An adult pulling a child in a direction indicated by an arrow, with a red line drawn over the illustration to cross it out.

UNCRC Article 11

I have the right not to be taken out of the country illegally

Governments should do all they can to stop children being taken out of their own country illegally.

Governments should work with other governments to make sure this doesn’t happen.

Article 11 of the UNCRC says children and young people shouldn’t be taken from their home country against their will. If this does happen, the government of their home country should make sure they can return.

The Article also makes it clear that nobody should take a child or young person from their home country for personal gain. They shouldn’t be abducted by anyone, including their parents. Countries should have agreements in place to make sure abducted children and young people can get home.


A child is abducted when these two things are true:

  • they’ve been removed from the place where they legally live or are being kept somewhere and unable to return there.
  • the people who’ve done this haven’t been authorised to do so or have broken the law by doing it.

Article 11 and Article 35 of the UNCRC both say that children should be protected from abduction.


Reunite International assist and advise both in cases of international abduction, but also help parents who fear their children may be abducted. The website also has a list of family lawyers who specialise in child abduction and an abduction prevention guide.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office also has information available online.

Relevant General Comments

The Committee on the Rights of the Child has produced many General Comments that help people understand how the UNCRC works in practice.

Some General Comments that are relevant to Article 11 are:

  • General Comment 6, on the treatment of unaccompanied and separated children outside their country of origin,
  • General Comment 22, on general principles around human rights of children in the context of international migration, and
  • General Comment 23, on state obligations regarding human rights of children in the context of international migration.

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