HOME      OVERVIEW     PROGRAMME DETAILS     LEGAL FRAMEWORK     PUBLICATIONS     PARTNERSHIPS

The international legal instruments

As defined in various international legal instruments, children have the right to be protected from being hurt and mistreated, physically or mentally. International law directs States to ensure that children are properly cared for and to protect them from violence, abuse and neglect. Should they be victims of violence, States shall take all appropriate measures to promote physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration.

The UNODC Global Programme to End Violence Against Children promotes, promulgates and protects a human rights and child rights-based approach to the phenomenon of violence against children. The international legal framework on child rights serves as a benchmark for action to ensure the continued determination of the international community to protect and uphold the fundamental child rights which are enshrined in the   Convention on the Rights of the Child and other key international standards and norms pertaining to the rights of the child.

 

List of the international legal standards and guidance on justice for children:

Convention on the Rights of the Child

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   

General comment No. 13 (2011) the right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence

Joint general recommendation No. 31 of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women/general comment No. 18 of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on harmful practices

General comment No. 24 (2019) on children's rights in the child justice system

UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (Beijing Rules)   

UN Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (Riyadh Guidelines)   

UN Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty (Havana Rules)   

Guidelines for Action on Children in the Criminal Justice System (Vienna Guidelines)   

Guidelines on Justice in Matters involving Child Victims and Witnesses of Crime   

UN Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence Against Children

 

The Beijing Rules, Riyadh Guidelines, Havana Rules, Vienna Guidelines, Guidelines on Justice in Matters involving Child Victims and Witnesses of Crime and UN Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence Against Children are available in Part Two of the Compendium of United Nations standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice which is available in  Arabic,  Chinese,  English,  French,  Russian and  Spanish.

 

The following instruments, although not exclusively applicable to children, are of direct relevance to issues related to violence against children and justice for children:

UN Standard Minimum Rules for Non-custodial Measures (Tokyo Rules)  

UN Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders (Bangkok Rules)  

Universal Declaration of Human Rights  

Universal Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples  

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights  

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights    

Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment    

International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination  

International Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women  

International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families  

International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance  

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities  

Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court  

Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949

Protocols Additional  to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949

Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (ILO Convention N°182)  

Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons  

Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness  

Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime

UN Global Counter-terrorism Strategy Review (General Assembly Resolution 70/291)  

 

The following are security council resolutions pertaining to children affected by armed conflict and terrorism:

Security Council Resolution 1261 (1999)

Security Council Resolution 1314 (2000)

Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001)

Security Council Resolution 1460 (2003)

Security Council Resolution 1539 (2004)

Security Council Resolution 1612 (2009)

Security Council Resolution 1882 (2009)

Security Council Resolution 1998 (2011)

Security Council Resolution 2068 (2012)

Security Council Resolution 2143 (2014)

Security Council Resolution 2225 (2015)

Security Council Resolution 2427 (2018)

 

Recent News

UNODC Global Programme to END VAC contributed to the Inter-Agency Technical Guidance on COVID-19 and Children Deprived of Liberty 

In April 2020, UNODC took part in an inter-agency process and contributed to the development of an Inter-Agency Technical Guidance on COVID-19 and Children Deprived of Liberty. The interagency group is composed of UN entities and CSOs and is a joint effort with the Alliance on Child Protection in Humanitarian ActionThe Inter-Agency Technical Guidance is aimed to provide States with recommendations on how to ensure the well-being of children in detention during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to this Guidance, UNODC, through its Global Programme to END VAC, offers a number of Technical Assistance Services to support Member States, upon request, in better protecting the rights of children in detention during the COVID-19 outbreak... read more and see The Inter-Agency Technical Guidance and UNODC-ENDVAC COVID-19 Response Webpage

Protecting children from terrorism: Indonesia launched the “Bali Call for Action for the implementation of the UNODC Roadmap” 

March 2020 - High-level representatives from Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives and the Philippines gathered in Bali in an event co-organised by Japan, Indonesia and UNODC reached political consensus : the 'Bali Call for Action'. Launched by the government of Indonesia, the “Bali Call for Action”, is a political declaration which endorses the UNODC Roadmap and commits to translate it into action at national level. With this initiative, Indonesia also called upon Member States to join this historical declaration as a unique opportunity to adopt a common approach to protect children from terrorism... read more

UNODC Roadmap on the Treatment of Children Associated with Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups highlighted at the COTER Meeting, European Council  

UNODC participated in the meeting organised by the Working Party on Terrorism (COTER) of the European Council and presented the UNODC Roadmap on the Treatment of Children Recruited and Exploited by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups. The meeting was a first step in enhancing the partnership between UNODC and the European Council towards protecting children from terrorism and supporting Member States to overcome the challenges associated with this phenomenon...  read more

UNODC Roadmap on the Treatment of Children Associated with Terrorist and Violent Extremist groups

The Roadmap is the result of 3 years of technical assistance work by UNODC to Member States that are affected by this phenomenon. It builds upon the twofold mandates of UNODC in the areas of violence against children and counter-terrorism, as well as on an increased understanding of the challenges and promising practices in this area. The Roadmap aims in priority to achieve an enhanced system-wide coherence that supports national priorities and needs... read more 

Useful links

UN Strategies & Measures on the Elimination of VAC  

Convention on the Rights of the Child

UNODC Global Programme END VAC Handbook 

UNODC Global Programme END VAC Factsheet

Newsroom & Multimedia

  

Free online course for justice professionals