What we can do for

Children and Young People / Ko ngā tamariki me ngā Rangatahi

What is UNCROC?

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC) is a comprehensive human rights treaty that enshrines specific children's rights in international law. It was adopted by the UN in 1989 and defines universal principles and standards for the status and treatment of children worldwide.

When did NZ sign up for UNCROC? Are many other countries involved?

UNCROC was ratified by New Zealand in 1993. All United Nations member states, except for the United States and Somalia, have ratified the Convention.

What are the main principles of UNCROC?

UNCROC is made up of 54 articles that set out a range of human rights standards for the treatment of children and young people. Four articles capture the general principles underpinning the Convention. These are:

  • all children have the right to protection from discrimination on any grounds
  • the best interests of the child should be the primary consideration in all matters affecting the child
  • children have the rights to life, survival and development
  • all children have the right to an opinion and for that opinion to be heard in all contexts.

Why is UNCROC important?

UNCROC is one of the most valued and respected human rights documents in the world, guaranteeing basic and fundamental rights to the world's children. It is also history's most ratified human rights treaty, and one of the United Nations core human rights instruments. It is the only international human rights treaty to include civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, and sets out in detail what every child needs to have a safe, happy and fulfilled childhood.

What other children's rights does UNCROC support?

The Convention gives children and young people up to the age of 18 over 40 rights. These include the right to:

  • special protection measures and assistance
  • access to services such as education and health care
  • develop their personalities, abilities and talents to the fullest potential
  • grow up in an environment of happiness, love and understanding
  • be informed about and participate in achieving their rights in an accessible and active manner.