On 20 November, the world celebrates the Universal Children day, which is also the anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted in 1989.

Although most countries have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and its two Optional protocols, many children in the world are still suffering from serious abuses. Children are victims of violence in their homes, are forced to live in the streets and beg, others are being sold, trafficked and being used for the worst forms of labour, in the mining sector, or even practicing prostitution.

Some children have been deprived from their liberty and stay at care institutions because they were facing problems with the law or for any other reason –orphaned, illness... These children have to be protected from violence and abuses while residing in these institutions and a child friendly juvenile justice must be ensured.

In other cases children are recruited to actively participate in armed conflicts and as such are exposed to extreme mental and physical pressure with a disastrous impact on their lives and further development.

Children must be protected and their rights must be promoted at all times. Encouragement is needed for third countries to sign, ratify and/or translate into national legislation and effectively implement these various legal instruments.

Therefore the EU Guidelines on the Rights of the Child (2007) (PDF version, 109KB) and the EU Guidelines on Children Affected by Armed Conflicts (2003, updated 2008) (PDF version, 177KB) are the basis for EU actions protecting children's rights. Projects focus for example on children involved in armed conflicts, on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.


Key Documents:


back to Highlights