Convention on the Rights of the Child

The Convention on the Rights of the Child contains provisions on the human rights of young people under 18 years of age. It was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 20 November 1989. Switzerland ratified the Convention on 24 February 1997.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) provides a comprehensive guarantee of the human rights of young people under 18 years of age. The rights enshrined in the Convention are intended to enable children to develop their personality and abilities to their fullest potential and take into account their particular need for protection.

The Convention guarantees a child's right to:

  • be heard and to participate

  • protection of his or her welfare

  • an identity

  • life, survival and development

  • protection from abuse and exploitation

  • and includes a ban on any form of discrimination

The Convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 20 November 1989. Switzerland ratified the Convention on 24 February 1997, where it came into force on 26 March that year.

Convention on the Rights of the Child

Review mechanism

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child supervises the implementation of the Convention. The states parties must submit regular reports on the activities that have been taken in line with their commitments under the Convention.

The first two optional protocols also make provision for a reporting procedure to monitor their implementation. The third optional protocol provides for a supplementary individual complaints procedure (see below).

Switzerland has submitted regular reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child on implementing its obligations under the Convention. The second, third and fourth combined reports were submitted in June 2012. In February 2015, the Committee issued its recommendations on how Switzerland can improve compliance in terms of its obligations under the Convention.

The Federal Social Insurance Office (FSIO) is responsible for Switzerland's country reports on the implementation of its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. 

UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

Optional protocols

There are three optional protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child:

  1. Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict
    The aim of this protocol is to improve protection for children and young people caught up in armed conflicts. The UN concluded the protocol on 25 May 2000 and it came into force on 12 February 2002.

  2. Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
    This protocol improves protection for children against sexual exploitation. The UN concluded the protocol on 25 May 2000 and it came into force on 18 January 2002.

  3. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure
    This protocol provides for an important supplement to the Convention and the first two optional protocols in the form of an individual complaints procedure. The Committee is also empowered to carry out interstate communications procedures (Art. 12 of the protocol) and inquiries (Art. 13 of the protocol) under certain conditions. The UN concluded the protocol on 19 December 2011 and it came into force on 14 April 2014.

Switzerland is a state party to the first two optional protocols. It ratified the first on 26 June 2002, where it came into force one month later on 26 July. The second was ratified on 19 September 2006, and came into force after one month on 19 October. Switzerland is currently examining an accession to the third optional Protocol on an individual complaints mechanism, which allows individuals to bring complaints regarding the violation of individual rights of the convention and the two Optional Protocols before the Committee, once the domestic remedies have been exhausted.

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