The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the first legally binding international treaty governing children’s rights. It defines the fundamental rights of the child and covers all aspects of child protection.
The CRC was unanimously adopted on the 20 November 1989, at the UN General Assembly. Since then, this date has become the Universal Children’s Day. The text of the CRC has been ratified by almost all countries in the world, except for the United States and Somalia.
54 articles for the protection of the rights of the child
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is written in a positive, forward spirit, asking the States which have ratified it to create conditions enabling children to participate in the social and political life of their country.
The first article of the CRC stipulates that anyone below the age of 18 is to be considered as a child. The text holds that the best interests of the child should be a primary concern to each State. It encompasses all human rights: civil, political, economical, social and cultural, and recognizes that the enjoyment of a right should not be separated from the enjoyment of other rights.
The CRC also show that for his intellectual, moral and spiritual development, the child must live in a healthy, safe environment. He must have access to a minimum standard of healthcare, food, shelter and clothing.
The Convention has broadened the application of human rights, by protecting the child against all forms of exploitation, by dealing with cases of children belonging to minority and indigenous groups, and by dealing with drug addiction and abandonment. It also recognizes the vital role played by the family and parents in the care and protection of the child, as well as the State’s obligation to assist them in this role.
In 2000, the CRC was further strengthened by the adoption of two additional protocols, subjected to ratification by the States:
- The first protocol concerns the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
- The second protocol concerns child involvement in armed conflicts.
- The third protocol came into force in 2014, after being adopted in 2011. It enables children from countries which have ratified this protocol (or their representatives) to file a complaint to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, if they judge that a right guaranteed by the Convention and its two previous optional protocols has not been respected by their government.
Universal Children’s Day
The 20 November, the date that the Convention was adopted, has been chosen as Universal Children’s Day; an occasion that reminds us that children’s rights are still being violated. BICE is active on this day, raising public awareness of the cause of children and an understanding of children’s rights.
BICE rewarded for ten years of efforts on behalf of children
Between 1979 and 1989, BICE played a major role in the development of the CRC. For 10 years, NGOs led by BICE and Defence for Children International (DCI), member States of the Human Rights Commission and UNICEF worked together to create an international legal basis for children’s rights.
The adoption of the CRC on 20 November 1989 was the culmination of these efforts. BICE has left its mark on the text, through a global vision of the child with a spiritual and moral dimension. BICE is governed on a daily basis by the principles set out in this treaty and continues to work towards its implementation.