Published November, 1989

Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1577 U.N.T.S. 3 (1989)

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (“CRC”) is an international treaty that discusses many of the rights children, some of which are in addition to those also enjoyed by adults. Particularly relevant to HIV/AIDS issues are: the right to life and corresponding obligation of the state to ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child (Article 6); the right to seek, receive, and impart information (Articles 13, 17); the right to education (Article 28); the right to the highest attainable standard of health, including preventative health care, guidance for parents, and family planning education and services (Article 24); rights of disabled children to special care and to conditions that ensure dignity and facilitate active participation in the community (Article 23);the right to a standard of living adequate for physical, mental, spiritual, moral, and social development (Article 27); and the right to be actors in their own development and to express their opinions in all matters affecting the child (Article 12). States are also obligated to respect and ensure the rights in the CRC without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s disability (Article 2). The best interests of the child must be a primary consideration in all actions concerning children (Article 3). Moreover, states are obligated to ensure that the child as such protection and care as is necessary for his or her well-being, and to ensure that institutions, services, and facilities responsible for the care or protection of the child conform with the standards established by competent authorities, particularly in the area of safety and health (Article 3).

As a treaty, the CRC is binding on all parties that ratify it; those who sign but do not ratify it are obligated not to act contrary to the purpose of the convention under Article 18 of the Vienna Convention. State parties must submit periodic reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child detailing their progress on upholding the treaty’s provisions.
General Comment No. 3 of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, available separately in the Resource Bank, analyzes the obligations of the CRC in the context of HIV/AIDS.
The United States has signed, but not ratified, the CRC.