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Convention on the Rights of the Child

Using the CRC and Protocols for children

© UNICEF/HQ04-0711/Pirozzi
Implementation of the Convention through legal and social reform can give all children happy childhoods.

International human rights treaties and agreements such as the CRC and its Optional Protocols are negotiated among United Nations Member States and are legally binding on the individual States that become parties to the agreement. There are two ways for a State to become a party: by signature and ratification or by accession.

In ratifying the Convention or an Optional Protocol, a State accepts an obligation to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights as outlined—including adopting or changing laws and policies that are needed to implement the provisions of the agreement.

The Convention places equal emphasis on all rights for children. There is no such thing as a 'small' right. There is no hierarchy of human rights. Children’s rights are indivisible and interrelated, with a focus on the child as a whole. Governmental decisions with regard to any one right must be made in the light of all the other rights in the Convention.

Governments that ratify the Convention or one of its Optional Protocols must report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the body of experts charged with monitoring States' implementation of the Convention and Optional Protocols. These reports outline the situation of children in the country and explain the measures taken by the State to realize their rights. In its reviews of States’ reports, the Committee urges all levels of government to use the Convention as a guide in policymaking and implementation. And because the protection of human rights is by nature a permanent and ongoing process, there is always room for improvement.



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