Guide to UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

The 54 articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child set out the basic human rights for children across the world.
Its four core principles are:
• the right to life, survival and development
• devotion to the best interests of the child
• non-discrimination
• respect for the views of the child

The convention came into force in September 1990, and the UK Government formally ratified it in December 1991. So far 193 member states of the UN have done the same, with the exception of the US and Somalia. The UK remains among a third of the 193 countries which have not incorporated the convention into domestic law, meaning it is not legally binding.

But the government has an obligation to ensure it is “given effect”, according to a spokesperson, who adds that it should be implemented through “a mix of legislative provisions and policy initiatives”. However, campaigners point out that the government incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights through a single piece of legislation, the 1998 Human Rights Act.


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