European Convention on the Exercise of Children's Rights

(ETS No. 160)

Open for signature by the member States of the Council of Europe and the non-member States which have participated in its elaboration, in Strasbourg, on 25 January 1996.

Entry into force: 1 July 2000.

Summary of the treaty

The Convention aims to protect the best interests of children. It provides a number of procedural measures to allow the children to exercise their rights. It sets up a Standing Committee which shall keep under review problems relating to this Convention.

The Convention provides for measures which aim to promote the rights of the children, in particular in family proceedings before judicial authorities. The judicial authority, or person appointed to act before a judicial authority on behalf of a child, has a number of duties designed to facilitate the exercise of rights by children. Children should be allowed to exercise their rights (for example, the right to be informed and the right to express their views) either themselves or through other persons or bodies.

Among the types of family proceedings of special interest for children are those concerning custody, residence, access, questions of parentage, legitimacy, adoption, legal guardianship, administration of property of children, care procedures, removal or restriction of parental responsibilities, protection from cruel or degrading treatment and medical treatment.

Each Party is required to specify at least three categories of family proceedings to which this Convention is to apply. This European legal instrument will also facilitate the implementation by Parties of the United Nations Convention on the rights of the child.