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The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is an international human rights treaty that grants all children and young people (aged 17 and under) a comprehensive set of rights. The UK signed the convention on 19 April 1990, ratified it on 16 December 1991 and it came into force on 15 January 1992.
The UNCRC is presently the most widely ratified international human rights treaty. It is the only international human rights treaty to include civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. It sets out in detail what every child needs to have a safe, happy and fulfilled childhood regardless of their sex, religion, social origin, and where and to whom they were born. All United Nations member states, except for the United States and Somalia, have ratified the convention.
The convention gives children and young people over 40 substantive rights, including the right to:
This government is committed to the UNCRC and to its implementation. As state party, the Westminster Government is responsible for the overall co-ordination of the UNCRC across the UK. The department for Education is the lead department with responsibility for implementing the UNCRC in England and for coordinating UK-wide reports, although each of the Devolved Administrations implements the UNCRC and addresses the committee’s recommendations as appropriate to their own local requirements.
The UK first reported to the UNCRC on 15 March 1994. Since then it has produced a further 3 periodic reports.
The UK will be submitting its next (fifth) periodic report in 2014.
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An overview of the key legislative provisions, case law and policy that demonstrate how the rights and obligations set out in the UNCRC are protected in England.
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