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OHCHR and children

"Without strong commitment to children, we undermine not only the destiny of many individuals – but also our community's strength. Protecting children's rights and wellbeing should be absolutely basic to who we are. All children possess inherent worth and should have an equal chance to thrive, whatever their social origin, gender, place of birth or family situation. […] Because if we do not take a stand for children's rights, who are we and what has happened to our humanity and values? Because if we don't act now, when?"

– Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Stop the War on Children Symposium, The Hague, 16 May 2019

About children and human rights

All children everywhere are entitled to human rights, fundamental freedoms, dignity and equality under international human rights law. Children's rights are enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most widely-ratified international human rights treaty, and its three Optional Protocols to the Convention, on involvement of children in armed conflict, on sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and on a communications procedure. The Committee on the Rights of the Child, a body of 18 independent child rights experts, monitors compliance with the Convention and its Optional Protocols.

OHCHR's work on children

OHCHR has a mandate to support work on children's rights in the United Nations system. The team focuses on areas of work mandated by the Human Rights Council, in particular annual reporting and activities for the annual full day meeting on the rights of the child.

This means:

  • Developing policy on children's rights and mainstreaming children's rights in the United Nations system.
  • Facilitating policy dialogue on children's rights at intergovernmental bodies.
  • Facilitating engagement and participation of children with United Nations processes, in partnership with civil society partners.

Key areas of focus include birth registration, children and the justice system, children in street situations, children's rights and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, children's health, violence against children and COVID-19 and children's rights.

Key documents

UN Global Study on Children and Armed Conflict

UN Global Study on Violence against Children

UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty

Latest reports and publications

Realizing children's rights through a healthy environment (2020)

The promotion and protection of the rights of children and youth through education (2020)

Empowering children with disabilities, including through inclusive education (2019)

Applying a human rights-based approach to address mortality and morbidity among newborns and children under 5 years of age (2018)

Best practices and specific measures to ensure access to birth registration (2018)

Relationship between climate change and the full and effective enjoyment of the rights of the child (2017)

View all OHCHR reports about children and Human Rights 



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