The aim of the Convention is to set standards for the defense of children against the neglect and abuse they face to varying degrees in all countries every day. It is careful to allow for the different cultural, political and material realities among states. The most important consideration is the best interest of the child. The rights set out in the Convention can be broadly grouped in three sections:
Provision: the right to possess, receive or have access to certain things or services (e.g. a name and a nationality, health care, education, rest and play and care for disabled and orphans).
Protection: the right to be shielded from harmful acts and practices (e.g. separation from parents, engagement in warfare, commercial or sexual exploitation and physical and mental abuse).
Participation: The child’s right to be heard on decisions affecting his or her life. As abilities progress, the child should have increasing opportunities to take part in the activities of society, as a preparation for adult life (e.g. freedom of speech and opinion, culture, religion and language.
Article 1: Definition of the child
Every human being below 18 years unless majority is attained earlier according to the law applicable to the child.
Article 2: Non discrimination
All rights must be granted to each child without exception. The State must protect the child without exception. The State must protect the child against all forms of discrimination.
Article 3: Best interests of the child
In all actions concerning children, the best interest of the child shall be the major consideration.
Article 4: Implementation of rights
The obligation on the State to ensure that the rights in the Convention are implemented.
Article 5: Parents, family, community rights and responsibilities
States are to respect the parents and family in their child rearing function.
Article 6: Life, survival and development
The right of the child to life and the state’s obligation to ensure the child’s survival and development.
Article 7: Name and nationality
The right from birth to a name, to acquire a nationality and to know and be cared for by his or her parents.
Article 8: Preservation of identity
The obligation of the State to assist the child in reestablishing identity if this has been illegally withdrawn.
Article 9: Non-separation from parents
The right of the child to retain contact with his parents in cases of separation. If separation is the result of detention, imprisonment or death the State shall provide the information to the child or parents about the whereabouts of the missing family member.
Article 10: Family reunification
Requests to leave or enter country for family reunification shall be dealt with in a human manner. A child has the right to maintain regular contacts with both parents when these live in different States.
Article 11: Illicit transfer and non-return of children
The State shall combat child kidnapping by a partner or third party.
Article 12: Expression of opinion
The right of the child to express his or her opinion and to have this taken into consideration.
Article 13: Freedom of expression and information
The right to seek, receive and impart information in various forms, including art, print, writing.
Article 14: Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
States are to be respect the rights and duties of parents to provide direction to the child in the exercise of this right in accordance with the child’s evolving capacities.
Article 15: Freedom of association
The child’s right to freedom of association and peaceful assembly.
Article 16: Privacy, honour, reputation
No child shall be subjected to interference with privacy, family, home or correspondence.
Article 17: Access to information and media
The child shall have access to information from a diversity of sources; due attention shall be paid to minorities and guidelines to protect children from harmful material shall be encouraged.
Article 18: Parental responsibility
Both parents have common responsibilities for the upbringing of the child and assistance shall be given to them in the performance of the parental responsibilities.
Article 19: Abuse and neglect (while in family or care)
States have the obligation to protect children from all forms of abuse. Social programmes and support services shall be made available.
Article 20: Alternative care for children in the absence of parents
The entitlement of the child to alternative care with national laws and the obligation on the State to pay due regard to continuity in the child’s religious, cultural, linguistic or ethnic background in the provision of alternative care.
Article 21: Adoption
States are to ensure that only authorised bodies carry out adoption. Inter-country adoption may be considered if national solutions have been exhausted.
Article 22: Refugee children
Special protection is to be given to refugee children.
States shall cooperate with international agencies to this end and also to reunite children separated from the families.
Article 23: Disabled children
The right to benefit from special care and education for a fuller life in society.
Article 24: Health care
Access to preventive and curative health care services as well as the gradual abolition of traditional practices harmful to the child.
Article 25: Periodic review
The child who is placed for care, protection or treatment has the right to have the placement reviewed on a regular basis.
Article 26: Social security
The child’s right to social security
Article 27: Standard of living
Parental responsibility to provide adequate living conditions for the child’s development even when one of the parents is living in a country other than the child’s place of residence.
Article 28: Education
The right to free primary education, the availability of vocational educating, and the need for measures to reduce the drop-out rates.
Article 29: Aims of education
Education should foster the development of the child’s personality and talents, preparation for a responsible adult life, respect for human rights as well as the cultural and national values of the child’s country and that of others.
Article 30: Children of minorities and indigenous children
The right of the child belonging to a minority or indigenous group to enjoy his or her culture, to practise his or her own language.
Article 31: Play and recreation
The right of the child to play, recreational activities and to participate in cultural and artistic life.
Article 32: Economic exploitation
The right of the child to protection against harmful forms of work and against exploitation.
Article 33: Narcotic and psychotic substances
Protection of the child from their illicit use and the utilisation of the child in their production and distribution.
Article 34: Sexual exploitation
Protection of the child from sexual exploitation including prostitution and the use of children in pornographic materials.
Article 35: Abduction, sale and traffic
State obligation to prevent the abduction, sale of or traffic in children.
Article 36: Other forms of exploitation
Children should be protected from any activities that could harm their development.
Article 37: Torture, capital punishment, deprivation of liberty
Obligation of the State vis-a-vis children in detention.
Article 38: Armed conflicts
Children under 15 years are not to take a direct part in hostilities. No recruitment of children under 15.
Article 39: Recovery and reintegration
State obligations for the reeducation and social reintegration of child victims of exploitation, torture or armed conflicts.
Article 40: Juvenile justice
Treatment of child accused of infringing the penal law shall promote the child’s sense of dignity.
Article 41: Rights of the child in other instruments
If the laws of a particular country protect children better than the articles of the Convention, then those laws should stay.
Article 42: Dissemination of the Convention
The state’s duty to make the convention known to adults and children.
Article 43-54: Implementation
These paragraphs provide for a Committee on the Rights of the Child to oversee implementation of the Convention.
The titles of articles are for ease of reference only. They do not form part of the adopted text.
The influence of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) after Jamaica’s ratification became substantial. In 2004, the Child Care and Protection Act (CCPA) was created, guaranteeing not just international obligations but also recognition of these responsibilities under local law.
Some of the issues the CCPA addresses include the legal requirements for operating a children’s home, as well as the procedure for a child being taken to a place of safety. It establishes licensing, duration, renewal, inspection, suspension and cancellation procedures for children’s homes. The Act also offers protection of children from acts of abuse, neglect, exploitation and ill treatment and also makes provision for educational, physical, religious and emotional needs of the child. Parental and state responsibilities in the welfare of the child are defined as well.
Three years after the CCPA was passed, Regulations for the Act were drafted to accompany it. These regulations included provisions for the Children’s Registry, the Advisory Council and Children’s Homes.
UNCRC United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – introduction video
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)