The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

The UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child

our starting point

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child | | Movimento Globale per i Diritti dell’Infanzia

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child


The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

The Convention, recognises for the first time that all children have full civil, social, political, cultural and economic rights, which must be promoted and protected by all. The agreement formulates principles valid worldwide in the approach to children regardless of social, cultural, ethnic or religious background. Since then, children, boys and girls are recognised as persons and citizens with rights, able to actively participate in family, social, cultural and civic life.

The Convention was ratified by Italy on 27 May 1991 with Law No. 176, thus becoming State law and fully applicable in Italian territory. Today, 196 states have ratified the Convention. Worldwide, only the United States has not legally bound itself to respect the rights recognised by the Convention.

The Convention consists of 54 articles and the text is divided into three parts:
  • the first part contains the enunciation of rights (Arts. 1-41);
  • the second part identifies the bodies in charge and the modalities for the improvement and monitoring of the Convention (Arts. 42-45);
  • the third part describes the ratification procedure (Arts. 46-54).
The Convention provides for 4 fundamental principles, which must inform all the articles stated:
  • Non-discrimination (Art. 2): the rights enshrined in the Convention must be guaranteed to all persons who are minors, without distinction as to race, sex, language, religion, opinion of the child, girl or boy, or of the parents.
  • Best interests (Art. 3): In every decision, law, policy, measure, or public or private initiative, the best interests of the child must be considered and given priority.
  • Right to life, survival and development (Art. 6): States must commit the maximum available resources to protect the life and healthy development of children, including through international cooperation.
  • Listening to the views of the child (Art. 12): Children must be heard in all decision-making processes affecting them, and their perspectives, ideas and opinions must be taken into account.

To the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child three Optional Protocols are added, on specific topics. The first Optional Protocol concerns the sale, prostitution and pornography representing persons under the age of 18. The second Optional Protocol concerns the involvement of underage persons in armed conflicts. The third Protocol, on complaints procedures, provides, for the first time, remedies against violations of the fundamental rights of underage persons recognised by the CRC and the other two Optional Protocols, and will enable the defence of the rights of underage persons through the submission of reports or actual complaints to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, based in Geneva.

Italy has ratified all three Optional Protocols, thus being fully applicable in Italian territory.

Founded in 1979 by Nigel Cantwell and Canon Moerman, the global movement Defence for Children International actively contributed to the drafting process of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which was adopted on 20 November 1989 at the United Nations General Assembly.

Defence for Children International positions itself as one of the leading movements for the Rights of the Child, overseeing and promoting the effective implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) at local, national and international levels. Our vision is for every child, boy and girl everywhere to lead an existence in which they can enjoy their human rights with dignity, in a just and responsible society. In everything we do, we aspire to work in a transparent, accountable, sustainable and socially transformative way.

Defence for Children Italy uses the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as its primary reference and as a real practical tool. All monitoring, analysis, advocacy and experimentation actions are based on the principles enshrined in the CRC. To understand more about how we view and use the CRC, read more about our approach here.



The world through the eyes of children: their images, their rights

The evocative collection of images that Steve McCurry proposes in the exhibition "Children", on show at the Palazzo Ducale in Genoa from 25 November 2023 to 10 March 2024, brings us closer to situations that, although distant, look at us and concern us.

The children portrayed by the American photographer are part of our own humanity and demonstrate, in the silence of the images, how it is possible to adapt "philosophically" in a world created by adults, even when this is unsuitable and uncongenial. In this perspective, the photographic exhibition meets the vision and action of Defence for Children International Italia, an organisation committed worldwide to working with and for children with the aim of promoting their human rights.

The principles evoked through the rights, which should be recognised for every child, allow us to discover, together with the beauty and strength of childhood in its different contexts, also the distance between what should be recognised and instead is systematically denied.

The journey through the world with the boys and girls proposed by McCurry benevolently urges us to understand how a large portion of our actions are not ’child-friendly’ and, therefore, not at the scale of any human being.

As a counterpoint to the visual journey, it is Defence for Children itself that suggests this important relationship between children and the world.

A pairing usefully evoked by the images in the exhibition to better understand the need to recognise, through the eyes of every child, the ownership of their rights together with the need for our concrete and immediate action in the world.


Learn more about the proposed topics:

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Genova Via Bellucci 4-6 mappa
Defence for Children international Italia
Sede legale e sociale: Piazza Don Andrea Gallo 5-6-7 R - 16124 Genova
Sede operativa: Via Bellucci 4-6, 16124 Genova
010 0899050