CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
Enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) are four general principles that extend legal recognition to the rights of children.
1. Article 2: Non-discrimination
State parties must ensure that all children within their Jurisdiction enjoy their rights. No child should suffer discrimination. This applies to every child, "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. Article 3: Best Interests of the Child
When governments make decisions that affect children, the best interests of children must be a primary consideration. This principle relates to decisions by courts of law, administrative authorities, legislative bodies and both public and private social-welfare institutions.
3. Article 6: The Right to Life, Survival and Development
This article is related to the right to survival and to development, which governments must ensure "to the maximum extent possible". The term "development" in this context should be interpreted in a broad sense, referring to physical, mental, emotional, cognitive, social and cultural development.
4. Article 12: The Views of the Child
Children have a right to participate in all matters affecting them, and those views should be given due weight "in accordance with the age and maturity of the child". In short, children have the right to be heard and to have their views taken seriously.
Because of the CRC, human rights are fundamental to UNICEF’s work as a development agency. In Article 45 of the CRC, UNICEF is specifically mandated to help foster the implementation of child rights. We do this in conjunction with our efforts to promote the human rights of women as well, for neither can be realised without the other.