The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)

Illustration showing the United Nations convention on the rights of the child

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child came into force in September 1990. It sets out the rights enjoyed by people under the age of 18. These rights are very similar to those in the UNDHR, but also includes children’s right to:

  • life;
  • own name and identity;
  • be raised by parents in a family or cultural group;
  • have a relationship with both parents, even if they are separated;
  • have their own opinions;
  • live free from abuse or exploitation;
  • privacy.

The UK Government signed the UNCRC in 1991. In Northern Ireland, the government works with the Department of Education, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the Department of Health, and the Department of Communities to ensure that your rights are protected.

The UNCRC was developed to combat three big problems that face children around the world:

  • child and slave labour;
  • the conscription of child soldiers;
  • sexual exploitation.

Let’s have a look at the articles in which the UNCRC protects children from slave labour. It protects the following rights:

  • (UNCRC) Article 10: the right to live with their parents. This right is abused when children are removed from their families and forced into child labour.
  • (UNCRC) Article 11: the right to be protected from kidnapping. This right may be abused when children are forcibly removed from their parents to be exploited by others.
  • (UNCRC) Article 12: the right to freedom of expression. This right may be denied when children’s voices go unheard.
  • (UNCRC) Article 28: right to free education. This right is abused when children are forced to work instead of going to school.
  • (UNCRC) Article 31: right to play and rest. This right is denied when children are forced to work instead of enjoying recreation.