Child Soldiers and the Law
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and
General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989
entry into force 2 September 1990, in accordance with article 49
[see also Optional
Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 2000]
The States Parties to the present Convention,
Considering that, in accordance with the principles
proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, recognition of the
inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all
members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice
and peace in the world,
Bearing in mind that the peoples of the United Nations have, in the
Charter, reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights and in
the dignity and worth of the human person, and have determined to
promote social progress and better standards of life in larger
Recognizing that the United Nations has, in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenants on
Human Rights, proclaimed and agreed that everyone is entitled to all
the rights and freedoms set forth therein, without distinction of
any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political
or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or
Recalling that, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the
United Nations has proclaimed that childhood is entitled to special
care and assistance,
Convinced that the family, as the fundamental group of society and
the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its
members and particularly children, should be afforded the necessary
protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its
responsibilities within the community,
Recognizing that the child, for the full and harmonious development
of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment,
in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding,
Considering that the child should be fully prepared to live an
individual life in society, and brought up in the spirit of the
ideals proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, and in
particular in the spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom,
equality and solidarity,
Bearing in mind that the need to extend particular care to the child
has been stated in the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child
of 1924 and in the Declaration of the Rights of the Child adopted by
the General Assembly on 20 November 1959 and recognized in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights (in particular in articles 23 and 24),
in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights (in particular in article 10) and in the statutes and
relevant instruments of specialized agencies and international
organizations concerned with the welfare of children, '
Bearing in mind that, as indicated in the Declaration of the Rights
of the Child, "the child, by reason of his physical and mental
immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate
legal protection, before as well as after birth",
Recalling the provisions of the Declaration on Social and Legal
Principles relating to the Protection and Welfare of Children, with
Special Reference to Foster Placement and Adoption Nationally and
Internationally; the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the
Administration of Juvenile Justice (The Beijing Rules) ; and the
Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and
Recognizing that, in all countries in the world, there are children
living in exceptionally difficult conditions, and that such children
need special consideration,
Taking due account of the importance of the traditions and cultural
values of each people for the protection and harmonious development
of the child,
Recognizing the importance of international co-operation for
improving the living conditions of children in every country, in
particular in the developing countries,
Have agreed as follows:
For the purposes of the present Convention, a child
means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the
law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.
1. States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights
set forth in the present Convention to each child within their
jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the
child's or his or her parent's or legal guardian's race, colour, sex,
language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or
social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.
2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that the
child is protected against all forms of discrimination or punishment on
the basis of the status, activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of
the child's parents, legal guardians, or family members.
1. In all actions concerning children, whether
undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of
law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best
interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.
2. States Parties undertake to ensure the child such
protection and care as is necessary for his or her well-being, taking
into account the rights and duties of his or her parents, legal
guardians, or other individuals legally responsible for him or her, and,
to this end, shall take all appropriate legislative and administrative
3. States Parties shall ensure that the institutions, services and
facilities responsible for the care or protection of children shall
conform with the standards established by competent authorities,
particularly in the areas of safety, health, in the number and
suitability of their staff, as well as competent supervision.
States Parties shall undertake all appropriate
legislative, administrative, and other measures for the implementation
of the rights recognized in the present Convention. With regard to
economic, social and cultural rights, States Parties shall undertake
such measures to the maximum extent of their available resources and,
where needed, within the framework of international co-operation.
States Parties shall respect the responsibilities,
rights and duties of parents or, where applicable, the members of the
extended family or community as provided for by local custom, legal
guardians or other persons legally responsible for the child, to
provide, in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the
child, appropriate direction and guidance in the exercise by the child
of the rights recognized in the present Convention.
1. States Parties recognize that every child has the
inherent right to life.
2. States Parties shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the
survival and development of the child.
1. The child shall be registered immediately after birth
and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a
nationality and. as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for
by his or her parents.
2. States Parties shall ensure the implementation of
these rights in accordance with their national law and their obligations
under the relevant international instruments in this field, in
particular where the child would otherwise be stateless.
1. States Parties undertake to respect the right of the
child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality, name and
family relations as recognized by law without unlawful interference.
2. Where a child is illegally deprived of some or all of
the elements of his or her identity, States Parties shall provide
appropriate assistance and protection, with a view to re-establishing
speedily his or her identity.
1. States Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be
separated from his or her parents against their will, except when
competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in
accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is
necessary for the best interests of the child. Such determination may be
necessary in a particular case such as one involving abuse or neglect of
the child by the parents, or one where the parents are living separately
and a decision must be made as to the child's place of residence.
2. In any proceedings pursuant to paragraph 1 of the
present article, all interested parties shall be given an opportunity to
participate in the proceedings and make their views known.
3. States Parties shall respect the right of the child who is separated
from one or both parents to maintain personal relations and direct
contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary
to the child's best interests. 4. Where such separation results from any
action initiated by a State Party, such as the detention, imprisonment,
exile, deportation or death (including death arising from any cause
while the person is in the custody of the State) of one or both parents
or of the child, that State Party shall, upon request, provide the
parents, the child or, if appropriate, another member of the family with
the essential information concerning the whereabouts of the absent
member(s) of the family unless the provision of the information would be
detrimental to the well-being of the child. States Parties shall further
ensure that the submission of such a request shall of itself entail no
adverse consequences for the person(s) concerned.
1. In accordance with the obligation of States Parties
under article 9, paragraph 1, applications by a child or his or her
parents to enter or leave a State Party for the purpose of family
reunification shall be dealt with by States Parties in a positive,
humane and expeditious manner. States Parties shall further ensure that
the submission of such a request shall entail no adverse consequences
for the applicants and for the members of their family.
2. A child whose parents reside in different States
shall have the right to maintain on a regular basis, save in exceptional
circumstances personal relations and direct contacts with both parents.
Towards that end and in accordance with the obligation of States Parties
under article 9, paragraph 1, States Parties shall respect the right of
the child and his or her parents to leave any country, including their
own, and to enter their own country. The right to leave any country
shall be subject only to such restrictions as are prescribed by law and
which are necessary to protect the national security, public order
(ordre public), public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of
others and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the
1. States Parties shall take measures to combat the
illicit transfer and non-return of children abroad.
2. To this end, States Parties shall promote the conclusion of bilateral
or multilateral agreements or accession to existing agreements.
1.States Parties shall assure to the child who is
capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views
freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being
given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.
2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be
provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative
proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a
representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the
procedural rules of national law.
1. The child shall have the right to freedom of
expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart
information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either
orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other
media of the child's choice.
2. The exercise of this right may be subject to certain
restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and
(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others; or
(b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre
public), or of public health or morals.
1. States Parties shall respect the right of the child
to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
2. States Parties shall respect the rights and duties of
the parents and, when applicable, legal guardians, to provide direction
to the child in the exercise of his or her right in a manner consistent
with the evolving capacities of the child.
3. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs may be subject only to
such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect
public safety, order, health or morals, or the fundamental rights and
freedoms of others.
1. States Parties recognize the rights of the child to
freedom of association and to freedom of peaceful assembly.
2. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of these rights other
than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in
a democratic society in the interests of national security or public
safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or
morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
1. No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful
interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence,
nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation.
2. The child has the right to the protection of the law against such
interference or attacks.
States Parties recognize the important function
performed by the mass media and shall ensure that the child has access
to information and material from a diversity of national and
international sources, especially those aimed at the promotion of his or
her social, spiritual and moral well-being and physical and mental
health. To this end, States Parties shall:
(a) Encourage the mass media to disseminate
information and material of social and cultural benefit to the child
and in accordance with the spirit of article 29;
(b) Encourage international co-operation in the production, exchange
and dissemination of such information and material from a diversity
of cultural, national and international sources;
(c) Encourage the production and dissemination of children's books;
(d) Encourage the mass media to have particular regard to the
linguistic needs of the child who belongs to a minority group or who
(e) Encourage the development of appropriate guidelines for the
protection of the child from information and material injurious to
his or her well-being, bearing in mind the provisions of articles 13
1. States Parties shall use their best efforts to ensure
recognition of the principle that both parents have common
responsibilities for the upbringing and development of the child.
Parents or, as the case may be, legal guardians, have the primary
responsibility for the upbringing and development of the child. The best
interests of the child will be their basic concern.
2. For the purpose of guaranteeing and promoting the rights set forth in
the present Convention, States Parties shall render appropriate
assistance to parents and legal guardians in the performance of their
child-rearing responsibilities and shall ensure the development of
institutions, facilities and services for the care of children.
3. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that
children of working parents have the right to benefit from child-care
services and facilities for which they are eligible.
1. States Parties shall take all appropriate
legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect
the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or
abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation,
including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal
guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.
2. Such protective measures should, as appropriate,
include effective procedures for the establishment of social programmes
to provide necessary support for the child and for those who have the
care of the child, as well as for other forms of prevention and for
identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and
follow-up of instances of child maltreatment described heretofore, and,
as appropriate, for judicial involvement.
1. A child temporarily or permanently deprived of his or
her family environment, or in whose own best interests cannot be allowed
to remain in that environment, shall be entitled to special protection
and assistance provided by the State.
2. States Parties shall in accordance with their
national laws ensure alternative care for such a child.
3. Such care could include, inter alia, foster placement, kafalah of
Islamic law, adoption or if necessary placement in suitable institutions
for the care of children. When considering solutions, due regard shall
be paid to the desirability of continuity in a child's upbringing and to
the child's ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic background.
States Parties that recognize and/or permit the system
of adoption shall ensure that the best interests of the child shall be
the paramount consideration and they shall:
(a) Ensure that the adoption of a child is authorized
only by competent authorities who determine, in accordance with
applicable law and procedures and on the basis of all pertinent and
reliable information, that the adoption is permissible in view of the
child's status concerning parents, relatives and legal guardians and
that, if required, the persons concerned have given their informed
consent to the adoption on the basis of such counselling as may be
(b) Recognize that inter-country adoption may be considered as an
alternative means of child's care, if the child cannot be placed in a
foster or an adoptive family or cannot in any suitable manner be cared
for in the child's country of origin;
(c) Ensure that the child concerned by inter-country
adoption enjoys safeguards and standards equivalent to those existing in
the case of national adoption;
(d) Take all appropriate measures to ensure that, in inter-country
adoption, the placement does not result in improper financial gain for
those involved in it;
(e) Promote, where appropriate, the objectives of the present article by
concluding bilateral or multilateral arrangements or agreements, and
endeavour, within this framework, to ensure that the placement of the
child in another country is carried out by competent authorities or
1. States Parties shall take appropriate measures to
ensure that a child who is seeking refugee status or who is considered a
refugee in accordance with applicable international or domestic law and
procedures shall, whether unaccompanied or accompanied by his or her
parents or by any other person, receive appropriate protection and
humanitarian assistance in the enjoyment of applicable rights set forth
in the present Convention and in other international human rights or
humanitarian instruments to which the said States are Parties.
2. For this purpose, States Parties shall provide, as
they consider appropriate, co-operation in any efforts by the United
Nations and other competent intergovernmental organizations or
non-governmental organizations co-operating with the United Nations to
protect and assist such a child and to trace the parents or other
members of the family of any refugee child in order to obtain
information necessary for reunification with his or her family. In cases
where no parents or other members of the family can be found, the child
shall be accorded the same protection as any other child permanently or
temporarily deprived of his or her family environment for any reason ,
as set forth in the present Convention.
1. States Parties recognize that a mentally or
physically disabled child should enjoy a full and decent life, in
conditions which ensure dignity, promote self-reliance and facilitate
the child's active participation in the community.
2. States Parties recognize the right of the disabled
child to special care and shall encourage and ensure the extension,
subject to available resources, to the eligible child and those
responsible for his or her care, of assistance for which application is
made and which is appropriate to the child's condition and to the
circumstances of the parents or others caring for the child.
3. Recognizing the special needs of a disabled child,
assistance extended in accordance with paragraph 2 of the present
article shall be provided free of charge, whenever possible, taking into
account the financial resources of the parents or others caring for the
child, and shall be designed to ensure that the disabled child has
effective access to and receives 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 social integration and individual development,
including his or her cultural and spiritual development
4. States Parties shall promote, in the spirit of international
cooperation, the exchange of appropriate information in the field of
preventive health care and of medical, psychological and functional
treatment of disabled children, including dissemination of and access to
information concerning methods of rehabilitation, education and
vocational services, with the aim of enabling States Parties to improve
their capabilities and skills and to widen their experience in these
areas. In this regard, particular account shall be taken of the needs of
1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to
the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to
facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health.
States Parties shall strive to ensure that no child is deprived of his
or her right of access to such health care services.
2. States Parties shall pursue full implementation of
this right and, in particular, shall take appropriate measures:
(a) To diminish infant and child mortality;
(b) To ensure the provision of necessary medical assistance and health
care to all children with emphasis on the development of primary health
(c) To combat disease and malnutrition, including within the framework
of primary health care, through, inter alia, the application of readily
available technology and through the provision of adequate nutritious
foods and clean drinking-water, taking into consideration the dangers
and risks of environmental pollution;
(d) To ensure appropriate pre-natal and post-natal health care for
(e) To ensure that all segments of society, in particular parents and
children, are informed, have access to education and are supported in
the use of basic knowledge of child health and nutrition, the advantages
of breastfeeding, hygiene and environmental sanitation and the
prevention of accidents;
(f) To develop preventive health care, guidance for parents and family
planning education and services.
3. States Parties shall take all effective and appropriate measures with
a view to abolishing traditional practices prejudicial to the health of
4. States Parties undertake to promote and encourage international
co-operation with a view to achieving progressively the full realization
of the right recognized in the present article. In this regard,
particular account shall be taken of the needs of developing countries.
States Parties recognize the right of a child who has
been placed by the competent authorities for the purposes of care,
protection or treatment of his or her physical or mental health, to a
periodic review of the treatment provided to the child and all other
circumstances relevant to his or her placement.
1. States Parties shall recognize for every child the right to benefit
from social security, including social insurance, and shall take the
necessary measures to achieve the full realization of this right in
accordance with their national law.
2. The benefits should, where appropriate, be granted, taking into
account the resources and the circumstances of the child and persons
having responsibility for the maintenance of the child, as well as any
other consideration relevant to an application for benefits made by or
on behalf of the child.
1. States Parties recognize the right of every child to
a standard of living adequate for the child's physical, mental,
spiritual, moral and social development.
2. The parent(s) or others responsible for the child have the primary
responsibility to secure, within their abilities and financial
capacities, the conditions of living necessary for the child's
3. States Parties, in accordance with national conditions and within
their means, shall take appropriate measures to assist parents and
others responsible for the child to implement this right and shall in
case of need provide material assistance and support programmes,
particularly with regard to nutrition, clothing and housing.
4. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to secure the
recovery of maintenance for the child from the parents or other persons
having financial responsibility for the child, both within the State
Party and from abroad. In particular, where the person having financial
responsibility for the child lives in a State different from that of the
child, States Parties shall promote the accession to international
agreements or the conclusion of such agreements, as well as the making
of other appropriate arrangements.
1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to
education, and with a view to achieving this right progressively and on
the basis of equal opportunity, they shall, in particular:
(a) Make primary education compulsory and available free
(b) Encourage the development of different forms of secondary education,
including general and vocational education, make them available and
accessible to every child, and take appropriate measures such as the
introduction of free education and offering financial assistance in case
(c) Make higher education accessible to all on the basis of capacity by
every appropriate means;
(d) Make educational and vocational information and guidance available
and accessible to all children;
(e) Take measures to encourage regular attendance at schools and the
reduction of drop-out rates.
2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that
school discipline is administered in a manner consistent with the
child's human dignity and in conformity with the present Convention.
3. States Parties shall promote and encourage international cooperation
in matters relating to education, in particular with a view to
contributing to the elimination of ignorance and illiteracy throughout
the world and facilitating access to scientific and technical knowledge
and modern teaching methods. In this regard, particular account shall be
taken of the needs of developing countries.
General comment on its implementation
1. States Parties agree that the education of the child
shall be directed to:
(a) The development of the child's personality, talents
and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential;
(b) The development of respect for human rights and fundamental
freedoms, and for the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United
(c) The development of respect for the child's parents, his or her own
cultural identity, language and values, for the national values of the
country in which the child is living, the country from which he or she
may originate, and for civilizations different from his or her own;
(d) The preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society,
in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and
friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and
persons of indigenous origin;
(e) The development of respect for the natural environment.
2. No part of the present article or article 28 shall be construed so as
to interfere with the liberty of individuals and bodies to establish and
direct educational institutions, subject always to the observance of the
principle set forth in paragraph 1 of the present article and to the
requirements that the education given in such institutions shall conform
to such minimum standards as may be laid down by the State.
In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic
minorities or persons of indigenous origin exist, a child belonging to
such a minority or who is indigenous shall not be denied the right, in
community with other members of his or her group, to enjoy his or her
own culture, to profess and practise his or her own religion, or to use
his or her own language.
1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to
rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities
appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in
cultural life and the arts.
2. States Parties shall respect and promote the right of
the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and shall
encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for
cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity.
1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to be
protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that
is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child's education, or
to be harmful to the child's health or physical, mental, spiritual,
moral or social development.
2. States Parties shall take legislative,
administrative, social and educational measures to ensure the
implementation of the present article. To this end, and having regard to
the relevant provisions of other international instruments, States
Parties shall in particular:
(a) Provide for a minimum age or minimum ages for
admission to employment;
(b) Provide for appropriate regulation of the hours and conditions of
(c) Provide for appropriate penalties or other sanctions to ensure the
effective enforcement of the present article.
States Parties shall take all appropriate measures,
including legislative, administrative, social and educational measures,
to protect children from the illicit use of narcotic drugs and
psychotropic substances as defined in the relevant international
treaties, and to prevent the use of children in the illicit production
and trafficking of such substances.
States Parties undertake to protect the child from all
forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. For these purposes,
States Parties shall in particular take all appropriate national,
bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent:
(a) The inducement or coercion of a child to engage in
any unlawful sexual activity;
(b) The exploitative use of children in prostitution or other unlawful
(c) The exploitative use of children in pornographic performances and
States Parties shall take all appropriate national,
bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent the abduction of, the
sale of or traffic in children for any purpose or in any form.
States Parties shall protect the child against all other
forms of exploitation prejudicial to any aspects of the child's welfare.
States Parties shall ensure that:
(a) 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
imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age;
(b) No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or
arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be
in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last
resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time;
(c) Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and
respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a manner
which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age. In
particular, every child deprived of liberty shall be separated from
adults unless it is considered in the child's best interest not to do so
and shall have the right to maintain contact with his or her family
through correspondence and visits, save in exceptional circumstances;
(d) Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to
prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as well as the
right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his or her liberty
before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority,
and to a prompt decision on any such action.
1. States Parties undertake to respect and to ensure
respect for rules of international humanitarian law applicable to them
in armed conflicts which are relevant to the child.
2. States Parties shall take all feasible measures to
ensure that persons who have not attained the age of fifteen years do
not take a direct part in hostilities.
3. States Parties shall refrain from recruiting any person who has not
attained the age of fifteen years into their armed forces. In recruiting
among those persons who have attained the age of fifteen years but who
have not attained the age of eighteen years, States Parties shall
endeavour to give priority to those who are oldest.
4. In accordance with their obligations under international humanitarian
law to protect the civilian population in armed conflicts, States
Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure protection and care
of children who are affected by an armed conflict.
States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to
promote physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of
a child victim of: any form of neglect, exploitation, or abuse; torture
or any other form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment; or armed conflicts. Such recovery and reintegration shall
take place in an environment which fosters the health, self-respect and
dignity of the child.
1. States Parties recognize the right of every child
alleged as, accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law
to be treated in a manner consistent with the promotion of the child's
sense of dignity and worth, which reinforces the child's respect for the
human rights and fundamental freedoms of others and which takes into
account the child's age and the desirability of promoting the child's
reintegration and the child's assuming a constructive role in society.
2. To this end, and having regard to the relevant
provisions of international instruments, States Parties shall, in
particular, ensure that:
(a) No child shall be alleged as, be accused of, or recognized as having
infringed the penal law by reason of acts or omissions that were not
prohibited by national or international law at the time they were
(b) Every child alleged as or accused of having infringed the penal law
has at least the following guarantees:
(i) To be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law;
(ii) To be informed promptly and directly of the charges against him or
her, and, if appropriate, through his or her parents or legal guardians,
and to have legal or other appropriate assistance in the preparation and
presentation of his or her defence;
(iii) To have the matter determined without delay by a competent,
independent and impartial authority or judicial body in a fair hearing
according to law, in the presence of legal or other appropriate
assistance and, unless it is considered not to be in the best interest
of the child, in particular, taking into account his or her age or
situation, his or her parents or legal guardians;
(iv) Not to be compelled to give testimony or to confess guilt; to
examine or have examined adverse witnesses and to obtain the
participation and examination of witnesses on his or her behalf under
conditions of equality;
(v) If considered to have infringed the penal law, to have this decision
and any measures imposed in consequence thereof reviewed by a higher
competent, independent and impartial authority or judicial body
according to law;
(vi) To have the free assistance of an interpreter if the child cannot
understand or speak the language used;
(vii) To have his or her privacy fully respected at all stages of the
proceedings. 3. States Parties shall seek to promote the establishment
of laws, procedures, authorities and institutions specifically
applicable to children alleged as, accused of, or recognized as having
infringed the penal law, and, in particular:
(a) The establishment of a minimum age below which children shall be
presumed not to have the capacity to infringe the penal law;
(b) Whenever appropriate and desirable, measures for dealing with such
children without resorting to judicial proceedings, providing that human
rights and legal safeguards are fully respected.
4. A variety of dispositions, such as care, guidance and supervision
orders; counselling; probation; foster care; education and vocational
training programmes and other alternatives to institutional care shall
be available to ensure that children are dealt with in a manner
appropriate to their well-being and proportionate both to their
circumstances and the offence.
Nothing in the present Convention shall affect any
provisions which are more conducive to the realization of the rights of
the child and which may be contained in:
(a) The law of a State party; or
(b) International law in force for that State.
States Parties undertake to make the principles and
provisions of the Convention widely known, by appropriate and active
means, to adults and children alike.
1. For the purpose of examining the progress made by
States Parties in achieving the realization of the obligations
undertaken in the present Convention, there shall be established a
Committee on the Rights of the Child, which shall carry out the
functions hereinafter provided.
2. The Committee shall consist of ten experts of high
moral standing and recognized competence in the field covered by this
Convention. The members of the Committee shall be elected by States
Parties from among their nationals and shall serve in their personal
capacity, consideration being given to equitable geographical
distribution, as well as to the principal legal systems. (amendment)
3. The members of the Committee shall be elected by secret ballot from a
list of persons nominated by States Parties. Each State Party may
nominate one person from among its own nationals.
4. The initial election to the Committee shall be held no later than six
months after the date of the entry into force of the present Convention
and thereafter every second year. At least four months before the date
of each election, the Secretary-General of the United Nations shall
address a letter to States Parties inviting them to submit their
nominations within two months. The Secretary-General shall subsequently
prepare a list in alphabetical order of all persons thus nominated,
indicating States Parties which have nominated them, and shall submit it
to the States Parties to the present Convention.
5. The elections shall be held at meetings of States Parties convened by
the Secretary-General at United Nations Headquarters. At those meetings,
for which two thirds of States Parties shall constitute a quorum, the
persons elected to the Committee shall be those who obtain the largest
number of votes and an absolute majority of the votes of the
representatives of States Parties present and voting.
6. The members of the Committee shall be elected for a term of four
years. They shall be eligible for re-election if renominated. The term
of five of the members elected at the first election shall expire at the
end of two years; immediately after the first election, the names of
these five members shall be chosen by lot by the Chairman of the
7. If a member of the Committee dies or resigns or declares that for any
other cause he or she can no longer perform the duties of the Committee,
the State Party which nominated the member shall appoint another expert
from among its nationals to serve for the remainder of the term, subject
to the approval of the Committee.
8. The Committee shall establish its own rules of procedure.
9. The Committee shall elect its officers for a period of two years.
10. The meetings of the Committee shall normally be held at United
Nations Headquarters or at any other convenient place as determined by
the Committee. The Committee shall normally meet annually. The duration
of the meetings of the Committee shall be determined, and reviewed, if
necessary, by a meeting of the States Parties to the present Convention,
subject to the approval of the General Assembly.
11. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall provide the
necessary staff and facilities for the effective performance of the
functions of the Committee under the present Convention.
12. With the approval of the General Assembly, the members of the
Committee established under the present Convention shall receive
emoluments from United Nations resources on such terms and conditions as
the Assembly may decide.
1. States Parties undertake to submit to the Committee,
through the Secretary-General of the United Nations, reports on the
measures they have adopted which give effect to the rights recognized
herein and on the progress made on the enjoyment of those rights:
(a) Within two years of the entry into force of the
Convention for the State Party concerned;
(b) Thereafter every five years.
2. Reports made under the present article shall indicate factors and
difficulties, if any, affecting the degree of fulfilment of the
obligations under the present Convention. Reports shall also contain
sufficient information to provide the Committee with a comprehensive
understanding of the implementation of the Convention in the country
3. A State Party which has submitted a comprehensive initial report to
the Committee need not, in its subsequent reports submitted in
accordance with paragraph 1 (b) of the present article, repeat basic
information previously provided.
4. The Committee may request from States Parties further information
relevant to the implementation of the Convention.
5. The Committee shall submit to the General Assembly, through the
Economic and Social Council, every two years, reports on its activities.
6. States Parties shall make their reports widely available to the
public in their own countries.
In order to foster the effective implementation of the
Convention and to encourage international co-operation in the field
covered by the Convention:
(a) The specialized agencies, the United Nations
Children's Fund, and other United Nations organs shall be entitled to be
represented at the consideration of the implementation of such
provisions of the present Convention as fall within the scope of their
mandate. The Committee may invite the specialized agencies, the United
Nations Children's Fund and other competent bodies as it may consider
appropriate to provide expert advice on the implementation of the
Convention in areas falling within the scope of their respective
mandates. The Committee may invite the specialized agencies, the United
Nations Children's Fund, and other United Nations organs to submit
reports on the implementation of the Convention in areas falling within
the scope of their activities;
(b) The Committee shall transmit, as it may consider appropriate, to the
specialized agencies, the United Nations Children's Fund and other
competent bodies, any reports from States Parties that contain a
request, or indicate a need, for technical advice or assistance, along
with the Committee's observations and suggestions, if any, on these
requests or indications;
(c) The Committee may recommend to the General Assembly to request the
Secretary-General to undertake on its behalf studies on specific issues
relating to the rights of the child;
(d) The Committee may make suggestions and general recommendations based
on information received pursuant to articles 44 and 45 of the present
Convention. Such suggestions and general recommendations shall be
transmitted to any State Party concerned and reported to the General
Assembly, together with comments, if any, from States Parties.
The present Convention shall be open for signature by all States.
The present Convention is subject to ratification. Instruments of
ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United
The present Convention shall remain open for accession by any State. The
instruments of accession shall be deposited with the Secretary-General
of the United Nations.
1. The present Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day
following the date of deposit with the Secretary-General of the United
Nations of the twentieth instrument of ratification or accession.
2. For each State ratifying or acceding to the Convention after the
deposit of the twentieth instrument of ratification or accession, the
Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the deposit
by such State of its instrument of ratification or accession.
1. Any State Party may propose an amendment and file it with the
Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Secretary-General shall
thereupon communicate the proposed amendment to States Parties, with a
request that they indicate whether they favour a conference of States
Parties for the purpose of considering and voting upon the proposals. In
the event that, within four months from the date of such communication,
at least one third of the States Parties favour such a conference, the
Secretary-General shall convene the conference under the auspices of the
United Nations. Any amendment adopted by a majority of States Parties
present and voting at the conference shall be submitted to the General
Assembly for approval.
2. An amendment adopted in accordance with paragraph 1 of the present
article shall enter into force when it has been approved by the General
Assembly of the United Nations and accepted by a two-thirds majority of
3. When an amendment enters into force, it shall be binding on those
States Parties which have accepted it, other States Parties still being
bound by the provisions of the present Convention and any earlier
amendments which they have accepted.
1. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall
receive and circulate to all States the text of reservations made by
States at the time of ratification or accession.
2. A reservation incompatible with the object and
purpose of the present Convention shall not be permitted.
3. Reservations may be withdrawn at any time by notification to that
effect addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who
shall then inform all States. Such notification shall take effect on the
date on which it is received by the Secretary-General
A State Party may denounce the present Convention by
written notification to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Denunciation becomes effective one year after the date of receipt of the
notification by the Secretary-General.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations is
designated as the depositary of the present Convention.
The original of the present Convention, of which the
Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish texts are equally
authentic, shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United
IN WITNESS THEREOF the undersigned plenipotentiaries,
being duly authorized thereto by their respective governments, have
signed the present Convention.