Adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations
On 20 November 1989
Preamble Part I Part II Part III
Unofficial summary of main provisions 


The preamble recalls the basic principles of the United Nations and specific provisions of certain relevant human rights treaties and proclamations.  It reaffirms the fact that children, because of their vulnerability, need special care and protection, and it places special emphasis on the primary caring and protective responsibility of the family.  It also reaffirms the need for legal and other protection of the child before and after birth, the importance of respect for the cultural values of the child’s community, and the vital role of international cooperation in securing children’s rights. 

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Article 1- Definition of a child 

A child is recognized as a person under 18, unless national laws recognize the age of majority earlier. 

Article 2- Non-discrimination 

All rights apply to all children without exception.  It is the State’s obligation to protect children from any form of discrimination and to take positive action to promote their rights. 

Article 3- Best interests of the child 

All actions concerning the child shall take full account of his of her best interests.  The State shall provide the child with adequate care when parents, or others charged with that responsibility, fail to do so. 

Article 4- Implementation of rights 

The States must do all it can to implement the rights contained in the Convention. 

Article 5- Parental guidance and the child’s evolving capacities 

The State must respect the rights and responsibilities of parents and the extended family to provide guidance for the child  which is appropriate to her or his evolving capacities. 

Article 6- Survival and development 

Every child has the inherent right to life, and the State has an obligation to ensure the child’s survival and development. 

Article 7- Name and nationality 

The child has the right to a name at birth.  The child also has the right to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, to know his or her parents and be cared for by them. 

Article 8- Preservation of identity 

The State has an obligation to protect, and if necessary, re-establish basic aspects of the child’s identity.  This includes name, nationality and family ties. 

Article 9- Separation from parents 

The child has a right to live with his or her parents unless this is deemed to be incompatible with the child’s best interests.  The child also has the right to maintain contact with both parents if separated from one or both. 

Article 10- Family reunification 

Children and their parents have the right to leave any country and enter their own for purposes of reunion or the maintenance of the child-parent relationship. 

Article 11- Illicit transfer and non-return 

The State has an obligation to prevent and remedy the kidnapping or retention of children abroad by a parent or third party. 

Article 12- The child’s opinion 

The child has the right to express his or her opinion freely and to have that opinion taken into account in any matter of procedure affecting the child. 

Article 13- Freedom of expression 

The child has the right to express his or her views, obtain information, make ideas or information known, regardless of frontiers. 

Article 14- Freedom of thought, conscience and religion 

The State shall respect the child’s right to freedom of thought, conscience  and religion, subject to appropriate parental guidance. 

Article 15- Freedom of association 

Children have a right to meet with others, and to join or form associations. 

Article 16- Protection of privacy 

Children have the right to protection from interference with privacy, family, home and correspondence, and from libel or slander. 

Article 17- Access to appropriate information 

The State shall ensure the accessibility to children of information and material from a diversity of sources, and it shall encourage the mass media to disseminate information which is social and cultural benefit to the child, and take steps to protect him or her from harmful materials. 

Article 18- Parental responsibilities 

Parents have joint primary responsibility for raising the child, and the State shall support them in this.  The State shall provide appropriate assistance to parents in child-raising. 

Article 19- Protection from abuse and neglect 

The State shall protect the child from all forms of maltreatment by parents or others responsible for the care of the child and establish appropriate social programs for the prevention of abuse and the treatment of victims. 

Article 20- Protection of a child without family 

The State is obliged to provide special protection for a child deprived of the family environment and to ensure that appropriate alternative family care or institutional  placement is available in such cases.  Efforts to meet this obligation shall pay due regard to the child’s cultural background. 

Article 21- Adoption 

In countries where adoption is recognized and/or allowed, it shall only be carried out in the best interests of the child, and then only with the authorization of competent authorities, and safeguards for the child. 

Article 22- Refugee children 

Special protection shall be granted to a refugee child or to a child seeking refugee status.  It is the State’s obligation to cooperate with competent organizations which provide such protection and assistance. 
Article 23 Disabled children 

A disabled child has the right to special care, education and training to help him or her enjoy a full and decent life in dignity and achieve the greatest degree of self-reliance and social integration possible. 

Article 24- Health and health services 

The child has a right to the highest standard of health and medical care attainable.  States shall place special emphasis on the provision of primary and preventive health care, public health education and the reduction of infant mortality.  They shall encourage international co-operation in this regard and strive to see that no child is deprived of access to effective health services. 

Article 25- Periodic review of placement 

A child who is placed by the State for reasons of care, protection or treatment is entitled to have that evaluated regularly. 

Article 26- Social security 

The child has the right to benefit from social security including social insurance. 

Article 27- Standard of living 

Every child has the right to a standard of living adequate for his or her physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.  Parents have the primary responsibility to ensure that the child has an adequate standard of living.  The State’s duty is to ensure that this responsibility can be fulfilled, and is.  State responsibility can include material assistance to parents and their children. 
Article 28- Education 

The child has a right to education, and the State’s duty is to ensure that primary education is free and compulsory, to encourage different forms of secondary education accessible to every child and to make higher education available to all on the basis of capacity.  School discipline shall be consistent with the child’s rights and dignity.  The State shall engage in international co-operation to implement this right. 
Article 29- Aims of education 

Education shall aim at developing  the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to the fullest extent.  Education shall prepare the child for an active adult life in a free society and foster respect for the child’s parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values, and for the cultural background and values of others. 

Article 30- Children of minorities or indigenous populations 

Children of minority communities and indigenous populations have the right to enjoy their own culture and to practice their own religion and language. 

Article 31- Leisure, recreation and cultural activities 

The child has the right to leisure, play and participation in cultural and artistic activities. 

Article 32- Child labor 
The child has the right to be protected from work that threatens his or her health, education or development.  The State shall set minimum ages for employment and regulate working conditions. 

Article 33- Drug abuse 

Children have the right to protection from the use of narcotic and psychotropic drugs, and from being involved in their production or distribution.  

Article 34- Sexual exploitation 

The State shall protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse, including prostitution and involvement in pornography. 
Article 35- Sale, trafficking and abduction 

It is the State’s obligation to make every effort to prevent the sale, trafficking and abduction of children. 

Article 36- Other forms of exploitation 

The child has the right to protection from all forms of exploitation prejudicial to any aspects of the child’s welfare not covered in articles 32, 33, 34 and 35. 

Article 37- Torture and deprivation of liberty 

No child shall be subjected to torture, cruel treatment or punishment, unlawful arrest or deprivation of liberty.  Both capital punishment and life imprisonment without the possibility of release are prohibited for offences committed by persons below 18 years.  Any child deprived of liberty shall be separated from adults unless considered in the child’s best interests not to do so.  A child who is detained shall have legal and other assistance as well as contact with family. 

Article 38- Armed conflicts 

States Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that children under 15 years of age have no direct part in hostilities.  No child below 15 shall be recruited into the armed forces.  States shall also ensure the protection and care of children who are affected by armed conflict as described in relevant international law. 

Article 39- Rehabilitative care 

The State has an obligation to ensure that child victims of armed conflicts, torture, neglect, maltreatment or exploitation receive appropriate treatment for their recovery and social reintegration. 

Article 40- Administration of Juvenile Justice 

A child in conflict with the law has the right to treatment which promotes the child’s sense of dignity and worth, takes the child’s age into account and aims at his or her reintegration into society.  The child is entitled to basic guarantees as well as legal or other assistance for his or her defense.  Judicial proceedings and institutional placements shall be avoided wherever possible.   

Article 41- Respect for Higher Standards 

Wherever standards set in applicable national and international law relevant to  the rights of the child are higher than those in this Convention, the higher  standard shall always apply. 

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Article 42- Awareness 

States Parties undertake to make the principles and provisions of the Convention widely known, by appropriate and active means, to both adults and children. 

Article 43- Committee 

A committee shall be established called the Committee on the Rights of  the Child. The purpose is to examine progress made by the States Parties in  achieving the obligations taken in this Convention. 

The Committee shall consist of ten experts of high moral standing and  recognized competence in the field covered by this Convention. The members are  to be elected by the States Parties. 

The members are to be elected by a secret ballot from a list of persons who  have been nominated by the States Parties. 

The Secretary-General shall prepare a list of persons nominated, indicating  States Parties which have nominated them, and shall submit it to the States  Parties to the this Convention. 

The elections shall be held at meetings of the States Parties convened by the  Secretary-General at United Nations Headquarters. The persons elected to the  Committee shall be those who receive the largest number of votes. 
The members shall be elected for a term of four years. 

If a member can no longer perform the duties of the Committee, the State Party  which  nominated the member shall appoint another expert to serve for the  remainder of the term. 

The Committee shall establish its own rules of procedure.  

The Committee shall elect its officers for a period of two years.  

The meetings of the Committee shall normally be held annually, and at  United Nations Headquarters. 

The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall provide the necessary staff  and facilities for the effective performance of the functions of the Committee  under this Convention. 

With the approval of the General Assembly, the members of the Committee  established under this Convention shall receive emoluments from the United  Nations resources on such terms and conditions as the Assembly may decide. 

Article 44- Comprehensive Reports  

States Parties must submit to the Committee, through the Secretary-General of  the United Nations, reports on the progress they have made:  
      a. Within two years of entry into the Convention by the State Party; 
      b. Thereafter every five years. 

Reports shall provide sufficient information, including any difficulties, to  provide the Committee with a comprehensive understanding of the  implementation of the Convention in the country concerned. 

A State Party need not repeat basic information in their reports to the  Committee. 

The Committee may request from States Parties further information relevant to  the implementation of the Convention. 

The Committee shall submit to the General Assembly, through the Economic  and Social Council, every two years, reports on its activities. 

States Parties shall make their reports widely available to the public in their  own countries. 

Article 45- Specialized Agencies 

There must be an effective implementation of the Convention, and international co-operation in the field covered by the Convention must be encouraged.  

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Article 46- Ratification and accession 

The present Convention shall be open for signature by all States. 

Article 47- Ratification and accession 

The present Convention is subject to ratification. Instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.  

Article 49- Ratification and accession 

The present Convention shall remain open for accession by any State. The  instruments of accession shall be depoited with the Secretary-General of the  United Nations. 

The Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the deposit by  such State of its instrument of ratification or accession. 

Article 50- Amendments 

Any State Party may propose an amendment and file it with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.  

An amendment shall become active when it has been approved by the General  Assembly of the United Nations and accepted by a two-thirds majority of States  Parties. 

When an amendment enters into force it is binding on those States Parties  which have accepted it. 

Article 51- Reservations  

The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall receive and circulate to all  States the text of reservations made by States at the time of ratification or  accession. 

A reservation incompatible with the object and purpose of the present  Convention shall not be permitted. 

Reservations may be withdrawn at any time. 

Article 52- Denunciation of President of Convention 

A State Party mat denounce the present Convention by written notification to the  Secretary-General of the United Nations. Denunciation becomes effective one  year after the date of receipt of the notification by the Secretary-General. 

Article 53- Secretary-General 

The Secretary-General of the United Nations is designated as the depositary of the  present Convention. 

Article 54- Language of Text 

The original of the present Convention, of which the Arabic, Chinese, English,  French, Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited with  the Secretary-General of the United Nations. 

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