which extended human rights more fully to children than any other
legal document, inspired other international laws, such as the Hague
Convention on Intercountry Adoption. The UN Convention has been
ratified by 192 countries, all but two member countries of the United
Nations. The United States and Somalia have signed the Convention
but have not yet ratified it.
The States Parties to the present Convention,
Considering that, in accordance with the principles proclaimed
in the Charter of the United Nations, recognition of the inherent
dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of
the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace
in the world,
Bearing in mind that the peoples of the United Nations
have, in the Charter, reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human
rights and in the dignity and worth of the human person and have
determined to promote social progress and better standards of life
in larger freedom,
Recognizing that the United Nations has, in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenants on
Human Rights, proclaimed and agreed that everyone is entitled to
all the rights and freedoms set forth therein, without distinction
of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political
or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or
Recalling that, in the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights, the United Nations has proclaimed that childhood is entitled
to special care and assistance,
Convinced that the family, as the fundamental group of
society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being
of all its members and particularly children, should be afforded
the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume
its responsibilities within the community,
Recognizing that the child, for the full and harmonious
development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family
environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding,
Considering that the child should be fully prepared to
live an individual life in society and brought up in the spirit
of the ideals proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations and
in particular in the spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom,
equality and solidarity,
Bearing in mind that the need to extend particular care
to the child has been stated in the Geneva Declaration of the Rights
of the Child of 1924 and in the Declaration of the Rights of the
Child adopted by the General Assembly on 20 November 1959 and recognized
in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (in particular in articles
23 and 24), in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights (in particular in article 10) and in the statutes
and relevant instruments of specialized agencies and international
organizations concerned with the welfare of children,
Bearing in mind that, as indicated in the Declaration
of the Rights of the Child, “the child, by reason of his physical
and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including
appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth”,
Recalling the provisions of the Declaration on Social
and Legal Principles relating to the Protection and Welfare of Children,
with Special Reference to Foster Placement and Adoption Nationally
and Internationally; the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for
the Administration of Juvenile Justice (The Beijing Rules); and
the Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency
and Armed Conflict,
Recognizing that, in all countries in the world, there
are children living in exceptionally difficult conditions and that
such children need special consideration,
Taking due account of the importance of the traditions
and cultural values of each people for the protection and harmonious
development of the child,
Recognizing the importance of international co-operation
for improving the living conditions of children in every country,
in particular in the developing countries,
Have agreed as follows:
For the purposes of the present Convention, a child means every
human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law
applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.
1. States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth
in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction
without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child's
or his or her parent's or legal guardian's race, colour, sex, language,
religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social
origin, property, disability, birth or other status.
2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure
that the child is protected against all forms of discrimination
or punishment on the basis of the status, activities, expressed
opinions, or beliefs of the child's parents, legal guardians, or
1. In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by
public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative
authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child
shall be a primary consideration.
2. States Parties undertake to ensure the child such protection
and care as is necessary for his or her well-being, taking into
account the rights and duties of his or her parents, legal guardians,
or other individuals legally responsible for him or her, and, to
this end, shall take all appropriate legislative and administrative
3. States Parties shall ensure that the institutions, services
and facilities responsible for the care or protection of children
shall conform with the standards established by competent authorities,
particularly in the areas of safety, health, in the number and suitability
of their staff, as well as competent supervision.
States Parties shall undertake all appropriate legislative,
administrative and other measures for the implementation of the
rights recognized in the present Convention. With regard to economic,
social and cultural rights, States Parties shall undertake such
measures to the maximum extent of their available resources and,
where needed, within the framework of international co-operation.
States Parties shall respect the responsibilities, rights and
duties of parents or, where applicable, the members of the extended
family or community as provided for by local custom, legal guardians
or other persons legally responsible for the child, to provide,
in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child,
appropriate direction and guidance in the exercise by the child
of the rights recognized in the present Convention.
1. States Parties recognize that every child has the
inherent right to life.
2. States Parties shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the
survival and development of the child.
1. The child shall be registered immediately after
birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to
acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, the right to know
and be cared for by his or her parents.
2. States Parties shall ensure the implementation of these rights
in accordance with their national law and their obligations under
the relevant international instruments in this field, in particular
where the child would otherwise be stateless.
1. States Parties undertake to respect the right of
the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality,
name and family relations as recognized by law without unlawful
2. Where a child is illegally deprived of some or all of the elements
of his or her identity, States Parties shall provide appropriate
assistance and protection, with a view to re-establishing speedily
his or her identity.
1. States Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated
from his or her parents against their will, except when competent
authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance
with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary
for the best interests of the child. Such determination may be necessary
in a particular case such as one involving abuse or neglect of the
child by the parents, or one where the parents are living separately
and a decision must be made as to the child's place of residence.
2. In any proceedings pursuant to paragraph 1 of the present article,
all interested parties shall be given an opportunity to participate
in the proceedings and make their views known.
3. States Parties shall respect the right of the child who is separated
from one or both parents to maintain personal relations and direct
contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary
to the child's best interests.
4. Where such separation results from any action initiated by a
State Party, such as the detention, imprisonment, exile, deportation
or death (including death arising from any cause while the person
is in the custody of the State) of one or both parents or of the
child, that State Party shall, upon request, provide the parents,
the child or, if appropriate, another member of the family with
the essential information concerning the whereabouts of the absent
member(s) of the family unless the provision of the information
would be detrimental to the well-being of the child. States Parties
shall further ensure that the submission of such a request shall
of itself entail no adverse consequences for the person(s) concerned. . . .
1. States Parties shall take measures to combat the
illicit transfer and non-return of children abroad.
2. To this end, States Parties shall promote the conclusion of
bilateral or multilateral agreements or accession to existing agreements. . . .
1. States Parties shall use their best efforts to
ensure recognition of the principle that both parents have common
responsibilities for the upbringing and development of the child.
Parents or, as the case may be, legal guardians, have the primary
responsibility for the upbringing and development of the child.
The best interests of the child will be their basic concern.
2. For the purpose of guaranteeing and promoting the rights set
forth in the present Convention, States Parties shall render appropriate
assistance to parents and legal guardians in the performance of
their child-rearing responsibilities and shall ensure the development
of institutions, facilities and services for the care of children.
3. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure
that children of working parents have the right to benefit from
child-care services and facilities for which they are eligible. . . .
1. A child temporarily or permanently deprived of
his or her family environment, or in whose own best interests cannot
be allowed to remain in that environment, shall be entitled to special
protection and assistance provided by the State.
2. States Parties shall in accordance with their national laws
ensure alternative care for such a child.
3. Such care could include, inter alia, foster placement, kafalah
of Islamic law, adoption or if necessary placement in suitable institutions
for the care of children. When considering solutions, due regard
shall be paid to the desirability of continuity in a child's upbringing
and to the child's ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic background.
States Parties that recognize and/or permit the system of adoption
shall ensure that the best interests of the child shall be the paramount
consideration and they shall:
(a) Ensure that the adoption of a child is authorized only by competent
authorities who determine, in accordance with applicable law and
procedures and on the basis of all pertinent and reliable information,
that the adoption is permissible in view of the child's status concerning
parents, relatives and legal guardians and that, if required, the
persons concerned have given their informed consent to the adoption
on the basis of such counselling as may be necessary;
(b) Recognize that inter-country adoption may be considered as
an alternative means of child's care, if the child cannot be placed
in a foster or an adoptive family or cannot in any suitable manner
be cared for in the child's country of origin;
(c) Ensure that the child concerned by inter-country adoption enjoys
safeguards and standards equivalent to those existing in the case
of national adoption;
(d) Take all appropriate measures to ensure that, in inter-country
adoption, the placement does not result in improper financial gain
for those involved in it;
(e) Promote, where appropriate, the objectives of the present article
by concluding bilateral or multilateral arrangements or agreements
and endeavour, within this framework, to ensure that the placement
of the child in another country is carried out by competent authorities
or organs. . . .
States Parties shall take all appropriate national,
bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent the abduction of,
the sale of or traffic in children for any purpose or in any form. . . .
The original of the present Convention, of which the
Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish texts are
equally authentic, shall be deposited with the Secretary-General
of the United Nations.
In witness thereof the undersigned plenipotentiaries, being duly
authorized thereto by their respective governments, have signed
the present Convention.