UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
The Convention on the Rights of the Child , shortly Convention on the Rights of the Child ( CRC , English Convention on the Rights of the Child , CRC ), was born on 20th November 1989 by the UN General Assembly adopted and entered into force on 2. September 1990 , thirty days after the the 20th ratification by a member country, in force. At the World Summit for Children from September 29-30, 1990 in New York, government representatives from all over the world committed themselves to recognizing the convention .
More states have acceded to the Convention on the Rights of the Child than any other UN convention, namely all member states with the exception of the USA . Most recently, Somalia and South Sudan ratified the CRC in October, 2015. Some of the 196 states (including the non-member states of the Cook Islands , Niue , Palestine and the Vatican State ) have ratified the convention, but have declared reservations (including initially Germany, Austria and Switzerland).
The convention (agreement) defines children as people who have not yet completed their 18th year of age, as long as the age of majority does not occur earlier according to the law applicable to the child (e.g. in some Islamic countries). The Convention on the Rights of the Child does not go into any more detail about when it becomes effective for the individual: be it from birth, later or before.
It sets essential standards for the protection of children around the world and emphasizes the importance of their value and well-being. The four fundamental principles on which the Convention is based include survival and development , non-discrimination , safeguarding the interests of children and their participation .
Ten fundamental rights
The text comprises 54 articles in the language customary for texts that are binding under international law; an official version in "child-friendly" form does not exist. The UNICEF , the children's rights organization of the UN , sums up the 20-page text in ten fundamental rights together (the numbering does not match that of the article!):
- The right to equal treatment and protection from discrimination regardless of religion , origin or gender ;
- The right to a name and a nationality ;
- The right to health ;
- The right to education and training ;
- The right to leisure , play and recreation ;
- The right to be informed , to communicate, to be heard and to gather ;
- The right to privacy and a non-violent upbringing in the interests of equality and peace ;
- The right to immediate assistance in disasters and emergencies and to protection from cruelty, neglect, exploitation and persecution;
- The right to family , parental care and a safe home;
- The right to care for people with disabilities .
In practice, children's rights include the right to live in a safe, non-discriminatory environment, access to clean water , food , medical care and education, and the right to have a say in decisions that affect their wellbeing.
The 54 articles of the United Nations form the basis for the above Unicef summary of 10 fundamental rights. This specifically regulates the following rights:
Part I Children's Rights
- - Validity for the child; Definition
- Non-discrimination - Respect for children's rights;
- Best interests of the child -
- children's rights - Realization of
- parental rights - Respect for
- Right to lifeand development -
- name,nationality - Birth register,
- identity - Right to
- - Separation from parents; personal contact
- Family reunification; cross-border contacts -
- Unlawful transfer of children abroad -
- - Consideration of the child's will, right to be heard
- freedom of expressionandinformation - Right to
- Freedom of thought,conscienceandreligion -
- freedom ofassociationandassembly - Right to
- privateand family life - Right to respect for
- information,media, protection ofchildrenandyoung people - Right of access to
- bestinterests of thechild - Responsibility for the
- use of force,mistreatment,neglect - Protection against the
- Foster family; adoption - Children separated from the family;
- Adoption -
- Refugee children -
- disabled children - Support and rights of
- Health care -
- - Placement of children with physical or mental illnesses
- Social security -
- Entertains - Adequate living conditions;
- Right to education; School; Vocational training -
- Educational objectives; Educational institutions -
- Protection of minorities -
- leisure,culturalandartisticlife, state funding - Participation in
- exploitation - Protection against economic
- narcotic substances - Protection against
- sexual abuse - Protection against
- kidnappingandchild trafficking - Measures against
- exploitation - Protection against other
- torture, thedeath penalty,life imprisonmentwithout the possibility of early release; Legal counsel - Prohibition of
- armed conflict; Recruitment of child soldiers into thearmed forces - Protection in the event of
- reintegration ofinjured children - Recovery and
- criminal lawandcriminal proceedings - Rights of criminal acts of accused children in
- - Further domestic provisions
Part II Committee on the Rights of the Child
- - Disclosure obligation
- - Establishment of a Committee on the Rights of the Child
- - Reporting obligation
Part III final provisions
- - Participation of other organs of the United Nations
- - Signing the Convention
- Ratification ofthe Convention -
- - Accession to the Convention
- - Entry into force
- - Amendment
- - Reservations
- - Denunciation of the Convention
- - Safekeeping
- - Original, binding wording
Optional protocols to the UN CRC
There are 3 optional protocols to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The 1st Optional Protocol on the Participation of Children in Armed Conflict ( Child Soldiers ) came into force on February 12, 2002. It was signed by 166 states and ratified by 130 states, including Germany (December 13, 2004), Liechtenstein (February 4, 2005), Austria (February 1, 2002) and Switzerland (January 26, 2002) (as of June 9, 2017) ).
The 2nd Optional Protocol on Child Trafficking , Child Prostitution and Child Pornography came into force on January 18, 2002. It was signed by 173 states and ratified by 121 states, including Germany (July 15, 2009), Liechtenstein (January 30, 2013), Austria (May 6, 2004) and Switzerland (July 19, 2006) (as of June 9, 2017) ).
The 3rd Optional Protocol on the Right of Individual Complaints to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child came into force on April 14, 2014. It was signed by 50 states and ratified by 34 states, including Germany (February 28, 2013), Liechtenstein (January 25, 2017) and Switzerland (April 24, 2017) (as of June 9, 2017). Austria only signed without ratifying.
Monitoring the Convention
Compliance with the provisions of the Convention is monitored by the responsible UN treaty body , the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child , which periodically receives and evaluates the reports from the signatory states.
National Coalition Germany: In the National Coalition Germany for the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN-KRK), around 100 organizations and initiatives from various areas of society that operate nationwide have come together with the aim of establishing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Germany to make known, to monitor its implementation and to promote it. It creates supplementary reports, also called shadow reports, for the periodic state reports, in which it critically examines the state reports.
As early as the 19th century, efforts were made to alleviate the misery of children of the lower social classes in industrializing countries through protective laws. Laws prohibiting child labor are of particular importance here .
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child follows the tradition of the international child protection movement , which in the "Century of the Child" (the title of the book by the Swedish educator Ellen Key published in 1902 ) felt called upon to give the problems of youth welfare an exchange of experiences and solutions across national borders lead away. The First International Child Protection Congress, which was held in Brussels in 1913, discussed international treaties for the protection of children, such as the drafting of a convention to enforce maintenance entitlements abroad. These tasks were taken over by the League of Nations after the First World War.
The British social reformer Eglantyne Jebb created the Save the Children Fund on April 15, 1919 in response to the impoverishment of children in the First World War and collected donations for it through fundraising . In 1920 the "International Save the Children Union" was founded on her initiative. In 1921, the aid organization concentrated on helping children in Greece and Saratov . Jebb prepared a paper on children's rights in 1923 and mobilized the League of Nations for her children's charter . Their idea was taken up and on September 24, 1924, a charter was adopted by the General Assembly of the League of Nations in Geneva. The “Geneva Declaration” of September 26, 1924, which followed the Charter, does not provide for a right to education. Instead, the statement says: "The child should be put in a position to earn a living [...]."
The General Assembly of the United Nations, the successor organization of the League of Nations, founded in 1945, added statements in favor of children in its Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 , aimed at protection. On November 20, 1959, the General Assembly passed the “Declaration on the Rights of Children”, drawing on the key points of the earlier Geneva Declaration and adding to it. In 1979, the year of the child , Poland submitted drafts for a Convention on the Rights of the Child, which became the basis for the Convention of November 20, 1989.
The Convention and the German-speaking countries
The German Bundestag approved the Convention on the Rights of the Child with a law of February 17, 1992 ( Federal Law Gazette II p. 121 ). After ratification on March 6, 1992, the convention came into force for the Federal Republic of Germany on April 5, 1992 ( Federal Law Gazette II p. 990 ). The reservations initially declared were withdrawn in 2010 ( BGBl. 2011 II p. 600 ). As a result, the CRC as a treaty under international law has the full status of a federal law (Art. 59 (2) GG).
A National Action Plan for a Child-Friendly Germany 2005–2010 serves the Federal Republic to implement the Child Rights Convention. It is an initiative of the federal government, which emerged from the final document "A Child-Friendly World" of the United Nations, 2002 in New York. The basis of this action plan is accordingly the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The basic concern of the German NAP is to improve the living conditions of children and their rights. For this purpose, it was divided into six subject areas:
- Equal opportunities through education
- Growing up without violence
- Promote healthy living and environmental conditions
- Participation of children and young people
- Development of an adequate standard of living for all children
- International commitments
Reservations: Law on foreigners before the Convention on the Rights of the Child
Although German delegates announced in 1988 that they would not consent to this convention, the Federal Government signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1992, despite further protests, but only with reservations under the law on aliens, according to which German law on aliens takes precedence over obligations of the convention. Besides Austria, Germany was the only other country in Europe that imposed deportation detention against children and young people. In 2003 in Hamburg alone, around 125 minors were in custody for more than three months.
After the approval of the Federal Council, the Federal Government decided on May 3, 2010 to withdraw the declaration of reservation made when the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was ratified. The legally binding withdrawal declaration was deposited with the UN in New York on July 15, 2010. Art. 3 para. 1 UN CRC applies without restriction, that is, “in all measures that affect children, regardless of whether they are taken by public or private institutions of social welfare, courts, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, [is…] the well-being of the child is an aspect that must be given priority ". In this Art. 3 UN CRC, a hitherto largely neglected potential for the domestic application of law is presumed, both in terms of material and procedural law.
It is the duty and duty of all German authorities and courts to assert the priority of the child's best interests by aligning their decision-making practice with the balancing and justification requirements of the Convention.
In the memorandum on the agreement of the German Federal Government it had already been stated at the beginning of 1991: "The agreement sets standards that have been implemented in the Federal Republic of Germany and does not offer any reason to undertake fundamental changes or reforms of domestic law."
Austria signed the UN Convention with the first signatory states in 1990.
When ratifying the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Switzerland made a total of seven reservations on five articles. The following three caveats still apply:
- Article 10 paragraph 1: Swiss legislation that does not allow certain categories of foreign nationals to join the family is reserved.
- Article 37 letter c: the separation between juveniles and adults in deprivation of liberty is not guaranteed without exception.
- Article 40: the Swiss juvenile criminal proceedings, which guarantee neither an unconditional right to assistance nor the organizational and personal separation between investigating and judging authorities, are reserved.
The following four reservations were withdrawn:
- Article 5: The parental custody reservation was lifted on April 8, 2004.
- Article 7: This reservation became obsolete with the revision of the Civil Rights Act 2003 (in force since January 1, 2006). According to Article 30 of the Civil Rights Act , stateless children can now be naturalized more easily.
- Article 40 (2): The withdrawal took effect on May 1, 2007.
- Article 40 (2) (b), (vi): The withdrawal took effect on January 12, 2004.
The UN Convention has been in force in Liechtenstein since January 21, 1996. As of October 1, 2009, the two reservations on Articles 7 and 10 and the declaration on Article 1 had been withdrawn.
International Children's Rights Day
Since 1989 November 20th has been considered International Children's Rights Day or World Children's Day . The day is often used as an opportunity to address children's rights around the world. Germany, on the other hand, decided on September 20 as the (German) Children's Day .
Performance of the convention
The rights guaranteed by the Convention can only be enforced in court by the children or their parents if this is provided for in the legal system of the competent state. Incidentally, Article 4, Paragraph 1 of the Convention states that no individual legal claims can be derived directly from the Convention. In order to make norms of the convention relevant in practice, they must be transposed into national law.
In several places in the charter reference is made to the (financial) possibilities of the state which is supposed to protect the children in its territory. So no state has to do more than it can do. The consideration of financially poorly resourced states is also made clear by the facts that the convention does not regulate, such as B. a right of schoolchildren to post-primary education. Such a right would place a heavy burden on the national budgets of poor countries and overwhelm their ability to maintain the relevant infrastructure.
In the case of alleged violations of the Convention in states that have signed the Third Optional Protocol, the children concerned or, with the consent of the children, a third party can submit individual complaints to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child . The prerequisite for the admissibility of the complaint is that national legal remedies have been exhausted beforehand and the complaint has been filed within one year. If the complaint is accepted and if it is admissible, the committee examines its content and can determine a breach of contract. In this case, the committee submits proposals to the state on how the infringement can be remedied. The state must comment in writing. During the proceedings, the committee works towards an amicable agreement between the complainant and the state.
These recommendations of the committee are not legally binding, but are, in the opinion of child rights experts at the University of Leiden , considered authoritative and have the potential to bring about changes in the law of the respective state. Restrictive provisions, such as exhausting national legal remedies or the one-year deadline, are named as weaknesses of the Additional Protocol.
- Children's rights
- European Convention on the Exercise of Children's Rights
- Childhood and Adolescence in the United States # UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
- National Action Plan for Children , National Action Plan for a Child-Friendly Germany
- National Coalition Germany
- Child interest
- Save the Children
- German Children's Fund
- Axel Backhaus, among other things (ed.): Democratic primary school - participation of children about their life and learning. Working group primary level / FB2 of the university. Univers Published by Siegen 2008.
- Hendrik Cremer: Human rights treaties as a source of individual rights. Domestic validity and applicability of human rights treaties using the example of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) , Anwaltsblatt (AnwBl.), 3/2011, p. 159 ( online )
- Hendrik Cremer: The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Validity and applicability in Germany after the withdrawal of the reservations (as of June 2011; PDF )
- Hendrik Cremer: Children's rights and the primacy of the child's best interests. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child offers a wide field of application , Anwaltsblatt (AnwBl.), 4/2012, p. 327 
- Dorothea Pass-Weingartz (in collaboration with Kid Verlag Bonn): The Convention on the Rights of Children. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in full. Bonn 1992, 38 pages, ISBN 3-929386-01-1
- Florian Ruhs: The juvenile prison system in Germany and its conformity with international and European guidelines, recommendations and international law , in: StudZR 1/2011, pp. 85-100
- Stefanie Schmahl: UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Commentary , Nomos, 2013
- Text of the Children's Rights Convention (PDF), published by the Federal Ministry for Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth
- Overview page of the Federal Foreign Ministry with materials on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
- Federal Foreign Office : Further material on the legal situation (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child)
- National Coalition for the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Germany
- Status of ratification (English)
- Humanrights.ch: overview and further information
- The implementation of the Convention in national action plans in each country in PDF form (English)
- Fact sheet "10 Years of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Switzerland: 2007 / Review and Outlook" (PDF; 37 kB)
- Switzerland's reservations about the Convention on the Rights of the Child
- Convention on the Rights of the Child in the UN Treaty Collection
- Süddeutsche: Somalia and South Sudan ratify the children's rights convention
- Text of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Art. 1–54
- possible source of this paragraph: Children have rights poster P0011 from December 30, 2004; Publisher Unicef ; accessed January 12, 2016
- Convention on the Rights of the Child - UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in full with materials, official translation with additional protocols; Editor Federal Minister for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth ; accessed January 12, 2016
- Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict: Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Regarding the Participation of Children in Armed Conflict ( Memento of March 29, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
- ratification of the 1st optional protocol
- Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict: Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Regarding Child Trafficking, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography ( Memento of March 28, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
- ratification of the 2nd optional protocol
- The 3rd Optional Protocol on Individual Complaint
- ratification of the 3rd optional protocol
- Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth: Convention on the Rights of the Child. UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in full with materials . Berlin, November 2014, p. 34
- Ministry for Family, Women, Youth, Integration and Consumer Protection Rhineland-Palatinate: History of Children's Rights , accessed on August 19, 2017
- Schmahl: Child Rights Convention . Nomos, 2012, p. Introduction, margin no.25 .
- Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth: Fifth and Sixth State Reports of the Federal Republic of Germany. February 1, 2019, p. 3 , accessed December 20, 2019 .
- Implementation and application of the Children's Rights Convention in Germany Legal opinion on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth. September 25, 2017, p. 2 , accessed December 20, 2019 .
- Maria Peer-Macék, ibid.
- The Federal Republic of Germany and the UN Children's Convention (PDF; 70 kB)
- UN Convention on the Rights of the Child without reservations
- cf. Lorz Expertise "After the withdrawal of the German declaration of reservation: What does the unrestricted realization of the priority of the child's best interests mean in German law according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child?"; Berlin 2010, 15
- For example, B. the District Court - Family Court - Gießen (dated July 16, 2010, Az. 244 F 1159/09 VM) determined that, after the declaration of reservation was withdrawn, the regulations on the legal capacity of minors (§ 80 AufenthG, § 12 AsylVfG - today's name: AsylG -) contradict UN-CRC, and in the case of a 17-year-old young unaccompanied refugee, the appointment of a supplementary carer is ordered.
- Bundestag printed matter 12/42. from 01/24/1991 pdf p. 32 bottom left.
- Maria peer Macek. Selected Legal Problems of Adoption and Other Forms of Dual Parenthood. Diplomica GmbH. Hamburg. Page 23 ff.
- AS 1998 2055, 2098 (PDF; 494 kB)
- http://www.humanrights.ch/de/Schweiz/UNO/Kinderrechtskonvention/Vorbehalte/index.html Switzerland's reservations regarding the Children's Rights Convention, humanrights.ch, August 18, 2010
- AS 2007 3839 (withdrawal of a reservation) (PDF; 446 kB)
- AS 2004 813 (withdrawal of a reservation) (PDF; 64 kB)
- Liechtensteinisches Landesgesetzblatt: Convention on the Rights of the Child. Retrieved December 7, 2017 .
- Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth: Convention on the Rights of the Child. UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in full with materials . Berlin, November 2014, p. 42
- Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth: Convention on the Rights of the Child. UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in full with materials . Berlin, November 2014, p. 48
- Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth: Convention on the Rights of the Child. UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in full with materials . Berlin, November 2014, Chapter V. Optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child with regard to a notification procedure.
- Ton Liefaard, Julia Sloth-Nielsen, Daniella Zlotnik: A new perspective on international children's rights jurisprudence. January 11, 2019, accessed September 25, 2019 .
- Lina Johansson: The Third Optional Protocol to the International Convention on the Right of the Child: A Success or a Failure for the Enforcement of Children's Rights? In: Queen Mary Human Rights Review . 2015 ( qmul.ac.uk [PDF; 308 kB ]).