Making the Rights of Children Effective and Enforceable


Policy advocacy and partnerships for children's rights
Legislative Reform Initiative

Harmonizing National Legislation with International Human Rights Instruments

While virtually every country in the world has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), children's rights are frequently not realised. One important aspect of creating an environment within which children's rights will be realised is the creation of an appropriate legislative framework which enshrines their rights. While this is not sufficient to guarantee their rights, and implementation of the law remains a major challenge around the world, getting laws and the mechanisms and institutions for their implementation right is one of the most essential steps to realising children's rights.

UNICEF's Legislative Reform Initiative (LRI) supports efforts for the realisation of the rights enshrined in the CRC and in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). It recognises that legislative reform must go beyond the letter of law to address polices and programming in order to make the laws effective and enforceable. The LRI includes papers and tools which can inform legislative reform efforts and share global experience.

  • The LRI is divided into four sections:
  • : These provide in-depth analysis of legislative reform on specific issues by UNICEF and external experts. The papers cover a broad range of issues such as child marriage, child domestic labour, the right to food and trafficking.
  • : These address broader issues of legislative reform, including approach, assessing national legislations’ compliance with international human rights laws, including child rights in constitutional reform, and supportive policies and practices for the implementation of law.
  • : These are reports of UNICEF-organised expert-level events, consultations, roundtables and meetings to on the harmonization of national legislations with international human rights instruments and standards.

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