What are Some Dangers of Quitting Xanax Cold Turkey?

A cold-turkey Xanax withdrawal can produce uncomfortable, and sometimes dangerous, side effects, including:
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety and/or panic attacks
  • Trembling
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Nausea
  • Heart palpitations
  • Muscle pain and stiffness
  • Headaches
Serious side effects include:
  • Seizures
  • Psychosis
  • Hallucinations
  • Return to Xanax use
Going cold turkey means quitting the abuse of drugs or alcohol abruptly with no weaning period and no professional assistance. Many people assume they can stop using a drug just as easily as they began taking it. This is rarely the case when benzodiazepines like Xanax are concerned. Few people who abuse benzodiazepines are aware of how dangerous they can be, even when taken as prescribed.
Per the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 52 million people abuse a prescription drug over the course of their lifetimes. In truth, FDA approval of a pharmaceutical drug does not mean users are safe from harm.
In some instances, Xanax is considered to be more toxic than other benzodiazepines. In one study published by the British Journal of Pharmacology, the length of stay for 131 people who overdosed on Xanax was 1.27 times longer than people who overdosed on other benzos. Of those who overdosed on Xanax, 22 percent were treated in intensive care units — 2.06 times more than other cases.

The Dangers of Going Cold Turkey

Individuals can really shock their systems if they try to stop taking Xanax altogether without weaning off it. When a person is abusing this drug, the body becomes accustomed to the effects it causes, and without the drug, the body doesn’t know how to respond. As a result, it goes into overdrive trying to compensate for the loss of GABA activity, and it tries to reset the brain’s normal neurotransmitter production levels. When people are addicted, they cannot escape Xanax without enduring withdrawal. The Washington Post reports 10-20 percent of individuals who use benzodiazepines like Xanax for prolonged periods of time will end up tolerant to the drug’s effects and dependent on them. Withdrawal can begin to set in as soon as five hours after the last dose of Xanax, possibly even sooner for those who are accustomed to using it more frequently.
Just as abusing Xanax can bring serious side effects, stopping that abuse suddenly can bring a stream of side effects that are hard for the body and mind to handle. Convulsions, seizures, psychosis, paranoia, mood swings, and mania can occur due to withdrawal. These symptoms appear quickly and can be quite hard to handle. Just when they start to wane and individuals feel some relief, they often return and will continue to ebb and flow for some time.
Xanax withdrawal is even more dangerous if individuals are home alone when these events occur. In fact, benzodiazepine withdrawal has been linked to death in some cases. In one case, a female who had used 200 mg of Xanax over the course of six days and then abruptly stopped using it died four days later; it was determined her death was the result of withdrawal from benzos, as reported by the American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology.

How to Quit Safely

There is only one recommended method for coming off Xanax and that is to taper the dose under medical supervision. Since medical detox is the only safe method, any other form of withdrawal from Xanax is not recommended.
If a person has been abusing large amounts of Xanax, the tapering process may take a bit longer. That doesn’t mean that someone who uses smaller doses doesn’t need supervision. Medical detox is the only way to ensure safety and wellbeing during the withdrawal process.
Following detox, it is advisable to seek out a plan for continued care. Overcoming addiction is not as simple as stopping use of the drug. Medical detox is only part of the recovery equation. Sustained sobriety requires a complete treatment plan. Through therapy, individuals can address underlying issues that led to Xanax abuse and build the confidence needed to stay sober after detox.

Therapy for co-occurring disorders is essential for those who ended up dependent on Xanax as a form of treatment for panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder. According to Helpguide, 29 percent of all people affected by mental health disorders abuse drugs or alcohol. Alternative treatments are available that can address both issues – the Xanax abuse issue and the mental health disorder.
Disclaimer: Quitting Xanax without medical supervision can be life-threatening. Always seek a physician’s guidance before attempting to stop use of Xanax or before discontinuing a prescribed drug treatment regimen.

Xanax is in a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. These are anti-anxiety medications prescribed when people are highly stressed or having panic attacks. There are 44 million prescriptions written each year for Xanax (alprazolam), the most of any benzodiazepine. It is the eighth-most prescribed drug in the country.
Having plenty of a drug in circulation usually means that there is plenty of the drug available for abuse as well. And that is the case. Xanax “bars” are a very popular drug of abuse; this drug comes in the form of a small white bar that is scored so it can be broken into smaller doses. Generic forms of the drug—alprazolam—may be green or other colors.

Benzodiazepines Send Tens of Thousands to Rehab

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, benzos help send 60,000 people per year to publicly-funded rehab centers. Add in the privately funded centers and the number would be even higher.
The number of people being admitted to drug rehabs for addictions involving benzodiazepines nearly tripled between 1998 and 2008, while treatment admissions as a whole only went up eleven percent. However, nearly every person in treatment for benzodiazepines abused another substance as well. The most common secondary drug to abuse was opiates, then alcohol and then marijuana. But in the 12-to-17-year-old range, the most common secondary drug to abuse along with benzodiazepines was marijuana.
In 2009, there were more than 150,000 emergency room visits related to Xanax abuse—this number increased 150% over the number from 2004. By itself, it seldom kills people but when mixed with alcohol or opiates, the cumulative effect can be to slow a person’s breathing to the point of death.
This drug was present in the deaths of Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. One report from CNN stated that Michael Jackson was taking 10 Xanax bars a night just before his death, and that it was a decrease in his consumption from 30 to 40 bars a night.
Xanax is a fast-acting benzo and so is used to get anxiety or panic attacks under control quickly. There are a few benzos that act even faster that are primarily used before surgery.

Tolerance to Xanax Builds Quickly, Followed by Addiction

One of the problems with these drugs is that a body quickly builds a tolerance to them, meaning that more of the drug must be taken to get the same effect perhaps after just a few weeks. This buildup of tolerance can occur again and again, until one’s dosage gets very high.
According to the National Institutes of Health, this type of drug should not be taken for more than a few months due to the risk of addiction. There are also dangerous side effects suffered by some people, especially at higher doses like those taken by those are abusing the drug.
More serious effects include depression, thoughts of suicide, aggressive behavior, chest pain, tremors, confusion and hallucinations. Less serious effects include blurred or double vision, nausea, vomiting, loss of interest in sex and memory problems.
Since Xanax is a drug with such high abuse and addiction potential, use of it should be very short-term under close observation of a doctor. Supplies of the drug should be kept out of the reach of anyone who might abuse them. And if a person does become addicted to Xanax, an effective drug rehab service should be found to help that person find recovery.
At Narconon drug rehabilitation centers around the world, lasting recovery from addiction to Xanax can be found.
The Narconon program not only addresses the debilitating effects of drug abuse on the mind and body, but also resolves why a person turned to drugs in the first place. As a result, a person can graduate from the program into a new life free from drug use.
To those who wish to break the pattern of drug use or drinking that is destroying their lives, Narconon provides a unique drug recovery program that works.


The Dangers of Mixing Xanax and Alcohol

These days, it’s not uncommon to turn on the news and hear about a celebrity death involving a mixture of drugs and alcohol. Deaths from mixed drugs date back decades — most notably, “Wizard of Oz” star Judy Garland and American music icon Elvis Presley. More recently, we’ve seen it happen to Whitney Houston, Health Ledger, and Anna Nicole Smith.
But the problem extends far beyond Hollywood. The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) reports that drug overdose deaths have spiked 102 percent from 1999 to 2000. In 2010, there were over 38,000 deaths from drug overdoses, and 60 percent of those deaths involved prescription drugs (as opposed to heroin or cocaine). Of the 22,000 deaths involving prescription drugs, 30 percent involved benzodiazepines such as Xanax.
Drugs such as Xanax are highly addictive. Aside from how addictive it is, Xanax is relatively safe when taken on its own, and the amount needed to overdose is very high. However, it’s much easier to overdose on Xanax when it’s combined with other drugs, such as alcohol. When combined, Xanax and alcohol can cause various side effects, some of which can be fatal. This is why alcohol and Xanax should never be combined. Even if you think you’re responsible with your drinking, and Xanax is taken as prescribed, it’s important to still be aware of the dangers of taking Xanax with alcohol.
This page can address a number of your questions regarding mixing Xanax and alcohol, including:
  • What happens when you mix Xanax and alcohol?
  • Can you die from Xanax?
  • Are there dangers associated with Xanax and drinking?
  • Are there dangers associated with Xanax and beer?

What Makes Mixing Alcohol and Xanax So Dangerous?

Xanax is a prescription anti-anxiety medication. It’s also sold in the generic form under its chemical name, alprazolam. Xanax is classified as a benzodiazepine central nervous system depressant. Benzodiazepine medication is commonly prescribed to treat anxiety, panic disorder, and occasionally, alcohol withdrawal. The goal is to slow down the activity of the central nervous system and produce a calming effect. When abused, misused, or combined with other drugs, benzodiazepine medications can cause dangerous, and even deadly, side effects.
Similarly, alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. Because of this, the warning label for Xanax warns against drinking alcohol and using other non-prescribed drugs while taking it.
Alcohol and Xanax both increase activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. This neurotransmitter is responsible for muting excitation in the brain, which causes a sedative effect. When depressants are mixed together, over-sedation occurs, which is a serious problem that may result in death.
Xanax intensifies the symptoms of alcohol and vice versa. When taken together, alcohol and Xanax become more potent than if you used either of them on their own. As a result, you’re at risk of excessive sedation, dangerous accidents, respiratory depression, cardiac problems, and loss of consciousness.
Other depressants that are commonly mixed with Xanax include:
  • Opioid analgesics (OxyContin, Vicodin, morphine).
  • Barbiturates (Seconal, Nembutal).
  • Hypnotic drugs (Ambien).
  • Heroin.
  • Methadone.
Combining drugs can escalate the side effects of Xanax, causing severe drowsiness, fatigue, weakness, and clumsiness. It also increases the risk of breathing difficulties, unconsciousness, and unintentional death.

Side Effects of Mixing Xanax and Alcohol

Alcohol and Xanax work to reduce overall activity in the brain, effectively reducing signals in the central nervous system. When taken independently, they both cause a relaxing effect on users. But together, the effects of each drug build upon one another.
Reduced activity in the central nervous system can lead to dangerous side effects. Individuals mixing Xanax and alcohol are at risk of:
  • Vertigo
  • Fainting
  • Slow breathing
  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Slow pulse
  • Impaired coordination
  • Nausea
  • Memory loss
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Delirium
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death
With these side effects in min, mixing Xanax and alcohol (including drinking on Xanax) is never a good idea. Whether it’s Xanax and beer, wine or any other alcoholic beverage, these two substances should never be combined in any way.

Can You Overdose on Xanax?

“Can you die from Xanax?” and “Can you overdose on Xanax?” are two commonly asked questions regarding this medication. Even without mixing Xanax and alcohol, there can be dangers with taking Xanax alone. Taking this drug in larger doses than prescribed or for longer than recommended can lead to addiction. It takes a relatively high dosage of Xanax to cause an overdose, but it’s a common occurrence when combined with alcohol or other depressants.
Symptoms of a Xanax overdose may include:
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Confusion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Blurred vision
  • Fainting
  • Coma
If you or someone you know experiences any of these overdose symptoms, call 911 immediately.

Getting Help

If you or someone you know is mixing Xanax and alcohol, it’s important that you seek help immediately from an addiction treatment facility. Treatment for co-occurring alcohol and Xanax use often requires a period of medically monitored detox.
If you’ve been abusing alcohol and Xanax over an extended period of time, it’s likely that you’ve become dependent on them. When you stop using, you’ll likely experience withdrawal symptoms that range from mild discomfort to dangerous medical conditions.
Attempting to self-detox at home or quit cold turkey is never advised, especially if you’ve been using for a long time. Medically assisted detox helps minimize the risk of experiencing potentially dangerous symptoms. A team of medical professionals will provide 24-hour care and if necessary, provide you with medications to help with withdrawal symptoms.




It's no secret that parents play an essential role in in their kids' development. This doesn't just mean physically or education wise but also socially as well. According to new scientific findings, there are other negative effects that bad parenting can have on children that many don't realize. A recent study suggests that kids who are rejected by their fathers have a more difficult time forming friendships with their peers. 

Research conducted at the University of Pennsylvania and published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence explored whether or not parental rejection can have a significant outcome on things like social anxiety and the formation of friendships. In their study, researchers found that kids who had been rejected by their fathers had more social anxiety than children who had not endured this paternal rejected. 

Soncientists also found that this social anxiety made it significantly harder for the kids to form meaningful, lasting friendship as children as well as later in life. "We found that father rejection predicted increases in adolescents' social anxiety, even when we controlled for social anxiety at an earlier time. In turn, this predicted increases in loneliness later on," study conductor Hio Wa "Grace" Mak told Science Daily. "This suggests that fathers' rejecting attitudes toward their adolescent children may make them more nervous about approaching social situations, which in turn is related to more social isolation and feelings of loneliness."
To conduct their study, scientists combed over data from 687 two-parent families who had kids in middle school. They assessed the families three different times, while the children were in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. Ultimately they found that rejection by both mother and the father definitely made children feel more lonely but it was only the father's rejection that resulted in social anxiety. 
"We found that mother rejection, father rejection and the overall family climate all affect adolescents' friendship quality and loneliness," said Mak. "Additionally, we found that father rejection, but not mother rejection, predicted changes in social anxiety. Fathers aren't usually included in family research, so it's important to know more about fathers and how they influence adolescent friendship and loneliness."
Researchers believe that rejection from fathers leads kids to feel afraid of rejection from their peers. This, coupled with the growing social anxiety, can seriously hinder the development of interpersonal relationships in young teens. 
Although this study is certainly an important look at not commonly addressed family dynamics, the authors of the study want to use the information to create improved intervention strategies. Researchers believe that extending better help and resources to adolescents with social anxiety as well as reinforcing the importance of father, child relationships, can seriously help curb these issues. 

Additionally, they seek to find ways to help kids struggling with these issues build better relationships with their peers. "Often, when we try to intervene and help promote positive peer relationships, we focus on the school setting, where a lot of these friendships are taking place," said study co-author Gregory M. Fosco. "I think these findings suggest that we should also reach out to families to help them support this sense of belonging and connection. We might be overlooking the family as an important piece of cultivating these healthy peer relationships."

Article 1: Definition of the child

Article 1 defines children as all human beings below 18. The Convention takes no position on the life of an unborn child, but says that all children have the rights set out in the Convention until their 18th birthday.

Article 2: Non-discrimination

States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child's or his or her parent's or legal guardian's race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.
States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that the child is protected against all forms of discrimination or punishment on the basis of the status, activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of the child's parents, legal guardians, or family members.

Article 3: Best interests of the child

  1. In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.
  2. States Parties undertake to ensure the child such protection and care as is necessary for his or her well-being, taking into account the rights and duties of his or her parents, legal guardians, or other individuals legally responsible for him or her, and, to this end, shall take all appropriate legislative and administrative measures.
  3. States Parties shall ensure that the institutions, services and facilities responsible for the care or protection of children shall conform with the standards established by competent authorities, particularly in the areas of safety, health, in the number and suitability of their staff, as well as competent supervision

Article 4: Implementation of rights

States Parties shall undertake all appropriate legislative, administrative, and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized in the present Convention. With regard to economic, social and cultural rights, States Parties shall undertake such measures to the maximum extent of their available resources and, where needed, within the framework of international cooperation.
When States ratify international treaties, they agree to take measures to put them into practice. For children, this means their government must make sure the country they live in and its institutions provide them with the means to truly become rights holders. This involves reforming laws, providing resources and services, monitoring how children are affected and developing institutions that promote children’s rights.

Article 5: Parental guidance and the child's evolving capacities

States Parties shall respect the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents or, where applicable, the members of the extended family or community as provided for by local custom, legal guardians or other persons legally responsible for the child, to provide, in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child, appropriate direction and guidance in the exercise by the child of the rights recognized in the present Convention.

What does article 5 say?

Article 5 introduces the idea that children should be able to exercise their rights as they acquire the competence to do so. States should take this right into account when establishing minimum ages on particular issues.
This article and the Convention as a whole places parents centre stage in the child's development. However, parental guidance must be geared towards supporting children to exercise their rights and make their own decisions, respecting the extent to which children can do this for themselves. Rights are not contingent upon a person's ability to claim them, but extend to all.

Why is this important?

This article provides an additional way to age of assessing children's maturity and capacity for making decisions. This is particularly important for decisions that must be made on a case by case such as consent to medical treatment.
Together with article 18, which asserts parents’ common responsibilities in raising their children, it provides a basis for the relationship between the child, their parents and the State.

What are the problems?

Children face a confusing array of minimum ages at which they are deemed capable of making decisions for themselves -  from getting a job to accessing confidential medical advice, to getting married.
The idea of minimum ages stems from adults' presumption that children lack capacity and must therefore be protected from the consequences of their decisions. Age restrictions are one way of achieving this protection, but they ignore the fact that children acquire maturity at different rates as well as a whole range of other factors which influence children's maturity. In some societies for example, children are already taking on responsibilities such as caring for younger siblings or a parent who uses drugs or alcohol that would be considered exceptional elsewhere; in other places, children are overprotected to the point where they are not allowed to play outside or say what they think or feel, denying them the chance to grow and find out who they are.
Children certainly require protection and adult guidance as a result of their young age and lack of experience. No child should be exposed to violence or exploitation, and no child should be forced to make a decision they don't want to make. However, all children should be listened to irrespective of age, their views should be taken seriously and their right to privacy and confidentiality should be recognised. Involving children in what is happening at home and in the community, taking their views into account and allowing them to make mistakes promotes their self-confidence and develops their maturity which in turn equips them to avert risks.
Denying children their feelings and opinions tells them they don't count, leaving them unable to protect themselves. The right to confidential medical advice and counselling is particularly pertinent, especially where children's safety or well-being is at stake, such as for children experiencing violence or abuse at home and those seeking sexual and reproductive health education or services. In such cases, children should have the right to confidential advice without parental consent at all ages. Even where children lack capacity, any decision about their health or other area of their lives must take their views into account as central to determining their best interests.
Where children are overprotected, adults often do not recognise how capable they are. Children often have to deal with challenging situations - bullies at school or family break-ups, for example.

What can States do about it?

The Convention challenges the idea that parents have absolute rights over children, implying that parental responsibility should be defined in law. It does not specifically define parental responsibilities, but indicates that parents should provide appropriate support for children to claim all their rights in the Convention.
Article 5 seeks to encourage respect for children's capacity to exercise their rights and involve them in decisions, while balancing this with their relative lack of experience to protect them from harm, such as violence and economic exploitation. In practice, this means extending the fullest possible protection to all children from harm, for example, involvement in armed conflict, while encouraging and nurturing rights relating to children's autonomy, such as freedom of expression, which allow them to grow and participate in society. This balancing act has provoked controversy in many areas of children's rights, such as the role of work and their treatment in the justice system.
The concept of evolving capacities acknowledges that children’s development is a journey and, together with the right to be heard (article 12), that they are entitled to be involved in decisions affecting them from the earliest possible age. The CRC asserts the value of children's views and of giving them weight in accordance with their age and maturity. This approach advocates taking account of children's individual characteristics and experiences, rejecting a strictly age-based approach. Some States include this concept in legislation, particularly where decisions about healthcare are concerned.
In many countries, age continues to be the main way in which children's capacity is determined and children acquire certain rights before the age of majority. The Committee encourages States to ensure where minimum ages exist that they are consistent, so the minimum age of admission to employment for example should not be lower than the minimum age for leaving compulsory education. It also insists that these are non-discriminatory, so apply to all children equally

Article 6: Survival and development

States Parties recognize that every child has the inherent right to life.
  1. States Parties shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child.

States should manifestly not kill children (e.g. through the death penalty, arbitrary executions, etc.). They should also put measures in place to allow children to survive into adulthood in conditions optimal for their development, including through combating child mortality, and providing healthcare, nutrition, sanitation and drinking water. They should protect children from harmful traditional practices such as early marriage and “honour killings”.

Article 7: Name and nationality

The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.
  1. States Parties shall ensure the implementation of these rights in accordance with their national law and their obligations under the relevant international instruments in this field, in particular where the child would otherwise be stateless.​

What does article 7 say?

Article 7 sets out children's right to be registered immediately after birth, to a name, nationality and - as far as possible - to know and be cared for by their parents. It requires States Parties to fulfil these rights in accordance with other national and international obligations, especially where children would otherwise be stateless.
This article is closely connected to article 8 (preservation identity), 9 (separation from parents), 10 (family reunification) and 20 (children deprived of their family environment).

Why is this important?

Registering each child and making sure they have a name and nationality is the first step to recognising each individual as a human being with rights. These are core elements of all individuals' identity. Without them, children remain invisible into adulthood: they have no legal identity, no voice and are at greater risk of other rights abuses. This article is not only crucial to children, but also to States because, in order to develop laws and policies that make sense, they need accurate information about the number and situation of children in their country.

What are the problems?

Children need identity documents to access a host of other rights, from education to health care and State benefits. This makes unregistered children some of the most vulnerable in the world. The fact that they have no record of who and how old they are also means they are denied protections afforded to other children. For instance, in countries where the death penalty is still permitted for adults, but has - at least in law - been abolished for children, they may be still executed in practice because they are unable to prove their status as children (Yemen). The denial of education is another common obstacle, the consequences of which can ripple into future generations (Dominican Republic). The absence of identity documents also makes children more vulnerable to human trafficking and other forms of exploitation because without legal status they are entirely at their abusers' mercy (Siliadin v. France).
Even where children are registered, the type of information recorded on their birth certificate can also violate their rights and lead to discriminatory treatment. For example, in some countries children's status as a 'foreigner' is recorded and means they are denied rights enjoyed by other children.
The right to a name - another fundamental aspect of children's identity - may be violated by their parents or the State. In the Indian state of Maharashtra, for example, some girls are given the name 'Nakusha' which means 'unwanted' in the Marathi language because parents believe that this will ensure their next child is a boy. Some States are prescriptive about names, a practice that can discriminate against minorities who have different naming traditions. Morocco's requirement that names are 'Moroccan in character', for example, meant that for many years names from the Amazigh minority were rejected by the Civil Registry, a situation which has now been rectified by a government directive. In other countries States deny children born out of wedlock the right to inherit their father's surname.
The right to an identity and a name are intrinsically linked to nationality, without which individuals have no legal status (except where they are granted protection status as a refugee). And birth registration does not necessarily equal acquisition of nationality. In many countries, children inherit their parents' legal status. This means that if a child's parents are not citizens themselves, their children may be stateless. In such cases, violations of their rights are already lined up against them before they are born: pregnant women are denied adequate pre and postnatal care, jeopardising their child's life as well as their own; in turn, children do not receive immunisations and may experience barriers to education. In some cases there is also an element of gender discrimination to this issue where, for example, women married to a foreign man are unable to pass on their nationality to their children.

What should States do about it?

Birth registration

Article 7 requires children to be registered immediately after birth. There should be no fee attached to birth registration. This obligation should be set out in domestic law and is the compulsory duty of parents and the administrative authorities. In its recommendations to States, the Committee has recommended various ways of achieving universal birth registration, including:
  • public awareness campaigns;
  • placing mobile registration units in remote areas;
  • establishing registration units in schools and health clinics; and  - promoting cooperation between health professionals such as midwives and the authorities.
While birth registration documents are public, steps should be taken to protect individuals' privacy to make sure the information recorded does not lead to discrimination.
In addition, the absence of a birth certificate should not be used to deny children other rights.

The right to a name

Children should be given a name from birth, not recorded as numbers as has happened to some refugees, or in any other way that degrades their dignity. The registration of a child's name should not discriminate against people from minority cultures - this can add to their marginalisation both in the present and later in life, for instance, rendering them unable to vote.
States should also ensure provisions are made for children to apply to change their name if they choose when they  acquire the ability to do so. Oversight mechanisms can also prevent children from being given a name which would subject them to ridicule.

The right to acquire a nationality

Nationality is generally granted either on the basis of where a person is born or the nationality of their parents. Article 7 requires that States ensure that a child acquires a nationality in particular where the child would otherwise be stateless. In practice this means that children born on the territory of a State Party should be granted access to that State’s nationality if the child does not acquire another nationality through their parents. Article 7 also requires that States refer to other international instruments to help children acquire a nationality. This includes the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness which similarly asserts that children should be granted, automatically or by application, citizenship in the country of birth if they would otherwise be stateless. Citizenship laws should not discriminate on the basis of gender and allow both mothers and fathers to pass down their nationality to their child. Stateless children should also have the right to acquire the nationality of the country they have lived in and received protection from for a certain period of time to ensure that they are lawful residents with full civil and political rights, included in society, when they reach the age of majority.

Children's right to know and, as far as possible, to be cared for by their parents 

Children's right to know and be cared for by their parents 'as far as possible' raises complicated questions, not least because of the increasingly broad definition of parents, for example, where children are conceived from in vitro fertilisation. This means a child's birth parents are different from their genetic parents. Some countries have laws to ensure parents' anonymity. In other cases, a conflict may arise between a child's right to know and their parents' right to anonymity, for instance, a mother may not wish to reveal that her child was conceived through rape or if she would be ostracised or otherwise at risk. In such instances, the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption upholds the mother's right to privacy. But it may still be possible to obtain permission from the mother to inform the child at a suitable time. Elsewhere, States limit children's right to know who their parents are if they are adopted, born out of wedlock or conceived in vitro fertilisation.
However, in all cases, children should at minimum have the right to non-identifying medical information about their genetic parents. After all, the right to 'the highest attainable standard of health' under article 24, inevitably involves questions about family history. Denying children relevant medical information could harm their standard of care and unnecessarily put their health at risk. Where there are no countervailing concerns about invading a genetic parent's protected privacy, this information should be provided to children without question. In addition, States should not only grant children access to existing information about their origins, but should also be encouraged to ensure that medical information is maintained on gametes donors and persons placing children up for adoption.
Children's right to be cared for by their parents as far as possible is also addressed in other articles - see 9, 18, 20. There may be cases where this is not possible if their parents are unable or unwilling to care for them. In some instances children may themselves choose to leave home. In such cases, efforts should focus on addressing the reasons they left in the first place. Returning children as the default action could result in violations of their rights.

Article 8: Preservation of identity

States Parties undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality, name and family relations as recognized by law without unlawful interference.
  1. Where a child is illegally deprived of some or all of the elements of his or her identity, States Parties shall provide appropriate assistance and protection, with a view to speedily re-establishing his or her identity

What does article 8 say?

Article 8 protects children's right to preserve their identity, including their nationality, name and family relations, without unlawful interference. In addition, States are required to help children regain any aspect of their identity that has been taken away from them illegally.
Article 8 explicitly mentions just three aspects of children's identity. But, read with the rest of the Convention, this article protects all other aspects of children's identity, for example, their sexual orientation and the right to their own culture.

Why is this important?

Article 8 was proposed by Argentina in the wake of the 1970s and 80s' dictatorships, during which time babies born to political prisoners were removed from their biological parents after birth and their parents were forcibly disappeared. This article was intended to prevent any similar situation from ever arising again, and to help re-establish the identity of those children whose parents had been disappeared. While the article is a consequence of a specific historical period, it has many applications - from helping children who have been displaced to re-establish contact with their family to assisting children in State care to trace aspects of their identity they are too young to remember. In essence, it protects the personal characteristics, relationships and histories that make children who they are.

What are the problems?

In Argentina and Uruguay in the 1970s and 80s, thousands of children were kidnapped from political prisoners and cast into adoption networks. Many of these individuals - who are now adults - remain unaware of their biological family relations (Gelman v. Uruguay). Similar situations persist today in different guises, in particular where corruption, lax record-keeping and oversight are rife in State care institutions. In many of these places, no record exists of children's name, age and location of placement. This heightens children's vulnerability to trafficking and other abuse, because if a child has no official identity, they have no legal status and therefore no way of challenging abuse - particularly when the State authorities are the perpetrators (Mexico). Elsewhere, countries have come under fire because of insufficient legislation to prevent and punish the disappearance of children or the falsification of identity documents.
Children may also lose the thread of family relationships which form part of their identity as a result of war, disaster, adoption or divorce, among many other reasons. Where tracing systems and record-keeping are inadequate, children may never re-establish these connections. Children's right to preserve 'family relations as recognised in law' means more than just knowing who their parents are. But in the case of laws governing divorce or adoption, children's wider family relationships, for instance, with grandparents are often not taken into the equation and children lose more than their relationship with one or both parents. In some countries, parents may be blocked from changing their children's name upon divorce or remarriage. In such cases, children may be obliged to take on their father's name - they are given no choice in the matter.
Children may be deprived of an aspect of their identity because of State policies to assimilate minority groups. There are countless examples of countries banning the use of minority names and language and forcibly removing children from their families (Roma, Aboriginal children). Even in the absence of an overt ban, the exclusion of minority languages, religion and culture from the education system can, in effect, break down distinct minority identities.
Other aspects of children's identity may be denied because they are deemed unacceptable in the society in which they live, for example their sexual orientation or children with gender dysphoria.

What can States do about it?

The first step to helping children preserve their identity is to make sure adequate laws are in place and that these are enforced. These should ensure that records on children are properly maintained and not falsified for any reason. This is particularly important for children in institutions and children who have been fostered or adopted for whom it is more difficult to find out about their early childhood. Records should include details of children's genealogy, date and place of birth, among other details.
Children should have access to these records and a say in who else can access them (in line with CRC article 16 - the right to privacy). Where there is a conflict of interests between children's right to know their birth circumstances and their parents' right to privacy, children should at the bare minimum be given medical information about their genetic parents. Read more in article 7.
The UN Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance obligates States to criminalise enforced disappearances and, where they do occur, investigate and bring those responsible to justice. Article 25 of this Convention requires States to prevent and punish the wrongful removal of children from their parents arising from enforced disappearance. This also requires States to criminalise the falsification or concealment of documents revealing children's true identity, and take measures to search for and identify these children, returning them to their own family - in line with CRC article 20. In addition, legal procedures should be in place to review all placements and to annul adoptions originating from an enforced disappearance. In all cases, children's best interests should be a primary consideration, and their right to express their views and have these taken into account according to their age and maturity should be respected.
In the case of children who have been displaced or evacuated as a result of war, Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions requires that each child be given an identity card to send to the Red Cross Central Tracing Committee. The card should contain a photo and other identifying information (article 73(3)). In addition, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has issued some Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement (1998). These protect the right of people who have been displaced to know the fate of their missing relatives, establish their whereabouts, and receive assistance from the relevant organisations (Principle 16). The Principles also require States to issue internally displaced persons with the documents they need to enjoy their legal rights, like passports and birth certificates, especially where these have been lost in the course of upheaval (Principle 20).
Other ways in which States are expected to help children re-establish their identity include by dedicating resources to measures like using the media to issue information about missing children and reunite families; actively tracing relatives of unaccompanied or refugee children; and amending nationality laws to make sure children's best interests are considered in issues like deportation of family reunification; and speeding up nationality and asylum procedures. While aspects of children's identity are being recovered, they should be cared for and told what is happening and why to help them retain a sense of security and well-being.

Article 9: Separation from parents

States Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child. Such determination may be necessary in a particular case such as one involving abuse or neglect of the child by the parents, or one where the parents are living separately and a decision must be made as to the child's place of residence.
  1. In any proceedings pursuant to paragraph 1 of the present article, all interested parties shall be given an opportunity to participate in the proceedings and make their views known.
  2. States Parties shall respect the right of the child who is separated from one or both parents to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary to the child's best interests.
  3. Where such separation results from any action initiated by a State Party, such as the detention, imprisonment, exile, deportation or death (including death arising from any cause while the person is in the custody of the State) of one or both parents or of the child, that State Party shall, upon request, provide the parents, the child or, if appropriate, another member of the family with the essential information concerning the whereabouts of the absent member(s) of the family unless the provision of the information would be detrimental to the well-being of the child. States Parties shall further ensure that the submission of such a request shall of itself entail no adverse consequences for the person(s) concerned.

Children should be able to live and have contact with their parents unless certain factors indicate that the state should intervene, such as abuse or because a child’s parents have separated. This covers both potential long term separation (e.g. a child being taken into care) and short term separation (e.g. if a child spends some time in hospital). All decisions to separate children from their parents must be made by the competent authorities.

Article 10: Family reunification

In accordance with the obligation of States Parties under article 9, paragraph 1, applications by a child or his or her parents to enter or leave a State Party for the purpose of family reunification shall be dealt with by States Parties in a positive, humane and expeditious manner. States Parties shall further ensure that the submission of such a request shall entail no adverse consequences for the applicants and for the members of their family.
  1. A child whose parents reside in different States shall have the right to maintain on a regular basis, save in exceptional circumstances personal relations and direct contacts with both parents. Towards that end and in accordance with the obligation of States Parties under article 9, paragraph 1, States Parties shall respect the right of the child and his or her parents to leave any country, including their own, and to enter their own country. The right to leave any country shall be subject only to such restrictions as are prescribed by law and which are necessary to protect the national security, public order (ordre public), public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Convention

Children should be able to maintain relationships with their family when they are in separate countries. This is particularly true in deportation cases where strict immigration rules can lead to a parent being deported from a given country when the child has a legal right to stay.

Article 11: Illicit transfer and non-return

States Parties shall take measures to combat the illicit transfer and non-return of children abroad.
  1. To this end, States Parties shall promote the conclusion of bilateral or multilateral agreements or accession to existing agreements.

Children are not only abducted by strangers for financial or other motivations, they may also be wrongfully taken out of their country by their parents or other relatives. If this happens, every effort should be taken to make sure the child is found and returned.

Article 12: The child's opinion

States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.
  1. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law

Children have the right to be heard in all matters affecting them - this is a prerequisite for guaranteeing all their other rights. In most societies, though, decisions are taken which have an impact on children's lives - in court, at home and at school and in politics - in which they are not consulted when adults would be. The arguments used to deny children a voice today are the same as those used to suppress women's views in the past (and present in some cases).

Article 13: Freedom of expression


  1. The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child's choice.
  2. The exercise of this right may be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:
    • (a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others; or
    • (b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.

What does article 13 say?

Article 13 enshrines children's right to freedom of expression. The first part of the article upholds children's right to 'seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds', in a range of formats and across borders. The second part limits restrictions that can be placed on this right.
Article 13 is one of a group of CRC articles setting out civil and political rights for children.

Article 14: Freedom of thought, conscience and religion


  1. States Parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
  2. States Parties shall respect the rights and duties of the parents and, when applicable, legal guardians, to provide direction to the child in the exercise of his or her right in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child.
  3. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.

People in many societies experience barriers to enjoying this right, in particular to freedom of religion. But children face additional barriers - their convictions are ultimately constricted by their parents and other adults around them. In some cases the imposition of parents' beliefs can lead to irreversible harm to children. A number of child deaths have been recorded because their parents, from various religious backgrounds, have rejected life-saving medical interventions for their child on religious grounds.

Article 15: Freedom of association


  1. States Parties recognize the rights of the child to freedom of association and to freedom of peaceful assembly.
  2. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of these rights other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.​

Children's interest in building friendships and in civic participation should be nurtured, not suppressed.
And yet, while many societies restrict everyone's freedom to gather and assemble peacefully, others place particular limits on this right for children. Curfews and minimum ages for joining associations are some examples.

Article 16: Protection of privacy


  1. No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation.
  2. The child has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Children are particularly vulnerable to breaches of their privacy because of the range of situations in which adults have power over them. Some children are more likely to experience this than others as a result of their living arrangements. Children living in institutions for example may have their communications intercepted and be subject to searches of their personal belongings. Children's online lives add another dimension to this right.

Article 17: Access to appropriate information


States Parties recognize the important function performed by the mass media and shall ensure that the child has access to information and material from a diversity of national and international sources, especially those aimed at the promotion of his or her social, spiritual and moral well-being and physical and mental health. To this end, States Parties shall:
  1. Encourage the mass media to disseminate information and material of social and cultural benefit to the child and in accordance with the spirit of article 29;
  2. Encourage international cooperation in the production, exchange and dissemination of such information and material from a diversity of cultural, national and international sources;
  3. Encourage the production and dissemination of children's books;
  4. Encourage the mass media to have particular regard to the linguistic needs of the child who belongs to a minority group or who is indigenous;
  5. Encourage the development of appropriate guidelines for the protection of the child from information and material injurious to his or her well-being, bearing in mind the provisions of articles 13 and 18.

Children need access to information from diverse sources to become well rounded individuals, and governments should encourage the mass media to help make this happen.
Children should also be protected from “harmful” information. But some States have subverted this notion to justify censorship. This not only firewalls children's rights and denies them information they need to make safe and informed choices, but also discriminates against others and stifles debate in society. The "anti-gay propaganda” laws in Russia, Lithuania and elsewhere are just one example of this.

Article 18: Parental responsibilities


  1. States Parties shall use their best efforts to ensure recognition of the principle that both parents have common responsibilities for the upbringing and development of the child. Parents or, as the case may be, legal guardians, have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of the child. The best interests of the child will be their basic concern.
  2. For the purpose of guaranteeing and promoting the rights set forth in the present Convention, States Parties shall render appropriate assistance to parents and legal guardians in the performance of their child-rearing responsibilities and shall ensure the development of institutions, facilities and services for the care of children.
  3. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that children of working parents have the right to benefit from child-care services and facilities for which they are eligible.

Parents play a central guiding role in a child's life. But while parents have a duty to care and provide for their children, they do not have a right to treat them however they see fit. This duty requires support from the State - whether in the form of child-care for parents in paid work or other provisions.
 Article 19: Protection from abuse and neglect


  1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.
  2. Such protective measures should, as appropriate, include effective procedures for the establishment of social programmes to provide necessary support for the child and for those who have the care of the child, as well as for other forms of prevention and for identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and follow-up of instances of child maltreatment described heretofore, and, as appropriate, for judicial involvement.​

What does article 19 say?

Article 19 addresses violence against children. It emphasises that State Parties must have proper laws in place to prohibit violence, but it also requires States to implement administrative, social and educational measures to protect children. All forms of violence, both physical and mental, fall under article 19.
Paragraph 2 outlines the protective measures that a State Party is required to undertake, including the establishment of social programmes and mechanisms for addressing cases of child maltreatment.
In order for article 19 to be fulfilled, other Convention rights must also be respected. These include, but are not limited to, the right be heard (article 12), the right for children in vulnerable situations to be specially protected (articles 20, 22 and 23), the right to health (article 24), the right to be protected from dangerous work (article 32) and the right to be free from sexual and other forms of exploitation (articles 34, 35 and 36). Article 37 (torture and ill treatment) is also particularly relevant.

Why is this right important?

Violence against children is widespread and extremely damaging. The UN Study on Violence Against Children (UNVC), conducted in 2006, found worrying incidences of violence in almost all countries of the world. This included kicking, biting, choking and beating by parents (UNVC, 2006: 52).
However, in many States laws are non-existent or inadequate. For example, according to the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, laws currently in force do not fully prohibit corporal punishment in any setting in 26 States (figures from 2012), while  In 41 States corporal punishment (caning, flogging, whipping) is lawful as a sentence for crime under state, religious and/or traditional systems of justice.

What are the problems?

Much violence is hidden within the private realm of the family, or within the confines of schools, prisons, care homes and other institutions. State Parties have a duty to prevent such harms, to investigate cases of violence and hold those responsible to account.  
The hidden nature of much violence means that it can be extremely difficult to discover and address. Cultural norms and expectations are also implicated in the prevalence of violence against children. For example, in many countries children are still considered to be the property of parents, and corporal punishment is often thought to be in the ‘best interests’ of children even though all the evidence suggests otherwise.
The UN Study on Violence Against Children notes that while there may be no outwardly visible sign of injury, “in all instances...physical violence has a negative impact on a child’s psychological health and development” (UNVC, 2006: 53). People who were physically abused as children may have problems with personal relationships and they may be more likely to treat their own children abusively. Read more about forms of violence.
Non-physical violence has been the subject of much less research. Non-physical punishments considered cruel and degrading, and incompatible with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, include, for example, punishment which belittles, humiliates, denigrates, scapegoats, threatens, scares or ridicules the child. Such punishments may be carried out in the family, or in institutions such as schools. Psychological punishments that are particularly cruel or severe may be considered psychological torture.

What should States do about it?

The UN Study on Violence against Children ended with 12 key recommendations. These included:  Strengthen national and local commitment and action; promote non-violent values and awareness-raising; enhance the capacity of all who work with and for children; provide recovery and social reintegration services; and ensure participation of children.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child has issued a General Comment on the subject of violence against children. Among other points, the General Comment stipulates that a child rights-based approach to protection from violence means understanding children as rights-bearing individuals and not just ‘victims’.
This includes the realisation, therefore, that children’s participation in decision-making is fundamental to protection from violence.
The General Comment also notes that the principle of the rule of law should apply fully to children as it does to adults, and this includes the right to be free from all forms of corporal punishment.

Article 20: Protection of children without parental care


  1. A child temporarily or permanently deprived of his or her family environment, or in whose own best interests cannot be allowed to remain in that environment, shall be entitled to special protection and assistance provided by the State.
  2. States Parties shall in accordance with their national laws ensure alternative care for such a child.
  3. Such care could include, inter alia, foster placement, Kafala of Islamic law, adoption, or if necessary placement in suitable institutions for the care of children. When considering solutions, due regard shall be paid to the desirability of continuity in a child's upbringing and to the child's ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic background.

The family is a very important social structure. All types of families can raise a child, and there is no "one size fits all" definition.
But sometimes - through war, persecution, health needs, violence in the home, or for other reasons - children are deprived of their family environment. In these situations, the State must protect the child and ensure appropriate alternative care.

Article 21: Adoption


States Parties that recognize and/or permit the system of adoption shall ensure that the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration and they shall:
(a) Ensure that the adoption of a child is authorized only by competent authorities who determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures and on the basis of all pertinent and reliable information, that the adoption is permissible in view of the child's status concerning parents, relatives and legal guardians and that, if required, the persons concerned have given their informed consent to the adoption on the basis of such counselling as may be necessary;
(b) Recognize that inter-country adoption may be considered as an alternative means of child's care, if the child cannot be placed in a foster or an adoptive family or cannot in any suitable manner be cared for in the child's country of origin;
(c) Ensure that the child concerned by intercountry adoption enjoys safeguards and standards equivalent to those existing in the case of national adoption;
(d) Take all appropriate measures to ensure that, in intercountry adoption, the placement does not result in improper financial gain for those involved in it;
(e) Promote, where appropriate, the objectives of the present article by concluding bilateral or multilateral arrangements or agreements, and endeavour, within this framework, to ensure that the placement of the child in another country is carried out by competent authorities or organs.

What does article 21 say?

Article 21 sets standards on adoption - where this is a recognised practice - to ensure that children's interests are the paramount consideration in all adoption decisions.
This requires that children's need for adoption is determined in the right way; decided by the competent authority, with the informed consent of all parties involved; carried out in the right way with no 'improper financial gain'; and that inter-country adoption is only considered when appropriate care cannot be found for a child in their own country.
This article must be seen in the context of the CRC as a whole: it is connected to identity, children's right to know their origins, to be cared for by their parents and support and care for children deprived of their family environment - all to be achieved by ensuring children's best interests are the paramount consideration.

Why is this important?

No one would dispute that children benefit from growing up in a loving, stable and permanent home and family, and that adoption can be one means of achieving this - provided it is regulated by law and supervised by the State authorities. However, adoption can also deny children their rights if the proper regulations are not in place and their interests are not at the forefront of decision making.

What are the problems?

In recent decades reports have brought to light the extent of illegal and unethical practices surrounding adoption - particularly in its international form - prompting questions about why, how and when adoption should be an option.
The main controversy has arisen out of fierce global 'demand' to secure a child for a family, which now outweighs the number of children eligible for adoption. In fact, very few 'orphans' have no family; a recent study suggests that 98 per cent of children in institutions in Central and Eastern Europe have at least one living parent, and that when institutions are shut down, many of these children are accommodated by members of their own family. In some countries children are placed in institutions not because they are unwanted or have no family but out of poverty. Elsewhere, children find themselves without a home by virtue of social norms which shun teenage pregnancy and children born out of wedlock. In Ireland, for instance, thousands of unmarried women and girls were forced to give up their children for adoption and incarcerated in Catholic-run laundries (the last of which shut in 1996). In Uruguay, unmarried girls under 18 still cannot be registered as their child's parent (art. 235 of the Civil Code).
While the majority of prospective parents have a well-meaning and legitimate desire to build a family, the scarcity of adoptable babies and young children in their home country, coupled with stringent and lengthy procedures at home, motivates them to take their search to countries where regulations are lax. This has resulted in children being wrenched from their birth parents by deception and essentially sold by unscrupulous intermediaries. Before legal reforms were passed in Guatemala, for example, children were stolen, kidnapped and trafficked for adoption as a matter of routine with the collusion of notaries and medical professionals who falsified DNA tests and legal documents. At one point one in a hundred children was given up for international adoption.
In spite of the rising demand for inter-country adoption, this practice has been in decline globally since 2004, primarily because of the development of stronger national systems, enabling most children to be cared for in their home country. Many countries now limit inter-country adoptions to children who tend to be overlooked nationally, such as children over a certain age and children with disabilities. While this signals progress, it has given rise to new issues: some countries have concealed children's learning disabilities from their adoptive parents who have then found themselves unable to cope, leading to a distressing situation for the child.
While international adoption is the main arena for such abuses, domestic adoption is not exempt. Domestic procedures can violate children's rights in other ways, for example, when their views are not taken into account or when they are denied access to their files.

What can be done about it?

The original draft of article 21 merely required States to 'facilitate' adoption. However, reports of illegal and unethical practices were already beginning to emerge at that time, prompting the drafters to reshape the final version to set minimum standards(1). Other important standards on adoption include the 1993 Hague Convention which protects children in inter-country adoption, The European Convention on the Adoption of Children (Revised 2008) and the Draft Guidelines on Inter-country Adoption in Africa.  
The most important consideration throughout the adoption process -  from identifying a child in need of a home, to the procedure itself, through to monitoring the child's placement - is the child's best interests (article 3), and this must be stated in law.
The best interests principle requires that the child's circumstances and identity are investigated by judicial and professional authorities in a transparent manner. They are responsible for determining the child's best interests and ascertaining the informed consent of all  those involved. Taking the child's views into account is central to establishing their best interests and is required under article 12. Some countries set a minimum age above which a child's consent must be obtained, in others children can veto their adoption.
Another fundamental principle of the Hague Convention is the subsidiarity principle. This requires the investigation of less intrusive solutions (family support systems, foster care, and care by family members, for example) before the child's own family ties are broken forever. Before starting any adoption procedure or declaring the child eligible for adoption, all other solutions must be considered. The child's individual situation should be reviewed thoroughly to establish if there is an alternative form of parent support or care.
In practice the best interests principle has often been subverted where inter-country adoption is concerned, leading many to impose their belief that children are better off with a wealthy family outside their country of origin rather than remaining with poor relatives at home.
The CRC is adamant that the State should take all measures possible to support children to remain with their family where this is deemed to be in their best interests (article 20.3), and that parents have primary responsibility for raising their child (article 18). Adoption must only be considered where parents are unwilling to fulfil this responsibility or are ruled to be incapable of doing so by judicial process. In this case, a child should be placed with their wider family or found appropriate care nationally, with inter-country adoption a last resort. The Hague Convention backs this standpoint, also known as the principle of subsidiarity. A recent Council of Europe report further exhorts States to send adoption applications to other countries only in the numbers and at the time requested to avoid fuelling attempts to separate children from their families for financial gain. Particular vigilance is required in post emergency situations by both sending and receiving countries as tracking down identity documents and relatives is virtually impossible and proper regulations are in disarray.
Widespread concern persists about children being trafficked for adoption for 'improper financial gain'. Article 35, together with the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child pornography and child prostitution, prohibits the sale of children for any reason, and requires States to criminalise perpetrators of this practice.
Regulation of adoption helps to ensure children are matched with the right person on the basis of accurate information. All prospective parents should be informed about the degree and need of inter-country adoptions. They should also receive help in preparing for children's questions about their origin. Articles 7 and 8 of the CRC promote children's right to be told of their adoption and know their parent's identity if they wish. These articles were conceived by children's rights advocates in Latin America in response to the adoptions, often by military families, of children of parents who 'disappeared' during the 1970s and 80s dictatorships. In this vein, the Convention also asserts the importance of a child's familiarity with their own culture and language where this is different from that of their adoptive family and where they desire this connection (article 30).
In cases of inter-country adoption, States should ensure that children receive the nationality of their adoptive parents to prevent statelessness.

Article 22: Refugee children


  1. States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure that a child who is seeking refugee status or who is considered a refugee in accordance with applicable international or domestic law and procedures shall, whether unaccompanied or accompanied by his or her parents or by any other person, receive appropriate protection and humanitarian assistance in the enjoyment of applicable rights set forth in the present Convention and in other international human rights or humanitarian instruments to which the said States are Parties.
  2. For this purpose, States Parties shall provide, as they consider appropriate, cooperation in any efforts by the United Nations and other competent intergovernmental organizations or non-governmental organizations co-operating with the United Nations to protect and assist such a child and to trace the parents or other members of the family of any refugee child in order to obtain information necessary for reunification with his or her family. In cases where no parents or other members of the family can be found, the child shall be accorded the same protection as any other child permanently or temporarily deprived of his or her family environment for any reason, as set forth in the present Convention.

46% of the world’s 45 million refugees and displaced people are children. Children who are refugees, internally displaced or seeking asylum in another country are extremely vulnerable, whether they are with their parents or alone. They have experienced and witnessed things that no one ever should. And if they survive and make it to a safe place they are often faced with harsh immigration processes (including lengthy detention) and societies that are hostile to them. For this reason, States should give these children special protection.

Article 23: Children with disabilities


  1. States Parties recognize that a mentally or physically disabled child should enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions which ensure dignity, promote self-reliance, and facilitate the child's active participation in the community.
  2. States Parties recognize the right of the disabled child to special care and shall encourage and ensure the extension, subject to available resources, to the eligible child and those responsible for his or her care, of assistance for which application is made and which is appropriate to the child's condition and to the circumstances of the parents or others caring for the child.
  3. Recognizing the special needs of a disabled child, assistance extended in accordance with paragraph 2 of the present article shall be provided free of charge, whenever possible, taking into account the financial resources of the parents or others caring for the child, and shall be designed to ensure that the disabled child has effective access to and receives education, training, health care services, rehabilitation services, preparation for employment and recreation opportunities in a manner conducive to the child's achieving the fullest possible social integration and individual development, including his or her cultural and spiritual development.
  4. States Parties shall promote, in the spirit of international cooperation, the exchange of appropriate information in the field of preventive health care and of medical, psychological and functional treatment of disabled children, including dissemination of and access to information concerning methods of rehabilitation, education and vocational services, with the aim of enabling States Parties to improve their capabilities and skills and to widen their experience in these areas. In this regard, particular account shall be taken of the needs of developing countries.

Up to 200 million children globally have a disability. It is not their impairments that are disabling as such; but rather the attitudes and environments around them that are disabling and stop them from accessing society. These children are at disproportionate risk of other rights violations because of their dependence on others and the barriers they face in reporting abuse.
 Article 24: Health and health services


  1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health. States Parties shall strive to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to such health care services.
  2. States Parties shall pursue full implementation of this right and, in particular, shall take appropriate measures:
    1. To diminish infant and child mortality;
    2. To ensure the provision of necessary medical assistance and health care to all children with emphasis on the development of primary health care;
    3. To combat disease and malnutrition including within the framework of primary health care, through inter alia the application of readily available technology and through the provision of adequate nutritious foods and clean drinking water, taking into consideration the dangers and risks of environmental pollution;
    4. To ensure appropriate pre-natal and post-natal health care for mothers;
    5. To ensure that all segments of society, in particular parents and children, are informed, have access to education and are supported in the use of basic knowledge of child health and nutrition, the advantages of breast-feeding, hygiene and environmental sanitation and the prevention of accidents;
    6. To develop preventive health care, guidance for parents and family planning education and services.
  3. States Parties shall take all effective and appropriate measures with a view to abolishing traditional practises prejudicial to the health of children.
  4. States Parties undertake to promote and encourage international cooperation with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the right recognized in the present article. In this regard, particular account shall be taken of the needs of developing countries.

Children's right to health is so often just seen in terms of malnourishment and vaccinations. But the right to health means more than just surviving. It also includes the right to access information about our health, respect for privacy and confidentiality and the importance of informed consent. It must not be forgotten that these principles also apply to children.

Article 25: Periodic review of placement


States Parties recognize the right of a child who has been placed by the competent authorities for the purposes of care, protection or treatment of his or her physical or mental health, to a periodic review of the treatment provided to the child and all other circumstances relevant to his or her placement.

The purpose of placing children in families or institutions is to make sure they receive appropriate care, protection and treatment. But all too often it is the very people entrusted with children's protection who perpetrate or collude in their abuse. This means independent safeguards should be put in place to protect children and ensure that their interests and views are the most important consideration in all decisions about placements. The need for such placements and the progress and circumstances of individual children should be reviewed regularly by the proper authorities.

Article 26: Social security


  1. States Parties shall recognize for every child the right to benefit from social security, including social insurance, and shall take the necessary measures to achieve the full realization of this right in accordance with their national law.
  2. The benefits should, where appropriate, be granted, taking into account the resources and the circumstances of the child and persons having responsibility for the maintenance of the child, as well as any other consideration relevant to an application for benefits made by or on behalf of the child.

Children suffer disproportionately from poverty, just as they are disproportionately affected by decisions about who can access social security and how this is delivered. Children's inability to influence economic policy is a direct consequence of their low status in society, lack of income and exclusion from democratic processes.
 Article 27: Standard of living


  1. States Parties recognize the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child's physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.
  2. The parent(s) or others responsible for the child have the primary responsibility to secure, within their abilities and financial capacities, the conditions of living necessary for the child's development.
  3. States Parties, in accordance with national conditions and within their means, shall take appropriate measures to assist parents and others responsible for the child to implement this right and shall in case of need provide material assistance and support programmes, particularly with regard to nutrition, clothing and housing.
  4. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to secure the recovery of maintenance for the child from the parents or other persons having financial responsibility for the child, both within the State Party and from abroad. In particular, where the person having financial responsibility for the child lives in a State different from that of the child, States Parties shall promote the accession to international agreements or the conclusion of such agreements, as well as the making of other appropriate arrangements.​

Children's development depends on their ability to enjoy a decent standard of living. Of course this means they should have adequate clothing, nutrition, and housing. But many other elements are needed to secure children's wellbeing and inclusion in society -  not just the ability to cover basic needs. These include having sufficient time to play, the opportunity to access the internet and the enjoyment of a clean environment.
 Article 28: Education


  1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to education, and with a view to achieving this right progressively and on the basis of equal opportunity, they shall, in particular:
    • (a) Make primary education compulsory and available free to all;
    • (b) Encourage the development of different forms of secondary education, including general and vocational education, make them available and accessible to every child, and take appropriate measures such as the introduction of free education and offering financial assistance in case of need;
    • (c) Make higher education accessible to all on the basis of capacity by every appropriate means;
    • (d) Make educational and vocational information and guidance available and accessible to all children;
    • (e) Take measures to encourage regular attendance at schools and the reduction of drop-out rates.
  2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that school discipline is administered in a manner consistent with the child's human dignity and in conformity with the present Convention.
  3. States Parties shall promote and encourage international cooperation in matters relating to education, in particular with a view to contributing to the elimination of ignorance and illiteracy throughout the world and facilitating access to scientific and technical knowledge and modern teaching methods. In this regard, particular account shall be taken of the needs of developing countries.

Education is the basis of children's development as individuals and citizens. It also forms the foundation for democratic societies and economic growth. All children should have access to a school environment that respects their rights and inspires regular attendance and an interest in learning.

Article 29: Aims of education


  1. States Parties agree that the education of the child shall be directed to:
    • (a) The development of the child's personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential;
    • (b) The development of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and for the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations;
    • (c) The development of respect for the child's parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values, for the national values of the country in which the child is living, the country from which he or she may originate, and for civilizations different from his or her own;
    • (d) The preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons of indigenous origin;
    • (e) The development of respect for the natural environment.
  2. No part of the present article or article 28 shall be construed so as to interfere with the liberty of individuals and bodies to establish and direct educational institutions, subject always to the observance of the principles set forth in paragraph 1 of the present article and to the requirements that the education given in such institutions shall conform to such minimum standards as may be laid down by the State.

A good quality education has to be about promoting rights not only in what is taught but also in how it’s taught. This recognises that children are individuals and education should be directed towards each child’s personality, talents and abilities. In other words, education should help children to become well rounded people and develop respect for the people and world around them, as well as teach them how to write and add up.
 Article 30: Children of minorites or of indigenous peoples


In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities or persons of indigenous origin exist, a child belonging to such a minority or who is indigenous shall not be denied the right, in community with other members of his or her group, to enjoy his or her own culture, to profess and practise his or her own religion, or to use his or her own language.

The rights of people belonging to minority groups are violated throughout the world because cultural, religious and linguistic practices that diverge from those of the majority remain outside the control of the state. Childhood is the time when people develop their own identity and form views about the world, so this is often the time when states seek to neutralise minority practices, for instance through school textbooks.

Article 31: Leisure, recreation and culture


  1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.
  2. States Parties shall respect and promote the right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity.

Children's right to play - often overlooked as a luxury by adults - is essential for children to advance and experiment with their capacities, develop social skills such as compromise and negotiation, and form relationships with others. But children's right to play has become sidelined because of budget cuts which impede children's access to recreational facilities; surging urban growth which swallows up green spaces; adults' fear of safety - both of predators and traffic; and the ever-increasing demands of work and study.

Article 32: Child labour


  1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child's education, or to be harmful to the child's health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.
  2. States Parties shall take legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to ensure the implementation of the present article. To this end, and having regard to the relevant provisions of other international instruments, States Parties shall in particular:
    • (a) Provide for a minimum age or minimum ages for admissions to employment;
    • (b) Provide for appropriate regulation of the hours and conditions of employment;
    • (c) Provide for appropriate penalties or other sanctions to ensure the effective enforcement of the present article.

Globally, some 215 million children work, not including the millions of children working off the grid. The majority of child workers are found in agriculture and domestic service, where they are exposed to harmful chemicals, long hours and abuse. In many countries, this kind of work is exempt from laws governing child labour and occupational safety. This is not to say no child should work: but if children have to - or want to - work, it should be safe, fairly paid and should not interfere with their education.

Article 33: Drug abuse


States Parties shall take all appropriate measures, including legislative, administrative, social and educational measures, to protect children from the illicit use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances as defined in the relevant international treaties, and to prevent the use of children in the illicit production and trafficking of such substances.

Drug use among children poses a threat to their survival, development and their health. However, in many places, children who use drugs are dealt with in the criminal justice system instead of getting the help they need. What's more, a refusal to believe that children take drugs means that children are often unable to access rehabilitation and harm reduction services. People say we need to protect children, but the best protection is to give them the honest and objective information and services they need to make good choices.

Article 34: Sexual exploitation


States Parties undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. For these purposes, States Parties shall in particular take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent:
  • (a) The inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual activity;
  • (b) The exploitative use of children in prostitution or other unlawful sexual practises;
  • (c) The exploitative use of children in pornographic performances and materials.

Sexual abuse and exploitation has severe and long-term repercussions for children. Not only are their bodies in physical danger, but abuse can leave permanent scars on children’s mental health. Sexual violence against children happens much more than people think. The Council of Europe says that one child in five in Europe is thought to be a victim. In 70 to 85 per cent of cases, children know their aggressors but few cases are ever reported to the authorities.

Article 35: Sale, trafficking and abduction


States Parties shall take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent the abduction of, the sale of or traffic in children for any purpose or in any form.

What does article 35 say?

Article 35 requires all States to take appropriate measures to prevent the abduction, sale or traffic of children. It is a positive obligation, which means that States must take deliberate steps to prevent such crimes from occurring, rather than only reacting once such crimes have taken place.  
The fulfilment of other Convention rights is important for article 35, for example the right to be free from violence (article 19), the right to free from exploitation in general (articles 34 and 36) and the right to protection from dangerous work (article 32).

Why is this right important?

Children may be trafficked for a number of different reasons including labour exploitation, domestic work, sexual exploitation, military conscription, marriage, illicit adoption, sport (for example, camel jockeys), begging and for their organs. Needless to say, trafficked children may experience extreme hardships, violence, exploitation and/or sexual abuse.
Trafficking was first defined in international law by the ‘Palermo Protocol’, or, to give it its full title, the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, which supplements the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (2000).  Article 3 of the Protocol defines trafficking as:
"...the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation."

What are the problems?

States can sometimes confuse trafficking in children with the sale of children, prohibiting the former but not the latter. While these practices overlap, they are not the same. For example, a child can be trafficked without being sold, as trafficking requires only the physical transfer of a child and needs neither a buyer nor a seller.
It is almost impossible to find reliable and accurate statistics on children trafficked every year because it is a hidden problem. At best, we can only estimate. The figure generally quoted is one provided by the International Labour Organisation in 2002: 1.2 million per year (Every Child Counts, New Global estimate on Child Labour). However, this figure is outdated and may underestimate the problem.
It is even more difficult to estimate the scale of trafficking because of difficulties in definition across States, in spite of Article 3 of the Palermo Protocol.

What should States do about it?

According to the Asian Migrant Centre (http://home.pacific.net.hk/~amc/) understanding the migration/trafficking distinction is key:
"It must be emphasised that migration is the general phenomenon, and trafficking is only a mode of migration. Over-emphasising trafficking and taking it out of context (in relation to migration) is strategically counter-productive in the fight for human rights because: (a)trafficking puts migration in a crime control, crime prevention context, rather than talking about migrants’ human rights first, and then talking about trafficking in the context of human rights; and (b) trafficking is being used by governments as a vehicle to develop more restrictive approaches to migration in general." 
Stronger border controls under the pretext of preventing trafficking can actually render children more reliant on third parties to get them across the border, and therefore more vulnerable to rights violations associated with both migration and trafficking. 
Talk of child trafficking has also sometimes led to the reproduction of racist stereotypes. For example, Roma communities in Europe are often cited as both victims and perpetrators of child trafficking (O’Connell Davidson and Farrow, 2007: 36: http://www.childtrafficking.com/Docs/savechild_07_cmcv_0108.pdf).
ECPAT argues that States must adopt effective anti-trafficking legislation that criminalises the traffickers rather than the victims. O’Connell Davidson and Farrow (2007: 56) also list a number of ways in which child rights agencies may address the problems of trafficking and migration, including recognising that “migration per se is not inherently bad for children”, and that the role of government is to address conditions under which children are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, while also acknowledging children’s capacity for migratory agency. The authors argue that organisations should not talk about migration in ways that can be used to justify repressive political measures and contribute to the vulnerability of children and their relatives.

Article 36: Other forms of exploitation


States Parties shall protect the child against all other forms of exploitation prejudicial to any aspects of the child's welfare.

Some forms of exploitation such as sexual abuse and armed conflict are widely recognised and condemned. But children can also be exploited in other ways: in political activities, by the media, by researchers for medical or scientific experimentation, or because they have talents, such as for sports or performance arts, which may lead to them being deprived of other aspects of their childhood.

Article 37: Torture and deprivation of liberty


States Parties shall ensure that:
(a) No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below 18 years of age;
(b) No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time;
(c) Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a manner which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age. In particular every child deprived of liberty shall be separated from adults unless it is considered in the child's best interest not to do so and shall have the right to maintain contact with his or her family through correspondence and visits, save in exceptional circumstances;
(d) Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as well as the right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his or her liberty before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority, and to a prompt decision on any such action.

What does article 37 say?

Article 37 mainly addresses issues relating to children in conflict with the law (or ‘youth justice’). It refers to a number of rights:
  • No child shall be subjected to torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
  • No child should be unlawfully arrested or detained.  
  • Both capital punishment and life imprisonment without the possibility of release are prohibited for offences committed by persons below 18 years.
  • Any detained child must be separated from adults unless it is considered in the child's best interests not to do so.
  • A child who is detained shall have legal and other assistance as well as contact with the family. 
Article 40, on the administration of juvenile justice, is especially relevant for the fulfilment of article 37.

Why is this right important?

Article 37 contains a number of different, important provisions that deserve individual mention.
  • The prohibition of torture 
    UNICEF says that the torture of children “occurs in different contexts, including police operations against children seen as a threat to public order or safety; children confined in prisons or detention facilities; and children seen as linked to subversive groups, including the children of militants” (O’Donnell and Liwski 2010: 28). Police forces may also use torture to extract information and confessions.  Non-physical punishment that “belittles, humiliates, denigrates, scapegoats, threatens, scares or ridicules the child” is cruel and degrading and incompatible with the CRC (Committee on the Rights of the Child’s 2006 General Comment)
The prohibition of torture is an absolute right – this means that it cannot be derogated from, or excused for, any reason. Torture, as opposed to abuse, is committed by an agent of the state for a specific reason, and causes severe pain or suffering.
  • Deprivation of liberty
    The Committee on the Rights of the Child has noted that detention causes serious harm to children (see above link, p.5).  Importantly, Article 37 (b) explicitly provides that deprivation of liberty, including arrest, detention and imprisonment, should be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time, so that the child’s right to development is fully respected and ensured.
    The lawful arrest or detention of children can only take place under certain circumstances. It must be proportionate and only carried out in certain situations, including, for example, detention following court conviction; arrest or detention for failing to observe a court order/legal obligation; and arrest or detention on remand (when due to come before a court) (see also the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (article 9 onwards).
  • Capital punishment and life imprisonment without the possibility of release
    These sentences are prohibited for offences committed by persons below 18 years. However, research suggests that in at least seven States, child offenders can lawfully be sentenced to death by lethal injection, hanging, shooting or stoning. In some States, children as young as 10 can be sentenced to life imprisonment. In at least 40 States, children can still be sentenced to whipping, flogging, caning or amputation.
  • A detained child must be separated from adults
    Much research has concluded that the placement of children in adult prisons or jails compromises their basic safety, well-being, and their future ability to remain free of crime and to reintegrate.
  • A child who is detained shall have legal and other assistance as well as contact with the family. 
Every child deprived of liberty has the right to maintain contact with his/her family through correspondence and visits. The child should be placed in a facility that is as close as possible to his/her family. The staff of the facility should promote and facilitate frequent contacts of the child with the wider community
  • Representation and participation
    It is the responsibility of the authorities (e.g. police, prosecutor, judge) to make sure that the child understands each charge brought against him/her. The provision of this information to the parents or legal guardians should not be an alternative to communicating this information to the child.
The child must be guaranteed legal or other appropriate assistance in the preparation and presentation of his/her defence.

What are the problems?

Particular groups of children may be vulnerable to having their Article 37 rights violated. For example, children in institutional care in many countries are subject to violence from staff and others responsible for their wellbeing.  Children from ethnic minorities and/or deprived backgrounds may be particularly vulnerable to arrest and detention, or to disproportionate police attention.
In general, social and cultural approaches to children and childhood can create barriers to understanding the rights of children in conflict with the law. If children are understood as the property of parents or the State, or as persons with ‘mini rights’, it becomes more difficult to appreciate that they are entitled to, for example, access to legal representation or rights to due process.
Impunity, and lack of proper investigation into allegations of torture, or into lack of due process and regard to child welfare in the juvenile justice process, all act as impediments to the realisation of children’s rights.

What should States do about it?

The best interests of the child must be the primary concern in any justice proceedings. In the case of allegations of torture or other harmful treatment, the obligation to bring torturers to justice in order to prevent impunity must be reconciled with the right of child victims to psychological recovery.  The Committee on the Rights of the Child, in its Concluding Observations to States, points out gaps in national legislation, and encourages governments to ratify the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) where they have failed to do so.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child, in its General Comment on juvenile justice, includes a number of recommendations for States to abide by. 

Article 38: Armed conflicts


  1. States Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for rules of international humanitarian law applicable to them in armed conflicts which are relevant to the child.
  2. States Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that persons who have not attained the age of 15 years do not take a direct part in hostilities.
  3. States Parties shall refrain from recruiting any person who has not attained the age of 15 years into their armed forces. In recruiting among those persons who have attained the age of 15 years but who have not attained the age of 18 years, States Parties shall endeavour to give priority to those who are oldest.
  4. In accordance with their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect the civilian population in armed conflicts, States Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure protection and care of children who are affected by an armed conflict.

In times of armed conflict, the rights of children are violated in horrific ways. They are recruited and used as soldiers and in supporting roles as cooks, spies, couriers and for sexual purposes by armed groups and forces across the world. Children are also used as instruments of war - in rhetoric and acts of violence. Armed groups, for example routinely attack and occupy schools and hospitals, prevent girls from going to school, and use rape as a weapon of war.

Article 39: Rehabilitative care


States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to promote physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of: any form of neglect, exploitation, or abuse; torture or any other form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; or armed conflicts. Such recovery and reintegration shall take place in an environment which fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the child.

Governments should put in place measures to rehabilitate any child who has been a victim of any form of violence, including neglect, abuse, torture and conflict, among others. These measures include appropriate healthcare, social services and legal assistance, among others. These should all be adapted to children’s needs and take place in an environment that promotes their health, dignity and self-respect.
 Article 40: Administration of juvenile justice


  1. States Parties recognize the right of every child alleged as, accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law to be treated in a manner consistent with the promotion of the child's sense of dignity and worth, which reinforces the child's respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of others and which takes into account the child's age and the desirability of promoting the child's reintegration and the child's assuming a constructive role in society.
  2. To this end, and having regard to the relevant provisions of international instruments, States Parties shall, in particular, ensure that:
    1. No child shall be alleged as, be accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law by reason of acts or omissions that were not prohibited by national or international law at the time they were committed;
    2. Every child alleged as or accused of having infringed the penal law has at least the following guarantees:
      1. To be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law;
      2. To be informed promptly and directly of the charges against him or her, and, if appropriate, through his or her parents or legal guardians, and to have legal or other appropriate assistance in the preparation and presentation of his or her defence;
      3. To have the matter determined without delay by a competent, independent and impartial authority or judicial body in a fair hearing according to law, in the presence of legal or other appropriate assistance and, unless it is considered not to be in the best interest of the child, in particular, taking into account his or her age or situation, his or her parents or legal guardians;
      4. Not to be compelled to give testimony or to confess guilt; to examine or have examined adverse witnesses and to obtain the participation and examination of witnesses on his or her behalf under conditions of equality;
      5. If considered to have infringed the penal law, to have this decision and any measures imposed in consequence thereof reviewed by a higher competent, independent and impartial authority or judicial body according to law;
      6. To have the free assistance of an interpreter if the child cannot understand or speak the language used;
      7. To have his or her privacy fully respected at all stages of the proceedings.
  3. States Parties shall seek to promote the establishment of laws, procedures, authorities and institutions specifically applicable to children alleged as, accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law, and, in particular:
    1. the establishment of a minimum age below which children shall be presumed not to have the capacity to infringe the penal law;
    2. whenever appropriate and desirable, measures for dealing with such children without resorting to judicial proceedings, providing that human rights and legal safeguards are fully respected.
  4. A variety of dispositions, such as care, guidance and supervision orders; counselling; probation; foster care; education and vocational training programmes and other alternatives to institutional care shall be available to ensure that children are dealt with in a manner appropriate to their well-being and proportionate both to their circumstances and the offence.

What does article 40 say?

Article 40 addresses rights relating to children in conflict with the law (also known as juvenile justice). It includes general human rights guarantees such as the right to be presumed guilty until proven innocent (2(b)(i)), as well as child specific provisions including:
  • The requirement that States establish a minimum age of criminal capacity (3(a))
  • Advocating the use of measures to divert children from criminal proceedings
  • The requirement that States provide specific orders and measures relating to the care, guidance and supervision of children, as well as counselling services. Alternatives to institutional care should be available to ensure that children are dealt with in a manner appropriate to their well-being and proportionate both to their circumstances and the offence.
Article 40 requires that the treatment of children within justice systems is consistent with their dignity and worth. All professionals involved in the administration of juvenile justice should be knowledgeable about child development, and what is appropriate to their well-being.
Other Convention rights that are linked to the fulfilment of article 40 include article 37, which also relates to juvenile justice.

Why is this right important?

In almost all countries of the world, children are criminalised for what may be minor offences. They are put in jail, perhaps alongside adults, and/or may be saddled with a conviction that restricts future opportunities in employment and elsewhere.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child has noted that in many countries children languish in pretrial detention for months or even years. It has also argued that: “The use of deprivation of liberty has very negative consequences for the child’s harmonious development and seriously hampers his/her reintegration in society” (see above link, p.5).  

What are the problems?

A child rights approach to juvenile justice demands that children are diverted from formal judicial processes. This does not mean an abdication of responsibility. All people should be responsible for crimes they commit. Rather, it requires that special attention be paid to children’s level of development and evolving capacities.
It is also important that juvenile justice systems are not based on retribution. The promotion of re-integration, and the provisions of innovative and effective community sanctions, should be at the heart of youth justice policy.
We know that depriving children of their liberty tends to increase the rate of re-offending. Locking up children can only be justified if there are no other alternative ways to deal with the immediate risks to others.
Moreover, it tends to be certain types of children who get caught up in the criminal justice system. They may have been socially marginalised for a variety of reasons; poverty, race and minority status are often heavily implicated in criminal status.

What can States do about it?

The Committee on the Rights of the Child’s General Comment No. 10 (2007) on children’s rights in juvenile justice makes a number of recommendations regarding appropriate measures to be taken by States. In respect of Article 40, these relate to:
  • The prevention of juvenile delinquency
  • Interventions/diversion
  • Age and children in conflict with the law
  • The guarantees for a fair trial
  • Dispositions
  • Deprivation of liberty including pre-trial detention and post-trial incarceration
  • The organisation of juvenile justice
  • Awareness and training

Article 41: Respect for existing standards


Nothing in the present Convention shall affect any provisions which are more conducive to the realization of the rights of the child and which may be contained in:
(a) The law of a State Party; or
(b) International law in force for that State

The Convention sets out the bare minimum that children should expect from their government. But if a country has standards that are more advanced than the Convention, it should stick to them, and always strive for higher standards for its children.

Please Make Note

Please make note that I, Jessica Lynn Hepner the creator of What Every Parent Should Know, is not giving legal advice. I am not a lawyer. I am giving you knowledge via first hand experiences.

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Save A Life by Angie Kassabie

Save A Life by Angie Kassabie
I URGE ALL MY FRIENDS TO READ & SHARE THIS; YOU COULD SAVE A LOVED ONES LIFE BY KNOWING THIS SIMPLE INFORMATION!!! Stroke has a new indicator! They say if you forward this to ten people, you stand a chance of saving one life. Will you send this along? Blood Clots/Stroke - They Now Have a Fourth Indicator, the Tongue: During a BBQ, a woman stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) ...she said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes. They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Jane went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening. Jane's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - (at 6:00 PM Jane passed away.) She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Jane would be with us today. Some don't die. They end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead. It only takes a minute to read this. A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke...totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough. >>RECOGNIZING A STROKE<< Thank God for the sense to remember the '3' steps, STR. Read and Learn! Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions: S *Ask the individual to SMILE. T *Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) (i.e. Chicken Soup) R *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS. If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher. New Sign of a Stroke -------- Stick out Your Tongue NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other that is also an indication of a stroke. A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved. I have done my part. Will you?

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