The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

- Abridged

1. 18 YEARS OF AGE - Everyone under 18 years of age is a child, unless the state has another statutory age of majority.

2. NO DISCRIMINATION - The rights set forth in the Convention apply to all children without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parents’ race, colour, sex, language, religion, ethnic or social origin, property, disability or political or other opinion. The state shall ensure that the child is protected against all forms of discrimination.

3. BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD - In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by the authorities or organisations, the primary consideration shall be the best interests of the child. The state shall ensure that the institutions and services responsible for the care or protection of children shall conform with the established standards, particularly in the areas of safety and health, in the number and suitability of their staff, as well as competent supervision.

4. THE STATE’S RESPONSIBILITY - The state is responsible for the implementation of the rights of the child.

5. PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY - The state shall respect the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents and other guardians have to provide the child appropriate direction and guidance in the exercise by the child of the rights recognised in the Convention.

6. RIGHT TO LIFE - The state shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child.

7. NAME AND NATIONALITY - Immediately after birth the child has the right to a name and a nationality and, as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.

8. IDENTITY - The state undertakes to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality, name and family relations. Where a child is illegally deprived of his or her identity, the state shall provide assistance with a view to re-establishing speedily his or her identity.

9. KEEPING THE FAMILY TOGETHER - The child shall not be separated from his or her parents against his or her will, except when necessary in consideration of what is best for the child.

10. FAMILY REUNIFICATION - Applications to enter or leave a state for the purpose of family reunification shall be dealt with in a positive, humane and expeditious manner. The child shall have the right to maintain on a regular basis contact with both parents.

11. ILLICIT TRANSFER AND NON-RETURN - The state shall take measures to combat the illicit transfer and non-return of children abroad, and to this end shall enter into agreements with other countries.

12. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION - The child has the right to express his or her views in all matters affecting the child, and the child’s views shall be given their due weight.

13. FREEDOM OF INFORMATION - The child has the right to freedom of expression, to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds and in all forms.

14. FREEDOM OF THOUGHT, CONSCIENCE AND RELIGION - The child has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The state shall respect the rights and duties of the parents to provide direction to the child regarding his or her rights in such matters.

15. FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION - The child shall have the right to freedom of association and to freedom of peaceful assembly.

16. RIGHT TO A PRIVACY - No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence. The child shall be protected from unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation.

17 MASS MEDIA - The state shall ensure the child has access to information from a diversity of national and international sources. The state shall encourage the mass media to publish and disseminate information, which creates understanding, knowledge, social skills and well-being, and to produce suitable material for children, including minority children. The state shall protect children from information and material injurious to their well-being.

18. PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY - Both parents have a primary responsibility for the child’s care and development according to what is best for the child. The state shall render assistance and ensure the development of institutions, facilities and services for the care of children, including taking children of working parents into consideration.

19. PROTECTION FROM ABUSE - The state shall protect the child from physical or mental abuse, neglect or exploitation by parents or any other person who has the care of the child.

20. CHILDREN DEPRIVED OF FAMILY CARE - A child deprived of his or her family environment is especially entitled to protection and care, for example foster placement, or if necessary, placement in suitable institutions or adoption.

21 ADOPTION - National and international adoption shall only be undertaken pursuant to the law, and shall be authorised by the authorities. Inter-country adoption shall not result in improper financial gain for those involved, and should be considered as an alternative to childcare in the child’s country of origin.

22. REFUGEE CHILDREN - A child who is seeking refugee status or who is considered a refugee shall receive appropriate protection and humanitarian assistance. The state shall in co-operation with international organisations assist an unaccompanied child to be reunited with his or her parents

23. DISABLED CHILDREN - A mentally or physically disabled child has the right to enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions which ensure dignity, promote self-reliance and facilitate the child’s active participation in the community. A disabled child has the right to special care. The child shall be provided with education, training, health-care services, rehabilitation services, preparation for employment and recreation opportunities in a manner conducive to the child’s achieving the fullest possible integration and individual development. The state shall co-operate with other countries on this and particular account shall be taken of the needs of developing countries.

24. HEALTH - The child has the right to the enjoyment of the best possible medical treatment of illness and assistance in rehabilitation of health. The state shall take appropriate measures to diminish infant and child mortality, ensure the provision of necessary medical assistance to all children, provide good post-natal health care for mothers, combat disease and provide information and education on health and proper nutrition. The state shall also abolish traditional practices prejudicial to the health of children, co-operate with other countries, and particularly take into account the needs of developing countries.

25. CHILDREN UNDER CARE OF THE AUTHORITIES - A child placed under care outside of the family environment is entitled to periodic review of the treatment and his or her placement.

26. SOCIAL SERVICES - The state shall ensure that the child receives the social assistance and financial support he or she is entitled to in accordance with national law.

27. STANDARD OF LIVING - The child is entitled to a standard of living, which is adequate in all areas. The parent(s) or others responsible for the child have the primary responsibility to secure the conditions of living necessary for the child’s development. The state has the obligation of supporting the parent(s) or others responsible for the child.

28. EDUCATION - The child has the right to education. The state shall make primary education compulsory and free and make different forms of secondary education available to every child, and take measures to reduce drop-out rates. School discipline shall be administered in a manner consistent with the child’s human dignity. The state shall also promote international co-operation in matters relating to education, and particular account shall be taken of the needs of developing countries.

29. OBJECTIVE OF THE EDUCATION - The education shall promote the development of the child’s personality and mental and physical abilities. It shall promote the development of respect for human rights and understanding of peace, tolerance and friendship among all peoples. The education shall develop respect for the natural environment and the child’s own culture and the culture of others.

30. MINORITIES AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLES - A child belonging to a minority or indigenous peoples shall not be denied the right to enjoy his or her own culture, religion and language.

31. PLAY AND RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES - The child has the right to rest and leisure and to engage in play, recreational activities and cultural and artistic life.

32. CHILD LABOUR - The child has the right to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work which might interfere with his or her education or development.

33. NARCOTICS - The child has the right to be protected from the illicit use, trafficking and production of narcotic substances.

34 SEXUAL EXPLOITATION - The child has the right to protection from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. For these purposes the state shall take all appropriate national and international measures.

35. ABDUCTION, PROSTITUTION AND SALE - The state shall take all appropriate national and international measures to prevent kidnapping, abduction or trafficking of children for any purpose or in any form.

36. OTHER FORMS OF EXPLOITATION - The state shall protect the child against all other forms of exploitation prejudicial to the child’s welfare.

37. IMPRISONMENT, DEATH PENALTY AND TORTURE - 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 allowed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age. A child who is deprived of his or her liberty shall be separated from adults unless it is considered in the child’s best interest not to do so. Imprisonment shall only be used as a last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time. Arrest and detention shall be in conformity with the law and the child has the right to legal and other appropriate assistance, and to a prompt and independent review of his or her case.

38 CHILDREN IN WAR - The state shall implement measures to ensure that persons who have not attained the age of fifteen years do not take direct part in hostilities.

39. REHABILITATION AND REINTEGRATION - The state shall take all appropriate measures to ensure rehabilitation and social reintegration of a child victim of: abuse, exploitation, neglect, torture, armed conflicts or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

40. INFRINGEMENT OF PENAL LAW - A child who is accused or convicted of a criminal offence has the right to be treated in a manner which will ensure his or her dignity and promote his or her respect for human rights. The objective is that the child shall find a constructive place in the community. The state shall establish a minimum age for legal proceedings. It shall be possible to have a higher authority or judicial body review a conviction. The child shall receive free assistance of an interpreter if he or she does not speak the language used.

41. WHEN OTHER LAWS ARE BETTER - If other national or international laws the state has passed are more conducive to the realisation of the rights of the child than the provisions in the Convention, these laws shall apply, and not those provisions in the Convention.

42. INFORMING ABOUT THE CONVENTION - The state undertakes to make the principles and provisions of the Convention known to adults and children alike.