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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.

Children's rights are human rights

Rights of children are part of human rights: rights that the EU and EU countries must respect, protect and fulfil.  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.  The Commission is guided by the principles set out in the UN Convention on the rights of the child, ratified by all EU countries.

The Treaty of Lisbon introduced an objective for the EU to promote the protection of rights of children (Article 3(3) Treaty on European Union).

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU guarantees the protection of rights of the child by EU institutions, as well as by EU countries when they implement EU law. Whilst the whole Charter applies to children, there is a specific Article 24 (on the rights of the child) and Article 31 (on the prohibition of child labour).

EU acquis and policy documents on the rights of the child

This document compiles and tracks all EU legislation and provisionspdf, major policy documents and Commission proposals for legislation on the rights of the child.

Child protection/child safeguarding policies

Organisations working directly for and with children should be guided by child protection policies and have reporting mechanisms in place. The four standards set out in this document pdf Choose translations of the previous link provide good guidance on what policies should cover and achieve.   

EU funding programmes with relevance for integrated child protection systems

Please check this document pdffor more infomration on EU Funding programmes

The Commission coordinator on the rights of the child

DG Justice has a coordination role on the rights of the child among the Commission's services.
Through the Commission coordinator on the rights of the child (Margaret Tuite, and an inter-service group DG JUSTICE cooperates with other services of the Commission to make sure that the rights of the child are properly considered in all relevant policies and actions.

The rights of the child team as seen by a young person – two weeks as a part of the team. pdf

Check the EU children's rights website

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
•    Early childhood education and care
•    Youth Policy
•    European Youth Portal
•    School Education Gateway

DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology
•    Protection of children
•    Better internet for kids
•    116 000 helpline - missing children

DG Health and Food Safety
•    Youth health initiative
•    Promotion of children's health and wellbeing
•    Healthy environments: Injury and safety
•    Healthy environments: Health and environment
•    Tackling childhood obesity pdf Choose translations of the previous link 

DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
•     Poverty and social exclusiion
•     Investing in children and European Platform for investing in Children
•     European platform against poverty and social exclusion
•     Youth employment
•     European Pillar of Social Rights

DG Migration and Home Affairs
•    Children in migration
•    Family reunification
•    Common European Asylum System
•    Trafficking in human beings
•    Child sexual abuse and exploitation
•    Cybercrime

DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
•    Corporate Social Responsibility

DG International Cooperation and Development
•    Public Group on Children

European External Action Service
•    The EU and children's rights

Fundamental Rights Agency – FRA
•    Rights of the child

European Asylum Support Office – EASO
•    Vulnerable groups

European Border and Coast Guard Agency