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If rights can’t be enforced, are they really rights?

Blog by Lisa Incledon, Children's Network Committee Member

In the 30th year of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, we are asking UK government to make sure that rights are real for all children.

Convention on the Rights of the Child

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is an international human rights treaty, which was agreed 30 years ago in 1989. Almost all countries in the world have signed up to it, except for the USA.

The treaty lists important rights that every child and young person under the age of 18 should have, such as:

  • The right to food, water, and healthcare
  • The right to be protected from harm
  • The right to education
  • The right to play
  • The right for children’s voices to be heard in decisions that affect them

A United Nations Committee, the Committee on the Rights of the Child oversees the Convention. It reviews countries every 5 years and tells them how they can improve children’s rights.

The UK signed the Convention on 19th April 1990, ratified it on 16th December 1991 and it came into force on 15th January 1992.

Optional Protocol 3

On 19 December 2011 the UN General Assembly approved a third Optional Protocol to the CRC, on a communications procedure.

Optional Protocol 3 is important because it allows the Committee on the Rights of the Child to hear complaints from individual children who believe their rights have been breached. However, the Committee can only hear complaints from children if their government has signed up to this process by ratifying Optional Protocol 3.

The UK Government hasn’t ratified Optional Protocol 3 yet, so children in the UK can’t complain to the Committee if their rights are breached.

Join the Campaign to Make Rights Real

Join us in calling on the UK Government to mark the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by ratifying Optional Protocol 3, and finally make rights real #ForAllChildren.



More information and campaign resources

Youth Action

Download the Petition



About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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