Convention on the Rights of the Child

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Summary of the International Convention concerning the Rights of Children, by Manuel M. Martin.

Article 1 – The definition of a child: every human being below the age of 18 years; unless, under national law, majority is attained earlier.

Article 2 – Non-discrimination of application of the Convention. All rights apply to all children without exception. All states who sign will pledge to respect the Convention and take measures to ensure the rights set forth are being respected.

Article 3 – All actions concerning children must be taken by competent authorities. Example: by courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies. Each state should provide the child with protection and adequate care necessary to his or her well-being.

Article 4 – The state must do all it can to implement the rights contained in the Convention. In some areas, the state can call for International Cooperation.

Article 5 – The state must respect the responsibilities and rights of parents and legal guardians etc, to provide guidance for the child, which is appropriate to her or his evolving capacities.

Article 6 – Every child has a right to life and the state has an obligation to ensure her or his survival and development.

Article 7 – The child has a right to a name and a nationality. He or she has a right to know his or her parents, as far as possible, and to be cared for by them.

Article 8 – The State has an obligation to protect, and if necessary, re-establish basic aspects of the child’s identity (name, nationality, family ties).

Article 9 – 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. In this case, the child has a right to maintain contact with both parents or at least with one of them, if he or she is separated from them. The State has obligations if it is responsible for the separation.

Article 10 – Children and their parents have the right to leave any country and to enter their own for purposes of reunion or of maintenance of the child-parent relationship.

Article 11 – The State has an obligation to prevent the abduction or retention of children abroad by a parent or third party.

Article 12 – The child, as soon as he or she is capable of doing so, has a right to express his or her opinion freely over any matter or procedure affecting him or her.

Article 13 – The child has a right to express his or her views, obtain information, make ideas or information known, as long as they respect others.

Article 14 – The child has a right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, subject to appropriate parental guidance and to restrictions prescribed by national law.

Article 15 – Children have a right to meet with others, to join or form associations, as long as they respect others.

Article 16 – No child shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her good name.

Article 17 – The State acknowledges the important role performed by the mass media regarding the dissemination of information to children. In so far as they contribute to their moral well-being, their knowledge and understanding of other peoples, the State encourages this action but also protects the child from harmful influences.

Article 18 – Parents have joint primary responsibility for raising their children, and the state shall support them in this. The state shall provide appropriate assistance to parents in child raising.

Article 19 – The state shall protect the child from all forms of ill treatment by parents or others responsible for the care of the child. The state shall establish and develop appropriate social programs for the prevention of abuse and the treatment of its victims.

Article 20 – The state is obliged to provide special protection and assistance for a child temporarily or permanently 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 – In countries where adoption is 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 – Whether alone or accompanied by their parents, refugee children must be granted the protection and humanitarian assistance necessary to meet the rights recognized in the Convention.

Article 23 –Disabled children have the right to special care, education and training, to help them enjoy a full and decent life in dignity and achieve the greatest degree of self-reliance and social integration possible.

Article 24 – The child has a right to the highest standard of health attainable. He or she must benefit from medical services and rehabilitation. The state shall place special emphasis on the provision of preventive health care and the reduction of infant mortality. The state, together with international cooperation, shall fight against traditional practices which endanger children’s health.

Article 25 – When the child is placed under the care of competent authorities (for care, protection, physical or mental treatment), he or she is allowed a periodic review of all aspects of his or her placement.

Article 26 – Every child has the right to social security benefits. The benefits will be granted taking into account the resources of the persons responsible for his or her care.

Article 27 – Every child has the right to an appropriate standard of living. Parents have to ensure this primary responsibility, although they can be assisted by the state. The state’s responsibility can include the recovering of alimony.

Article 28 – The child has a right to education. The state’s duty is to ensure that primary education (at the minimum) is free and compulsory. School discipline shall be consistent with the child’s rights and dignity. International cooperation is encouraged to implement this right.

Article 29 – Education shall aim at developing the child’s personality, talents and physical and mental abilities to the fullest extent. Education shall prepare the child for an active adult life and teach him or her to respect Human Rights, his or her own cultural identity, language and values, and the cultural backgrounds and values of others.

Article 30 – Children of minority communities and indigenous populations have a right to enjoy their own culture and to practise their own religion and language with the members of their communities.

Article 31 – The child has the right to rest, leisure, play and participation in cultural and artistic activities.

Article 32 – The child has the right to be protected from work that threatens his or her health, his or her physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development as well as his or her education. The child must be protected against all economic exploitation. The state must set minimum ages for employment and regulate working conditions.

Article 33 – Children must be protected from the illicit use of drugs and psychotropic substances. The state must take appropriate measures to prevent the use of children in the illicit production and trafficking of such substances.

Article 34 – The state must protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse, including prostitution and any involvement in pornography.

Article 35 – The state shall take all measures to prevent the abduction, sale and the trade of children.

Article 36 – The child has the right to protection against all forms of exploitation not covered in the articles 32, 33, 34 and 35.

Article 37 – The state must ensure that no child shall be subjected to torture, or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Both capital punishment and life imprisonment without the possibility of release are prohibited for children. Any child deprived of liberty shall be kept separate from adults. He or she must have appropriate treatment, and is entitled to keep contact with his or her family as well as to have immediate access to legal assistance.

Article 38 – In case of armed conflict, the state will undertake to ensure that the rules of international humanitarian law, especially those relevant to children, are respected. No child below the age of 15 is allowed to participate in armed conflict. All children must be entitled to protection and care.

Article 39 – The state must take all appropriate measures so that children victim of armed conflict, torture, negligence, exploitation or any kind of ill-treatment, benefit from appropriate treatment to ensure their physical and psychological recovery, with respect to their dignity.

Article 40 – Every child alleged as or accused of having infringed penal law, is entitled to all the guarantees of a basic enquiry, with legal and other kinds of assistance for his or her defense. His or her basic rights will be respected and, wherever possible, judicial proceedings and institutional placements will be avoided.

Article 41 – Between the Convention and the national law, the most favourable law for the child will be applied.

Article 42 – State parties undertake to make the principles and provisions of the present Convention widely known, by appropriate and active means to adults and children alike.

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