United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

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An international treaty, adopted in 1989. The rights apply to all persons under 18 except in countries where the age of majority is lower. The Convention declares the family to be the natural environment for children and states that in all actions concerning children account should be taken of their best interests. It promulgates the child's right to a name and nationality, to privacy, freedom of association, thought, conscience, and religion. The obligations of others, especially parents and the state, are documented. The state, for example, must provide childcare for those with working parents, education, health care, and protection from child sexual exploitation, child abuse and neglect, drug abuse, and child labour. The treaty indicates the special protection required by vulnerable children, such as the victims of armed conflict, handicapped and refugee children, and the children of minorities. It is binding on states which ratify it, but there is no mechanism for enforcement.

Subjects: World History.

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