The rights of children are written in the laws of the country you live in as well as in European and international law.
A law is a group of rules which regulates the actions of an individual or more people, such as the members of a community or country. This includes children. If people do something against the law, they have to face the consequences of their actions; in the most serious cases they have to go to prison.
It is a group of rules which a group of countries have agreed to follow. International law also regulates children’s rights.
An international treaty is an agreement under international law made by countries and/or international organisations. Under the treaty, everyone agreees to do something in a certain situation. For example, they promise to do all they can to protect specific rights of children such as the right to have food and water, to go to school, etc.
The European Union (or EU) is an organisation of 28 European countries. Each country has a different history, geography, language and culture. Together the countries make the EU which decides certain matters for all countries. This includes human rights and children’s rights. However, in some matters countries make their own decisions.
The rights of children are written in the laws of the country that you live in, called national laws, and in European and international laws such as the Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the European Social Charter and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
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This is an international law which was written on 20 November 1989. The Convention has 54 articles that list the rights that every child should have. 192 countries have agreed to these rights. These countries have to make sure that these rights are respected.
The Convention is based on four principles:
More information about the rights in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC):
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▼ Show european laws on the rights of the child
It is an important European law which lists social, economic and political rights of European citizens and residents in the European Union.
It is a treaty adopted by the Council of Europe in 1961 and revised in 1996. Some of its articles deal with children’s rights:
It is an international treaty under which countries promise to respect human rights and freedoms. The Convention, which was signed on 4 November 1950 in Rome, does not mention children’s rights specifically but it protects the rights of everyone including children.
Some of the rights written in the Convention are:
Under certain conditions, everyone, including children, who feels that their rights have not been respected, can take a case to the European Court of Human Rights when a solution cannot be found in their own country. This Court, established in 1959 and based in Strasbourg (France), is responsible for ensuring the respect of the rights written in the European Convention on Human Rights.
▼ Show national laws on the rights of the child
The rights of the child are regulated differently in each country usually by law. When governments make laws for the people living in their country, this is called a national law. The body in charge of making new laws is usually the Parliament, which is elected by the citizens in that country. National laws have to respect European law and to keep the promises made under international treaties.
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