The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and business
The CRC is the most widely ratified UN human rights treaty. The CRC contains a broad range of rights for all children (defined as persons under the age of 18) and is the only human rights treaty that covers civil and political, and economic, social and cultural rights. It also guarantees the special and unique rights of childhood that give children the right to:
- Survival and development;
- Guidance and nurturance of a family;
- Protection from all forms of violence, abuse and exploitation
- Play; and
- Express their views and make decisions about their lives according to age level, stage of maturity and evolving capacities.
The CRC is a unique and forward-looking document, visionary and practical. More than 10 years in the making, it was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989 and has since been ratified by 193 states, achieving near universal coverage.Its realization requires the implementation of legislation, including the regulation of corporate conduct with relation to children, adoption of public policy and allocation of adequate budgetary resources by all ratifying states. The CRC places primary responsibility on states, but it also acknowledges that other actors with a role in the lives of children – including parents, teachers, institutions and business –are accountable to children for protecting their rights.
The CRC can serve as a valuable resource for companies seeking for information beyond the Children's Rights and Business Principles. Notably, the CRC:
- Is universally supported.
- Provides a common framework for navigating diverse cultures and legal systems.
- Fits into the established framework of corporate responsibility to respect all human rights.
- Offers a vision of the world fit for children that business can support.
The Implementation Handbook for the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Fully revised third edition in PDF format - hard copy can be ordered here). This Handbook provides a record and analysis of the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. There are Implementation Checklists for each article. The Handbook includes the two Optional Protocols to the Convention, and their guidelines for reporting.