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Explains how the Welsh Government promotes children's rights and how the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) are used in policy development.

First published:
20 August 2019
Last updated:


The Welsh Government has led the way in promoting children's rights. The approach is based on a commitment to the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is an international agreement setting out the rights of children. The rationale for the UNCRC is that children’s rights need specific consideration due to the special care and protection often needed by children and young people.

The UNCRC is a list of rights that all children and young people, everywhere in the world have. Children and young people aged 18 and under, have the right to be safe, to play, to have an education, to be healthy and be happy. 

There are four key articles which form the basis of the rights set out in the UNCRC:

  • Right to non-discrimination (article 2)
  • Commitment to the best interests of the child (article 3)
  • Right to life, survival and development (article 6)
  • Right to be heard (article 12)

In 2004, the Welsh Government formally adopted the UNCRC as the basis of policy making relating to children and young people.

We have produced child friendly information that can be shared and promoted. 

Download a summary of the UNCRC articles.

Children's rights legislation

Children’s rights are already enshrined in Welsh law under Rights of Children and Young Persons (Wales) Measure 2011 - underlining Wales’ commitment to children’s rights and the UNCRC.

The measure places a duty on Ministers to have due regard to the UNCRC when developing or reviewing legislation and policy. This means that Ministers must give the appropriate weight to the requirements of the UNCRC, balancing them against all the other factors that are relevant to the decision in question.

The measure also makes Ministers responsible for ensuring that people in Wales know about, understand and respect the rights children and young people as outlined in Article 42 of the UNCRC.

To ensure that we support Ministers to comply with the duty to have due regard and to ensure compliance we have developed the Children’s Rights Impact Assessment (CRIA).

View children's rights impact assessments.

You can get further advice, guidance and information about CRIA by e-mailing the CRIA mailbox.

Children’s Commissioner for Wales

Wales was the first country in the UK to establish a Children’s Commissioner. The Children’s Commissioner for Wales has a role to raise awareness of children’s rights and promote the well-being of children. 

What to do if children are not getting their rights

If you think that you or children you know are not getting all of their rights, you can get in touch with the Children's Commissioner for Wales on the Children's Commissioner for Wales website.

Contact details

Children’s Commissioner for Wales

Telephone: 0808 801 1000 (Freephone) / 01792 765600

Opening hours are 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, except bank holidays.