The UN and the International Human Rights System

International human rights law is made up of a vast web of treaties, protocols, and international, regional and national bodies. This guide maps out the UN structure and the different treaties and “mechanisms” (the legal processes and organisations that monitor and implement treaties) from the United Nations General Assembly to the Committee on the Rights of the Child – what they do, what impact they have on children and how NGOs can use them to further children’s rights.

There are also regional bodies around the world which advocates can use to promote and protect children’s rights, and of course each country has its national system.


Other Resources

  • Click here for the latest children’s rights advocacy opportunities at the UN, including report deadlines for treaty bodies, calls for submissions, special procedure visits, and more.

  • The Committee on the Rights of the Child now has an international complaints mechanism for violations of children’s rights - this means individuals can take cases to the Committee on the Rights of the Child. Click here for a toolkit on this mechanism.

  • This section of the website is updated regularly. Click here for a pdf version of our guide to the UN (which we published in 2011).

  • You can also find out which UN body has said what about any country on the Children’s Rights Wiki, and click here for CRIN’s library which includes extracts of children’s rights mentions by the UN.

  • Click here for details on how CRIN monitors what the UN does and says - or most importantly, doesn’t - in the monitoring section of our website.

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