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Convention on the Rights of the Child


The Convention on the Rights of Child (CRC) is a human rights treaty that outlines the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children. Nations that ratify the CRC are bound by law to adhere to its implementation. The nations are monitored by the UN Committee on the Rights of Child and are examined by the Committee. The UN adopted the Convention on November, 20, 1989 and  it came into force on September 2, 1990.

The U.S. was active in drafting of the Convention, and President signed it on February 16, 1995, but the Senate has yet to ratify it.

On May 25, 2000, two optional protocols were adopted and added to the treat. The First Optional Protocol restricts the involvement of children in the military, while the Second Optional Protocol prohibits the trafficking of children for sale, prostitution or pornography. President Bill Clinton signed these optional protocols on July 5, 2000 and the Senate ratified them on December 23, 2002 under President George W. Bush.

On February 28, 2012, a new optional protocol, A third, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure, was opened for signature. Similar to the ICERD, it would allow children or their guardian/representative to file complaints for the violation of the rights of children.

Organizations advocating the ratification of the CRC include:

Child Rights Campaign

National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges

Rainbird Foundation

Child Welfare League of America


Quick Facts on Convention on the Rights of the Child & Protocols

  • The UN adopted CRC on November 20 1989
  • CRC had enough signatures to become effective on September 2 1990
  • United States and Somalia are the only countries that have signed but not ratified
  • In 2009 Barbara Boxer proposed to ratify the treaty
  • The two optional protocols were ratified on December 23 2002
  • The first report on the optional protocols was July 16 2007
  • Heres a link to the concluding observations from the most recent report on the optional protocols
  • U.S. initial reports on the two protocols were reviewed by CRC on May 30, 2008

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