COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD:
Information for children
What is the Convention on the Rights of the Child?
The Convention on the Rights of the Child sets out the rights that must be realized for children, adolescents and teenagers to develop to their full potential and be protected from violence, abuse and harm. A Convention is a human rights treaty, which is an agreement signed by countries to promise to protect the human rights of all people living in that country.
All but one country agreed to make sure that every child in its country may enjoy all the rights in this Convention. This means that the Convention should become a reality in almost all countries of the world.
child-friendly Convention and get to know your rights!*
What is the Committee on the Rights of the Child?
The Committee on the Rights of the Child is a group of 18 experts in children’s rights who come from all over the world. The experts are independent and selected by governments.
The Committee meets three times per year in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss how children’s rights are being promoted and respected in each country that has signed the Convention. These meetings are called
sessions. The Committee also makes recommendations to each country on how they can improve children’s rights.
Read more about what Committee members do, and where they come from.
Watch this video to learn more about the Committee’s work.
How was the Convention developed?
A group of children met with then Secretary-General of the United Nations Javier Perez de Cuellar, as the Convention was approvedon 20 November 1989.
Governments had agreed that the rights of children, adolescents and teenagers are important, but in 1979 they decided to put children’s rights in an international human rights treaty, known as a Convention. Ten years later, on 20 November 1989, the Convention was approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations, an assembly of all governments in the world.
Later, Governments decided that specific areas of children’s rights required more attention in the form of additional treaties, called Optional Protocols, in order to increase the empowerment and protection of children. In 2000, the Optional Protocols to the Convention on
the involvement of children in armed conflict and
the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography were approved. In 2011, Governments added a third Optional Protocol on
a communications procedure that allows for individual children, adolescents and teenagers to seek support from the Committee on violations of their rights.
Can I participate in the Committee’s work?
Yes! All children, adolescents and teenagers have the right to freely express their views on any issue or decision that affects them or their peers. The Committee welcomes children and adolescents to tell the Committee about whether children’s rights are respected in their countries, or give their opinion on how adults can make the world a better place for children, adolescents and teenagers.
There are different ways children and adolescents can contribute to the Committee’s work:
In March 2020, 80 children, adolescents and teenagers from Samoa met with the Committee to discuss the children’s rights issues that are important for them.
Each Government is reviewed by the Committee every 5 years on how children’s rights are being promoted, respected and applied in the country.
Read this pocket guide to learn about how you can tell the Committee about the situation in your country. The Committee also has
specific methods for empowering children, adolescents and teenagers to take part in this process.
- Every 2 years, the Committee holds a public event, called a
Day of General Discussion (DGD), to discuss a specific issue related to children’s rights. Children and adolescents are welcome to participate in a DGD. Read the Committee’s guidelines for child participation in DGDs or learn more about the Committee’s previous
DGD on children as human rights defenders in 2018.
- The Committee writes documents known as “General Comments” to explain in more detail specific rights of children, adolescents and teenagers, and how governments and other actors, such as non-governmental organizations, academics and human rights defenders including children, can realize these rights. Children, adolescents and teenagers are invited to share their views on the topics of
- The Committee sometimes organises
events that allow children and adults to learn more about the rights of children and adults and to discuss what may be done to realize these rights. Children, adolescents and teenagers are invited to share their views on which topics should be discussed at these events, to actively participate as panellists, moderators and members of the audience and to take part in the follow-up actions. For example:
- In 2020, during the Committee’s session in Samoa, six children moderated discussions on children’s rights, and more than 80 children contributed as panellists and members of the audience. Read more
- In 2019, the Committee organised events with children to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Convention. Read more
Can I find out whether my country has sent a report to the Committee?
Yes! On the
Committee’s webpage, you can select your country under “Country-specific information” to see the reports your country has sent to the Committee.Read this pocket guide to learn more. You can also see whether your country made a
pledge on children’s rights to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Convention in 2019.
What is the Committee working on now?
In 2018, the Committee organized its DGD on “children as human rights defenders” with 21 Child Advisers from 19 countries. The Children’s Advisory Team designed the sessions of the DGD, that were then co-moderated
Currently, the Committee is:
sessions in Geneva
to review the situation of children in different countries. Recently, the Committee also held a
session in Samoa for countries in the Pacific region. During this session, 86 children from Samoa and four children from American Samoa discussed with the Committee the children’s rights issues affecting them, such as their rights to participation, education, health, climate change and freedom from violence.
- Promoting its general comment on children’s rights in the digital world. More than 700 children and young people in 28 countries shared their views on the general comment, and XX children made a child-friendly version of the general comment. Watch this video of children reading out the child-friendly version, and this thank you message to children from Committee members.
- Organizing a
Day of General Discussion on children’s rights and alternative care, with the support of
a group of children and young persons. Governments, children and other actors will meet on 16-17 September 2021 to discuss the rights of children, adolescents and teenagers who are separated from their families.
- Regularly making
press releases to share its views on current issues that have a particular impact on the rights of children, adolescents and teenagers.
To learn more about the Committee’s current work, visit the webpage on “Upcoming Events”.
If my rights have been violated, can I submit a complaint to the Committee?
Yes, in some cases. Under the third
Optional Protocol on a communications procedure, children, adolescents and teenagers can contact the Committee if one or several of their rights have been violated, if their country has accepted the Optional Protocol and certain conditions have been met.
Read more about the
Who can I write to if I have a question or wish to give feedback on this webpage?
You may contact the office that supports the Committee if you have a question about the Committee or if you wish to make a suggestion on how to make this webpage more child-friendly.
Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
Human Rights Treaties Division (HRTD)
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais Wilson - 52, rue des Pâquis
CH-1201 Geneva (Switzerland)
CH-1211 Geneva 10 (Switzerland)
Tel.: +41 22 917 91 41
Fax: +41 22 917 90 08
You may also wish to contact Child Rights Connect, a network of child rights organisations around the world that helps non-governmental organizations and children to take part in the reporting process.
Child Rights Connect
1 rue de Varembé
1202 Geneva, Switzerland
T: +41(0)22 740 4730
Check here to see if there is a child-friendly Convention in your language, or share this guide for adults on how develop child-friendly versions in other languages or for different contexts.