Rights of the child

We firmly believe in the child's right to the highest standard of health service attainable, their right to be treated with respect and dignity, their right to protection and safeguarding and their right to be heard.

RCPCH commitment:

  • we have produced the reports Not Just a Phase and Involving Children and Young People in Health Services
  • the College has hosted a number of key events, bringing together young people, politicians, paediatricians and other key stakeholders; 
  • we have created the  & Us® network, to give children, young people, parents, carers and families a voice in the work of the College; 
  • we are developing a short guide for paediatricians about the UNCRC and its implications for health professionals.

'We do a great injustice to children and young people when, as a society, we fail to listen to their views, take on board their perspectives and value their contribution in shaping child health services.' Professor Terence Stephenson, President, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Rights of the child and the UNCRC

UNCRC Poster (English) small_0.jpgThe United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is the most widely ratified international human rights treaty in history. It sets out the rights, standards and monitoring mechanisms for upholding all children and young people’s rights (those under the age of 18).

Out of the 192 countries that form the UN, only the USA and Somalia are yet to ratify the UNCRC. In all other 192 counties the UNCRC provides a legally binding framework to ensure young people’s rights are upheld.

The UNCRC consists of 54 articles. You can download an overview of the articles(PDF, 1.2MB, 1 page) or find out more.

UK's involvement and duty

  • The UK ratified the UNCRC in 1991.
  • There is an obligation in the UK for professionals working with young people (doctors, social workers, teachers etc) to comply with its principles and provisions.
  • The UK’s performance in meeting its obligations under this convention is monitored and reported on by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.


As well as implementing many of the principles of the UNCRC, the RCPCH hosted an anniversary event exploring and celebrating the Convention:

UNCRC Twentieth Anniversary Event