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In the 1940s, the United Nations produced the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted in 1948. This declaration applies to children as well as adults. However, growing awareness of the rights of children led to calls for a dedicated children's human rights treaty. In 1959, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the second declaration of the Rights of the Child. This consisted of 10 principles for working in the best interests of the child. This declaration was not legally binding, however, and was only a statement of intent.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) was drafted over the course of 10 years between 1979 and 1989.
Representatives from all societies, religions and cultures contributed, and a working group was given the task of drafting the Convention. Like all human rights treaties, the UNCRC had first to be approved or adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.
On 20 November 1989, the governments represented at the General Assembly (which included the UK) agreed to adopt the convention into international law. The UK signed the Convention on 19 April 1990, ratified it on 16 December 1991 and it came into force on 15 January 1992.
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