The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first international treaty that recognises and protects the political, social, economic, environmental and human rights of a child. The member states of the United NAtions recognised a need for a separate treaty pertaining to children and protection of their rights. 192 countries have ratified the UNCRC. India ratified the treaty in 1992.

The UNCRC recognises a child as an human being below 18 years of age unless a child attains majority at an earlier age according to the legislation of the country in question. Countries that have ratified the UNCRC are expected to report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child periodically and report on the progress they have made in the field of child rights and their future plan of action. The convention provides guidelines to the countries with respect to child protection and child rights.

The UNCRC consists of 41 Articles but highlights guiding principles that are considered to be the four pillars of this international legislation. The guiding principles are used in every aspect of child protect, especially in providing justice to children in need of care and protect and children in conflict with law. The guiding principles are as follows-

Article 2
Non-discrimination: All children are equal and cannot be discriminated on grounds of name, origin, caste, colour, creed and economic and political status.

Article 3
Best interest of the child: The first consideration in any situation shall always be in favour of the best interest of the child. 

Article 6
Survival and Development: It is of utmost importance to ensure that every child enjoys her/his 
right to life, education and healthy development. Any road-block in the survival and development of a child will be a violation of her/his rights and should be dealt with immediately.

Article 12
Participation of the Child: Children have the right to speech, expression and participation. In 
any situation involving the child, she/he has the right to express her/his views. No only that, the 
concerned authorities/guardian must consider the views of the child and her/his best interest 
before taking any decision on behalf of the child. 

The guiding principles are not only useful in policy or decision making for children but can also be used in the family, school, neighbourhood and community in order to create a healthy and safe environment for our children. 

To read the Treaty in detail, click here.

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