The Convention


The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 20 November 1989. Its purpose is to recognise and protect the fundamental rights of the world’s children.

It is a fundamental text that makes a child into a subject of law:

  • it enshrines all children’s right to express their opinion and be heard on any issue relating to them;
  • it acknowledges children as individuals with their own aspirations and universal human rights;
  • it sets out the universal human rights covering all aspects of a child’s life;
  • it makes children’s best interests the priority principle for any measure designed to guarantee these rights and ensure children’s well-being.

It is currently the international treaty with the widest backing, since all countries apart from the United States have ratified it, i.e. 196 out of 197.

See the full text of the UNCRC in French,  English, and German.

Bonus !
Click here for the text of the UNCRC adapted for children aged 10 and over.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child also has three optional protocols adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2000 (for the first and second) and in 2011 (for the third):

The Committee on the Rights of the Child is the body responsible for monitoring respect for and application of the Convention throughout the world. Countries that have ratified the Convention undertake to submit regular and detailed reports on their national situation as regards children’s rights to the Committee for examination. The Committee examines each report and raises concerns or submits recommendations to the country in question.

Civil society and children themselves can also submit reports to the Committee. To that end, there is also a guide for children, in French and English.

The Committee meets three times per year in Geneva. It is made up of 18 independent members of “high moral character” from different countries, who are experts in the field of rights. The Committee members are nominated and elected for four years by the States parties, and can be re-elected if nominated. Nevertheless, they do not represent their countries’ government or any other organisation to which they may belong. They serve in their personal capacity.

The Committee also monitors application of the three optional protocols adopted by the UN General Assembly, which supplement the UNCRC.

See more information on the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

In Switzerland

Switzerland ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1997.

A multitude of government bodies are responsible for implementing it. The Federal Social Insurance Office (OFAS) coordinates the joint work of those various bodies and produces the five-yearly report for the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Organisation at Federal Government level and cooperation with the cantons are regulated by the Children and Youth Support Act (LEEJ).

See more information on human rights in Switzerland.

There are currently two Swiss nationals among the sitting expert members of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Dr. h.c. Jean Zermatten member and then Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child from 2005 to 2013, and Prof. Philip Jaffé elected member since June 2018.

Just click here !

Children have the right to have rights !
Fine, but does it mean ?

Let’s sing Children’s Rights !
The official anthem of Children’s Rights

Children’s rights, what is this ? The answer just one click away !

And for those who want more…