve this.


Article 29

Education should develop each child's

personality and talents to the full. It should

encourage children to respect their parents,

and their own and other cultures.


Article 30

Children have a right to learn and use the

language and customs of their families,

whether these are shared by the

majority of people in the country or not.


Article 31

All children have a right to relax and play,

and to join in a wide range of activities.


Article 32

The Government should protect children

from work that is dangerous, or that might

harm their health or their education.


Article 33

The Government should provide ways of

protecting children from dangerous drugs.


Article 34

The Government should protect

children from sexual abuse.


Article 35

The Government should make sure that

children are not abducted or sold.


Article 36

Children should be protected from any activities

that could harm their development.


Article 37

Children who break the law should not be treated

cruelly. They should not be put in prison with

adults and should be able to keep in contact

with their families.


Article 38

Governments should not allow children

under 15 to join the army. Children in

war zones should receive special protection.


Article 39

Children who have been neglected or abused should

receive special help to restore their self-respect.


Article 40

Children who are accused of breaking

the law should receive legal help. Prison

sentences for children should only be used

for the most serious offences.


Article 41

If the laws of a particular country protect

children better than the articles of the

Convention, then those laws should stay.


Article 42

The Government should make the Convention

known to all parents and children.




The Convention on the rights of the child has

54 articles in all. Articles 43-54 are about how

adults and governments should work together

to make sure all children get all their rights.

A convention is an agreement between countries

to obey the same law. When the government of

a country ratifies a convention, that means it agrees

to obey the law written down in that convention.



A legally binding instrument

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights.

In 1989, world leaders decided that children needed a special convention just for them because people under 18 years old often need special care and protection that adults do not. The leaders also wanted to make sure that the world recognized that children have human rights too.

The Convention sets out these rights in 54 articles and two Optional Protocols. It spells out the basic human rights that children everywhere have: the right to survival; to develop to the fullest; to protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation; and to participate fully in family, cultural and social life.

The four core principles of the Convention are

  • non-discrimination;

  • devotion to the best interests of the child; t

  • he right to life, survival and development;

  • respect for the views of the child.

Every right spelled out in the Convention is inherent to the human dignity and harmonious development of every child. The Convention protects children's rights by setting standards in health care; education; and legal, civil and social services.

By agreeing to undertake the obligations of the Convention (by ratifying or acceding to it), national governments have committed themselves to protecting and ensuring children's rights and they have agreed to hold themselves accountable for this commitment before the international community.

States parties to the Convention are obliged to develop and undertake all actions and policies in the light of the best interests of the child.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain

and Northern Ireland ratified the

Convention on the Rights of the Child on

16 December 1991.