UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN-CRC)
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN-CRC) is the most important human rights instrument for children. It was passed on November 20th, 1989, by the General Assembly of the United Nations. It is the most ratified UN-Convention - every member state has signed it, except for the United States. The Federal Republic of Germany signed it on January 26th, 1990, and it came into effect on April 5th, 1992.
The rights of children were written down in 41 articles. They oblige the state to their implementation, that is, to respect, protect and fulfill them. Further 14 articles describe statutory provisions for the implementation of the UN Convention on the rights of the child. According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, children are all people that have not reached the age of 18.
The UN-Committee of Experts for the Rights of the Child, which consists of 18 independent experts, monitors the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as the its Optional Protocols. The following three Optional Protocols complement the provisions in the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the following topics: Involvement of children in armed conflicts, Sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and Communications Procedure. They have to be ratified by the individual states as well separately. As additional documents the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child publishes General Comments, in which the provisions in the Convention of the Rights of the Child outlined in detail.
The full version of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child can be downloaded here.