Status of ratification
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Ratified by 192 countries
Only two countries have not ratified: the United States
and Somalia, which have signalled their intention to ratify by
formally signing the Convention.
Optional Protocol on the involvement
of children in armed conflict
The Optional Protocol on the
involvement of children in armed conflict entered into force on
12 February 2002, on that date becoming a binding instrument for
States having ratified it.
To date, 115 countries have signed and 63 have ratified
this Protocol. See the detailed table
Optional Protocol on the sale of children,
child prostitution and child pornography
The Optional Protocol entered
into force on 18 January 2002, on that date becoming a binding
instrument for States having ratified it.
To date, 108 have signed and 65 have ratified this Protocol.
See the detailed table of participants.
The human rights of children and the standards to which all governments
must aspire in realizing these rights for all children, are most concisely
and fully articulated in one international human rights treaty: the
Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention is the most universally
accepted human rights instrument in history – it has been ratified by
every country in the world except two – and therefore uniquely places
children centre-stage in the quest for the universal application of
human rights. By ratifying this instrument, national governments have
committed themselves to protecting and ensuring children's rights and
they have agreed to hold themselves accountable for this commitment
before the international community.
Built on varied legal systems and cultural traditions, the Convention
on the Rights of the Child is a universally agreed set of non-negotiable
standards and obligations. It spells out the basic human rights that
children everywhere – without discrimination – have: the right to survival;
to develop to the fullest; to protection from harmful influences, abuse
and exploitation; and to participate fully in family, cultural and social
life. Every right spelled out in the Convention is inherent to the human
dignity and harmonious development of every child. The Convention protects
children's rights by setting standards in health care, education and
legal, civil and social services. These standards are benchmarks against
which progress can be assessed. States that are party to the Convention
are obliged to develop and undertake all actions and policies in the
light of the best interests of the child.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first legally binding
international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights
– civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural
rights. Two Optional Protocols, on the involvement of children in armed
conflict and on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography,
were adopted to strengthen the provisions of the Convention in these
areas. They entered into force, respectively on 12 February and 18 January