United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) - UPSC Notes

United Nations conventions are important for the UPSC exam. It is important to know the significance of these conventions, whether India has ratified it or not, etc. In this article, you can read all about the very important United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, also known simply as the CRC for the IAS exam.

UNCRC UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here

Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)

UPSC Prelims Facts - UNCRC

The UNCRC is a human rights treaty that sets the political, civil, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children.

  • It is an international agreement that is legally binding on the members.
  • It consists of 54 articles that spell out various children’s rights and also the measures governments should take in order to make these rights available to children.
  • The CRC was adopted by the United Nations in 1989. It entered into force in 1990 after receiving the minimum of 20 ratifications.
  • It has been ratified by all members of the UN except for the United States. It is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the history of the world.
  • Under the articles of the convention, all parties to it are required to ensure that children’s basic needs are fulfilled and they are able to reach their full potential.

Rights of the Child

The convention identifies a child as a human being below the age of 18. The CRC acknowledges that every child is entitled to fundamental rights, and some of the most important rights are as follows:

  1. Right to life, survival and development.
  2. Right to education that facilitates them to reach their full potential.
  3. Right to protection from abuse, violence or neglect.
  4. Right to express opinions and be heard.
  5. Right to be raised by or have a relationship with their parents.

What are the 4 core principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child?

  1. Non-discrimination
  2. Right to life, survival and development
  3. Best interests of the child
  4. Respect for the child’s views

Brief Timeline of Child Rights Movement

The first time in modern history children’s rights was given importance was when the League of Nations adopted the Geneva Declaration on the Rights of the Child in 1924. This was drafted by the Eglantyne Jebb, who founded the Save the Children Fund.

  • UNICEF was founded in 1946.
  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights passed in 1948 by the UNGA in which an article mentions mothers and children.
  • The Declaration of the Rights of the Child adopted by the UNGA in 1959.
  • The ILO adopts a convention that sets out 18 as the minimum age for people to undertake hazardous work.
  • The Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict adopted in 1974.
  • The UNGA declares 1979 as the International Year of the Child.
  • In 1989, the UNCRC is adopted.
  • CRC enters into force in 1990.
  • As of 2015, all members have ratified the convention excepting for the US.

Also read about Reports Published by International Organizations.

UNCRC Optional Protocols

Three optional protocols have been added to the convention. They are mentioned below:

  1. Protocol asking governments not to enlist children below the age of 18 into the armed forces (2000).
  2. Protocol asking governments to prohibit child pornography, child prostitution, and the sale of children into slavery (2000).
  3. Protocol that enables children who faced violation of their rights to complain directly to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (2011).

It is this Committee that monitors the implementation of the convention. Additionally, UNICEF plays an important role in the working of the UNCRC.

India and CRC

India ratified the convention in 1992 agreeing in principle, all articles except with certain reservations on issues relating to child labour. In India, there is a law that children under the age of 18 should not work, but there is no outright ban on child labour, and the practice is generally permitted in most industries except those deemed hazardous.

Also read: Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act

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