United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

Laura, age 6

“The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child represents for me a major and highly desirable change in the way in which the world regards children. At least at the rhetorical level there is now an international consensus that children are persons, holders of human rights, worthy of respect as well as love. The challenge for all of us is much greater than embodying the Convention in our laws and policies; we must also restructure individual attitudes to encompass it so the Convention guides our every action with respect to children and youth.”   Landon Pearson

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is an international human rights instrument which recognizes the fundamental human rights — civil, economic, political and cultural rights — of every person under the age of 18. To date (Jan.2020), 196 Member States have signed and ratified the Convention except for the United States. In so doing, these countries have pledged that they will harmonize national law with the principles of the Convention, and undertake to ensure that children can enjoy the rights laid out in its terms. Canada has taken a leadership role in promoting the rights of children, both domestically and abroad.  I have also posted a copy of a child-friendly edition of the Convention written by a youth committee of the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of the Child.

States Parties undertake to make the principles and provisions of the Convention widely known, by appropriate and active means, to adults and children alike. (Article 42)

  1. What is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)?
  2. Why is the UNCRC unique?
  3. What is the difference between aConvention and a Declaration ?
  4. When Canada ratified the UNCRC, to what did it commit itself?
  5. Do the rights of the child threaten families? (On the contrary!)

Articles of the UNCRC by Subject

General measures of implementation  4, 42, 44

Survival & Development
Basic health and welfare 6,18, 23, 24, 26
Education, leisure and cultural activities  28, 29, 31

Children in situations of emergency 22, 38, 39
Children in exploitation 32, 33, 34, 35, 36
Children in conflict with the law  37, 39, 40
Family environment and alternative care  3, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 27
Children in minorities and indigenous children  30

Civil rights and freedoms 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 37, 42

General measures of implementation  42, 44

Canada’s Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

For more information please visit: Canada’s reporting under the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Not There Yet: Canada’s Implementation of the general measures of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Children: The Silenced Citizens“: Effective implementation of Canada’s international obligations with respect to the rights of children

Youth delegates United Nations special session on children – 2002

​The Unconventional Canadian Youth Edition of the United Nations Convention