Like many other human rights treaties, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is accompanied by Optional Protocols. These are additional treaties that can:
- further address something in the original treaty, or
- address something the original treaty doesn’t mention, such as an issue that didn’t exist when it was first adopted.
Optional Protocols give more detail about the area they discuss, and expand a state’s obligations beyond those given in the original treaty.
Optional Protocols of the UNCRC
The UNCRC has three Optional Protocols:
- an Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography,
- an Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict, and
- an Optional Protocol on a communications procedure.
A state that signs up to the UNCRC isn’t required to sign up to its Optional Protocols. Currently, the UK is signed up to two Optional Protocols, but not to the Optional Protocol on a communications procedure.