Reference Texts
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

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The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the general assembly of the UN on the 20th of November, 1989. It was created by a group of special representatives of about 30 non-governmental organisations, similar to Le Comité de Solidarité/Trois-Rivières, that work to defend human rights. It is composed of 54 articles describing in detail the individual rights of all humans under the age of 18. In summary, these rights ensure that every child can develop to his or her full capacity without suffering from hunger, poverty, negligence, exploitation, or other forms of injustice.

Through this convention it is hoped that current problems affecting children in disadvantaged countries can be resolved. Some of the problems include child refugees, children and war, the sexual exploitation of children, and all other forms of exploitation. It is hoped that the Convention can be adapted to the situation of all signing countries in order to respond independently to the needs and the cultural and religious values of all children.

When a country signs the Convention, it is responsible for ensuring the respect of the law within its territory. A UN committee of 10 experts then verifies the application of the law. In December of 1991 Canada became the 103rd country to ratify.


  • Adoption: approval by a vote
  • Convention: an agreement between countries, synonym of accord and agreement, that binds them within their country to the details of the agreement
  • Ratify: to ratify an agreement or a text is to proclaim one's agreement to it. A ratification hence carries an obligation for the signing country, and is the step leading to the application of the agreement's elements.