Rights of the Child
Protection and promotion of the rights of the child is one of the objectives of the European Union. All policies and actions with an impact on children must be designed, implemented and monitored in line with the best interests of the child.
As laid down in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), a child is any human being below the age of 18. Children make up one third of the world's population and one fifth of the population of the EU.
Children's rights form part of the human rights that the EU and EU countries must respect.
The Treaty of Lisbon introduced an objective for the EU to promote children's rights. Moreover the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU guarantees the protection of children's rights by EU institutions, as well as by EU countries when they implement EU law.
Within this framework the Commission helps to protect, promote and fulfil the rights of the child in all internal and external EU actions and policies with an impact on them.
The Commission is also guided by the principles set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by all EU countries.
Despite European, national and international efforts to protect and promote the rights of the child, the situation of children in Europe and around the worldis far from satisfactory.
For example, 19% of children in the EU are at risk of poverty.
Children involved in justice systems along with other children in vulnerable situations, such as those living in institutions for people with disabilities, can face numerous restrictions or violations to their rights.
Each day, children are trafficked or fall victim to sexual abuse. Those coming to the EU from third countries can face many threats to their well-being.
EU acquis and policy documents on the rights of the child
This document compiles and tracks all EU legislation and provisions - as well as major policy documents - on the rights of the child, including other documents of particular relevance to children. It also includes Commission proposals for legislation in order to provide an overview.
Guidance on child protection policies
Within organisations working directly for and with children, child protection policies and reporting mechanisms should be in place. The four standards set out in this document provide good guidance on what policies should cover and achieve. Grant applicants for projects that involve working directly with and for children must submit evidence of their child protection policy and are encouraged to adhere to these standards.
EU Funding Programmes with relevance for integrated child protection systems
This 2014 document summarises the various funding programmes and includes hyperlinks with further information.
Rights of the child: the Commission in action
DG Justice has a coordination role on the rights of the child among the Commission's services.
Through the children's rights coordinator and an inter-service group, it cooperates with other services of the Commission to make sure that the rights of the child take a prominent role in all relevant policies and actions.
Below you will find information about the actions of other Commission services to protect and promote the rights of the child.
DG Education and Culture
DG Information Society and Media
DG Health and Food
- Promotion of children's health and wellbeing
- Healthy environments: Injury and safety
- Healthy environments: Health and environment
DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
- Corporate Social Responsibility - Human Rights guides for enterprises in three business sectors: employment and recruitment agencies; ICT companies; and oil and gas companies
DG EuropeAid Development and Cooperation
European External Action Service