International Standards and Policies

A list of regional and international charters, conventions, standards, and policies related to children's care.

Convention on the Rights of the Child

The Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted on 20 November 1989 and it came into force on 2 September 1990. It has been ratified by 195 countries to date. A number of provisions of the Convention are especially relevant to children's care, in particular, Articles 9, 10, 19, 20, 21, among others.

Convention on the Rights of the Child

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict

Optional Protocol to the CRC on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted on 13 December 2006 and it came into force on 3 May 2008. It has been ratified by 157 countries to date. A number of provisions of the Convention are especially relevant to children's care. A number of articles are directly applicable to the care of children with disabilities as well as support for caregivers who have disabilities, in particular Article 7 on children with disabilities, Article 19 on Living independently and being included in the community,  Article 14 on Liberty and security of the person, Article 16 on Freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse, and Article 23 on Respect for home and the family , among others.

In particular, Article 23 on Respect for home and the family, stipulates that:

  • States who are party to the Convention must ensure that children with disabilities have equal rights with respect to family life and that early and comprehensive information, services and support to children with disabilities and their families should be established to prevent concealment, abandonment, neglect and segregation of children with disabilities.  

  • In no case should a child be separated from parents on the basis of a disability of either the child or one or both of the parents.  

  • Where the immediate family is unable to care for a child with disabilities, States Parties must undertake every effort to provide alternative care within the wider family, and failing that, within the community in a family setting.

  • States Parties must also render appropriate assistance to persons with disabilities in the  performance of their child-rearing responsibilities.

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

On 18 December 1979, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. It entered into force as an international treaty on 3 September 1981 after the twentieth country had ratified it. As of September 2015, 189 countries had raified the convention.

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) is an important tool for advancing children’s rights. While building on the same basic principles as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the AU Children’s Charter highlights issues of special importance in the African context.

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

American Convention on Human Rights

The American Convention on Human Rights was adopted in San Jose, Costa Rica in November 1969 and has been ratified or acceded by 25 countries in the region (As of September 2015). It includes a number of articles relevant to children's care including, Article on the Right to Personal Liberty, Article 17 on Rights of the Family, Article 18 on the Right to a Name,  Article 19 on Rights of the Child and Article 24 on the Right to Equal Protection. 

American Convention on Human Rights

The Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of the Child of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights