United Nations Association of Greater Oklahoma City
The UN Association of the USA
Greater OKC Chapter
P.O. Box 60856
Oklahoma City, OK   73146-0856
Contact Us
The United Nations  
Association is a not-for-
profit, nonpartisan
organization that
supports the work of the
United Nations and
encourages active civic
participation in the most
important social and
economic issues facing
the world today.  
As a local chapter of the
nation's largest
grassroots foreign policy
organization, the UN
Association of Greater
OKC offers Oklahomans
the opportunity to
connect with issues
confronted by the UN --
from global health and
human rights to the
spread of democracy,
equitable development
and international justice.
The human rights of children and the standards to which all governments must
aspire in realizing these rights for all children, are most concisely and fully articulated
in one international human rights treaty: the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The Convention is the most universally accepted human rights instrument in history
– it has been ratified by every country in the world except two – and therefore uniquely
places children center-stage in the quest for the universal application of human
rights. By ratifying this instrument, national governments have committed themselves
to protecting and ensuring children's rights and they have agreed to hold themselves
accountable for this commitment before the international community.

Built on varied legal systems and cultural traditions, the Convention on the Rights of
the Child is a universally agreed set of non-negotiable standards and obligations. It
spells out the basic human rights that children everywhere – without discrimination –
have: the right to survival; to develop to the fullest; to protection from harmful
influences, abuse and exploitation; and to participate fully in family, cultural and
social life. Every right spelled out in the Convention is inherent to the human dignity
and harmonious development of every child. The Convention protects children's
rights by setting standards in health care, education and legal, civil and social
services. These standards are benchmarks against which progress can be
assessed. States that are party to the Convention are obliged to develop and
undertake all actions and policies in the light of the best interests of the child.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first legally binding international
instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights – civil and political rights as
well as economic, social and cultural rights.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the Convention on the Rights of the Child?

A: The Convention on the Rights of the Child is an international treaty that recognizes
the human rights of children, defined as persons up to the age of 18 years. In 41
substantive articles, it establishes in international law that States Parties must
ensure that all children – without discrimination in any form – benefit from special
protection measures
and assistance; have
access to services
such as education
and health care; can
develop their person-
alities, abilities and
talents to the fullest potential; grow up in an environment of happiness, love and
understanding; and are informed about and participate in, achieving their rights in an
accessible and active manner.

Q: What is the new vision of the child in the Convention?

A: The Convention provides a universal set of standards to be adhered to by all
countries. It reflects a new vision of the child. Children are neither the property of their
parents nor are they helpless objects of charity. They are human beings and are the
subject of their own rights. The Convention offers a vision of the child as an individual
and a member of a family and a community, with rights and responsibilities
appropriate to his or her age and stage of development. Recognizing children's
rights in this way firmly sets a focus on the whole child. Previously seen as
negotiable, the child's needs have become legally binding rights.

Q: How does the Convention define a child?

A: The Convention defines a "child" as a person below the age of 18, unless the
relevant laws recognize an earlier age of majority. In some cases, States are obliged
to be consistent in defining benchmark ages – such as the age for admission into
employment and completion of compulsory education; but in other cases the
Convention is unequivocal in setting an upper limit – such as prohibiting life
imprisonment or capital punishment for those under 18 years of age.

For more information ...  
“We all want a
better world for
children. But so
far, it is adults
that have called
the shots. Now,
we are going to
build a better
world with
children."
— Kofi Annan,
Past Secretary-
General, The
United Nations
Revised
May 16, 2009
Webmaster
The United Nations
Association of the
United States of
America
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child