|A UNICEF protection officer helps a boy laugh again following an earthquake in Indonesia.|
UNICEF's work for the overall protection of childhood is guided by the principles and standards established by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In advocating to protect children's rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential, UNICEF helps to change the legal and policy framework of States parties and to improve understanding of the Convention itself at all levels of society.
Among other activities, UNICEF works in nearly 160 countries to support ratification and implementation of the Convention and the Optional Protocols on the involvement of children in armed conflict and on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. UNICEF draws attention to the duties of governments, families, communities and individuals to respect those rights and supports them in doing so.
UNICEF also supports the Committee on the Rights of the Child, which monitors implementation of the Convention and Optional Protocols by States parties. UNICEF is given a special role under the Convention with respect to monitoring. In addition to contributing advice and assistance to the Committee, UNICEF facilitates broad consultations within States to maximize the accuracy and impact of reports to the Committee.
For more information on the work of UNICEF, see 'What we do'.
Definition of key terms [PDF]