Skip to main content

Handbook on European law relating to the rights of the child

This handbook on European law relating to the rights of the child is jointly prepared by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and the Council of Europe together with the Registry of the European Court of Human Rights. It is the fourth in a series of handbooks on European law jointly prepared by our organisations. Previous handbooks were dedicated to European law relating to non‑discrimination law, asylum, borders and immigration, and data protection.

We embarked on this new joint project in the context of the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – which all European states have ratified – to shed light on the role of European legal standards in securing the enjoyment by children of their universal rights.

Children are full‑fledged holders of rights. This handbook thus aims to raise awareness and improve the knowledge of the legal standards that protect and promote these rights in Europe. The Treaty on European Union (TEU) sets forth the Union’s obligation to promote the protection of the rights of the child. The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (EU), EU regulations and directives, as well as the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU), have contributed to further determining the protection of the rights of children. In the Council of Europe, a large number of conventions focus on specific aspects of the protection of the rights of the child, ranging from their rights and safety in cyberspace to the adoption of children. These conventions contribute to enriching the protection granted to children under the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Social Charter, including the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the decisions of the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR).

This handbook is designed for non‑specialist legal professionals, judges, public prosecutors, child protection authorities, and other practitioners and organisations responsible for ensuring the legal protection of the rights of the child.