The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted on 20 November 1989 in New York and became effective on 2 September 1990. It represents the first fundamental legal instrument aimed at protecting all children and obliges the ratifying States to protect and promote the rights of children, through the strengthening of the existing means of protection, and prompts them to work for a cultural change to concretely consider all children as holders of the rights enshrined in the Convention. The Convention content was then complemented with the approval of three optional protocols: the Optional protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflicts and the Optional protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, both adopted in 2010, and the Optional protocol on a communications procedure adopted in 2011.
Every year on 20 November, day of adoption of the Convention, the World Children’s Day is celebrated.
The official languages in which the Convention – as well as the three optional protocols – is written are English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic and Chinese.
The Convention in Italy
In Italy, the Convention became legally binding following its ratification under Law No. 176 of 27 May 1991, based on which Italy shall adopt all the necessary measures for the implementation of the rights enshrined in the Convention and establish a more adequate and structured system for the protection, support and promotion of the rights of the child. The Italian political strategy on the rights of the child has taken a comprehensive and integrated dimension with the adoption of Law No. 451 of 23 December 1997, through which Italy set up specific tools to develop an effective and consistent policy framework for children. In particular, the law established the Parliamentary Commission for Childhood, the National Observatory for Childhood and Adolescence and the National Centre of Documentation and Analysis for Childhood and Adolescence.