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Convention on the Rights of the Child

Every child is born with rights


The recognition given to human rights is relatively recent, beginning with the Charter of the United Nations in 1945 -- and, three years later, with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which proclaim that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

The acknowledgement that children have the same human rights as adults is even more recent. For much of human history, children’s needs were viewed from a lens of charity and kindness. But on 20 November 1989, after more than a decade of negotiations, the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) -- the first and only human rights instrument to focus specifically on the rights and freedoms of persons under the age of 18.

The CRC, the most widely ratified human rights instrument in the world, outlines in 54 articles the various rights that all children around the world are entitled to.  While families are central to the realisation of these rights, the primary responsibility for the protection of these rights is given to governments. Enshrined in the CRC are four general principles that extend legal recognition to the rights of children:

§ Article 2: Non-discrimination

§ Article 3: Best interests of the child

§ Article 6: The right to life, survival and development

§ Article 12: Views of the Child

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 tandem with our efforts to promote the human rights of women as well, for neither can be realised without the other.





Convention on the Rights of the Child

Malaysia: child rights

Celebrating 20 years of children's rights

Resources - CRC

CRC Overview
CRC Full Text
Fact Sheets
 CRC Overview
 CRC Summary
 CRC Committee
 CRC Take Action


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