Realising Rights? The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Court

During the 28 years since the Convention on the Rights of the Child entered into force, it has become the world’s most ratified human rights treaty and a powerful tool for advancing children’s rights. The Convention is the canonical statement of children’s rights, but it is also an enforceable legal instrument being applied around the world to protect children’s rights.

CRIN launched the CRC in Court case law database in 2009 to highlight important court decisions that quote and discuss the Convention. Since then, the database has grown to include more than 350 cases from over 100 countries.

This report draws out the ways the CRC has been used around the world to challenge abuses of children’s rights, but also where it has been misunderstood and misapplied by national courts. It addresses the use of the Convention in general, and features more detailed analysis of three of the most cited rights under the Convention and the divergent ways they have been applied and interpreted.

When we first launched the database, we hoped it would be a tool for lawyers to use in their own advocacy. By publicising the creative use of international children’s rights law across different legal systems and traditions, we hoped to support and inspire children’s rights advocates to challenge the violations of children’s rights that persist across the world. We also hope that the database has developed into a tool for lawyers and advocates in their own work - to find arguments successful before courts in other jurisdictions to progress their own litigation.

CRIN believes in a world where children’s rights are recognised, respected and enforced. This means ensuring that for every violation there is a remedy - using the CRC as the legal tool it was always supposed to be is a step towards making this ambition a reality.

Download the full report.

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    Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.