Module 2. General Principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child

Learning Objectives of this Module

  1. Explain the four general principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
  2. Describe the difference between direct and indirect discrimination.
  3. Explain the implications of the best interests principle.
  4. List the main rights that are relevant to the child’s right to optimum development.
  5. Describe why the right to participate is beneficial for children.
Introduction

Module 1 of this section provided an overall understanding of the CRC and associated obligations on governments. This module focuses on four rights that have also been described by the Committee on the Rights of the Child (Committee) as “General Principles” which need to be applied in the implementation of all other rights. These rights are:

  • Article 2. The right to non-discrimination.
  • Article 3. The right to primary consideration of best interests.
  • Article 6. The right to life and optimal development.
  • Article 12. The right to be heard and taken seriously.

So, for example, when looking at the right to health (or any other right), these four principles need to be considered. In other words, they must be a constant reference point to guide all decision-making. The following sections review each of these principles in more depth.