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Convention on the Rights of the Child

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history.

Most member nation states (countries) of the United Nations have ratified it, either partly or completely. The United Nations General Assembly agreed to adopt the Convention into international law on November 20, 1989; it came into force in September 1990, after it was ratified by the required number of nations.

According to UNICEF, the Convention has been ratified by 191 countries. Only Somalia and the United States have not ratified the CRC. Somalia is currently unable to proceed to ratification as it has no recognized government.

The Convention generally defines a child as any person under the age of 18 years, unless an earlier age of majority is recognised by a country's law.

  • Every child has the inherent right to life, and States shall ensure to the maximum child survival and development.

  • Every child has the right to a name and nationality from birth.

  • Children shall not be separated from their parents, except by competent authorities for their well-being.

  • States shall facilitate reunification of families by permitting travel into, or out of, their territories.

  • Parents have the primary responsibility for a child's upbringing, but States shall provide them with appropriate assistance and develop child-care institutions.

  • States shall protect children from physical or mental harm and neglect, including sexual abuse or exploitation.

  • States shall provide parentless children with suitable alternative care. The adoption process shall be carefully regulated and international agreements should be sought to provide safeguards and assure legal validity if and when adoptive parents intend to move a child from his or her country of birth.

  • Disabled children shall have the right to special treatment, education and care.

  • Children are entitled to the highest attainable standard of health. States shall ensure that health care is provided to all children, placing emphasis on preventive measures, health education and reduction of infant mortality.

  • Primary education shall be free and compulsory. Discipline in schools shall respect the child's dignity. Education should prepare the child for life in a spirit of understanding, peace and tolerance.

  • Children shall have time to rest and play and equal opportunities for cultural and artistic activities.

  • States shall protect children from economic exploitation and from work that may interfere with their education or be harmful to their health or well-being.

  • States shall protect children from the illegal use of drugs and involvement in drug production or trafficking.

  • All efforts shall be made to eliminate the abduction and trafficking of children.

  • Capital punishment or life imprisonment shall not be imposed for crimes committed before the age of 18.

  • Children in detention shall be separated from adults; they must not be tortured or suffer cruel or degrading treatment.

  • No child under 15 shall take any part in hostilities; children exposed to armed conflict shall receive special protection.

  • Children of minority and indigenous populations shall freely enjoy their own culture, religion and language.

  • Children who have suffered mistreatment, neglect or exploitation shall receive appropriate treatment or training for recovery and rehabilitation.

  • Children involved in infringements of the penal law shall be treated in a way that promotes their sense of dignity and worth and aims at reintegrating them into society.

  • States shall make the rights set out in the Convention widely known to both adults and children.

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Working for the best interest of the child