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Convention on the Rights of the Child

The Convention on the Rights of the Child contains provisions on the human rights to which children under 18 years of age are entitled in various areas of their life. It was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 20 November 1989. Switzerland ratified the convention on 24 February 1997.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) guarantees the rights of children by virtue of their humanity. It recognises children as individuals with their own personalities. The convention also seeks to take into account children's special need for protection and thus to contribute to more effective legal and de facto protection of the weakest members of all societies.

The convention guarantees the following rights, among others:

  • The right to have the best interests of the child given primary consideration
  • The right to life and personal development
  • The right to equal treatment
  • The right to express opinions and participate

The convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 20 November 1989. Switzerland ratified the convention on 24 February 1997. It entered into force in Switzerland on 26 March 1997.

Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Review mechanism

The convention requires the states parties to report to its monitoring body, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. An initial report is due within two years of ratification and further reports must be submitted every two years thereafter.

The first two optional protocols also make provision for a reporting procedure to monitor their implementation. The third optional protocol provides for a supplementary individual complaints procedure (see below).

The Federal Social Insurance Office (FSIO) is responsible for Switzerland's country reports on the implementation of its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Information on the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Switzerland's state reports (de, fr, it)

Committee on the Rights of the Child

Optional protocols

The convention is complemented by three optional protocols.

  • Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict
    The protocol aims to provide better protection for children and young people in armed conflicts. The UN adopted the protocol on 25 May 2000. It came into force on 12 February 2002. Switzerland ratified the optional protocol on 26 June 2002. It entered into force in Switzerland on 26 July 2002.
  • Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
    The protocol strengthens the protection of children against sexual exploitation. The UN adopted the protocol on 25 May 2000. It came into force on 18 January 2002. Switzerland ratified the optional protocol on 19 September 2006. It entered into force in Switzerland on 19 October 2006.
  • Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure
    This optional protocol is an important addition to the convention and the other two optional protocols, as it provides for an individual complaints procedure. The committee is also empowered to carry out interstate communications procedures (Art. 12 of the protocol) and inquiries (Art. 13 of the protocol) under certain conditions. The UN adopted the protocol on 19 December 2011. It came into force on 14 April 2014. Switzerland deposited the instrument of accession on 24 April 2017. The protocol entered into force in Switzerland on 24 July 2017.

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure

Last update 01.03.2022