Convention on the Rights of the Child

There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected, that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want and that they can grow up in peace.

~ Kofi Annan

Also known as the ‘Children’s Convention’, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in November 1989. The Children’s Convention covers some of the same civil, political, economic and social rights outlined in the Universal Declaration and the International Covenants. It defines ‘child’ as young people up to the age of 18. Whilst most adolescents do not want to be seen or treated as children, they are still included under the Convention, because, despite their growing autonomy, they remain dependent on adults to meet many of their basic needs for health and development. These needs are defined by the Convention as ‘rights’.

The Convention recognises that all children should grow up in an environment of happiness, love and understanding, as provided by families. Parents or guardians have the right to provide direction and guidance to their children, but they also have responsibilities to respect the child’s rights and to recognise the growing capacity and judgement of young people as they grow from the dependency of childhood to the independence of adulthood. The grounding principle of the Convention is that in all matters concerning children, the best interests of the child should have priority.