Members' Research Service By / November 21, 2022

Children’s rights in the EU in the light of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

In 1954, the UN recommended that all countries establish a national day to promote children’s rights and welfare, and made 20 November Universal Children’s Day.

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Written by Rosamund Shreeves.

Adopted in 1989, the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was the first international instrument to explicitly recognise children as human beings with innate rights. Ratified by 197 countries, including all EU Member States, it has become the landmark treaty on children’s rights, outlining universal standards for the care, treatment, survival, development, protection and participation of all children.

The promotion and protection of children’s rights is one of the key objectives embedded in Article 3(3) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU). Moreover, Article 24 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU recognises that children are entitled to ‘protection and care as is necessary for their well-being’. The same article recognises that the child’s best interests should be the primary consideration for public authorities and private institutions.

Over the years, the EU has moved from a sectoral approach towards a more coherent policy approach. Whereas initially, children’s rights were developed in relation to specific areas – such as the free movement of persons – since 2000 the EU has taken a more coordinated line. This briefing offers an overview of the most relevant actions at European level to address and promote children’s rights before looking at upcoming challenges.

Read the complete briefing on ‘Children’s rights in the EU in the light of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

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