International organisations - Childrens Rights Reform

International organisations

Various international organisations can support certain aspects of legislative reform, including advocating for certain principles and provisions to be considered, sharing good practice, supporting inclusive processes and providing technical assistance.

International and regional organisations

Promoting respect for children’s rights is the responsibility of the UN as a whole (Secretary General 2023), as well as of all UN and regional human rights mechanisms/

  • UNICEF is the UN entity with a focus on children’s rights and a specific mandate to provide States Parties to the CRC with technical assistance and support.


UNICEF is mandated by the UN General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children’s rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential.

It is the only entity specifically mentioned in the CRC (article 45) as a source of expert advice and assistance.

UNICEF supports States Parties to implement the CRC and can provide support to advance children’s rights.

Role of UNICEF in children’s rights legislative reform

UNICEF can promote the ratification of the CRC and its OPs:

It can also help States to strengthen laws and policies and improve the understanding of children’s rights by:

  • Supporting States in building institutional and professional capacity related to the implementation of the CRC. The CRC Committee encourages States Parties to provide and to use, as appropriate, technical assistance in the process of implementing the CRC, including assistance available through UNICEF and other UN agencies. (CRC GC 5, para. 63).
  • Supporting States in the implementation of the CRC Committee’s Concluding Observations, and recommendations from other human rights mechanisms.
  • Monitoring the implementation of legislation from a child rights perspective.
  • Contributing to the CRC reporting process, including by building the capacities of the State in fulfilling its reporting obligations and by making the voices of children heard in the process.
  • Identifying needs for legislative reform based on close monitoring of the situation of children in countries, including through research, and advocating with the State for reform.
  • Supporting participatory and inclusive legislative processes, including by facilitating child participation.
  • Raising public awareness on the need for legislative reform.
  • Providing substantial technical assistance in the drafting of legislation.

E.g.: In Chile, UNICEF has been closely following the discussion of new child protection system legislation since 2015, and contributing to the review of its content in all stages to ensure it aligns with the CRC.

  • UNICEF has on several occasions leveraged the CRC Committee recommendations to highlight the need for an effective Child Protection system in the country. During the discussion of this legislation in Congress, UNICEF has:
  • supported the presence of a specialised lawyer within congress to follow the discussion process and alert technical staff and management of key issues;
  • offered technical support to the commissions preparing technical notes;
  • taken part in weekly discussions at the Children’s Rights Commission in congress, along with the Ombudsperson Office for Children, to advise the parliamentarians drafting the law;
  • communicated the importance of the law to the public through media channels.

E.g.: In the run-up to the adoption of the Cybersecurity Act 2020 in Ghana, UNICEF and its national partners worked together to advocate for legislative and policy reform to protect children from online child sexual exploitation and abuse. The 2017 ‘Research Report on Risks and Opportunities Related to Online Child Practices: Ghana Country Report – December 2017 carried out by the Ministry of Communications and UNICEF in partnership with Global Kids Online, was used as an advocacy tool with stakeholders. The research report and advocacy activities led to the development of a position paper by UNICEF and Ghana’s Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in 2018 covering legislative and policy gaps concerning children’s safety online. UNICEF and the Ministry used the paper to launch consultations with a broad range of stakeholders at the national level, within the telecommunications sector and within communities, including leaders of administrative divisions and teachers in schools. These consultations raised awareness of gaps in the legislative framework and contributed to an increased demand from stakeholders to amend the legislative and policy framework to protect children from online sexual exploitation and abuse. Findings of the study also informed the development of the National Child Online Protection Framework, which aims to bring relevant stakeholders across sectors together to address online child sexual exploitation and abuse.