Article 15

You have the right to be with friends and join or set up clubs, unless this breaks the rights of others.

Article 15 of the UNCRC makes it clear that – like all people in the world – children and young people have the right to freedom of association. This means that they should be free to:

  • meet individual people and groups of friends
  • set up an organisation
  • join an organisation
  • take part in peaceful protest.

Limits to freedom of association

While Article 15 promotes freedom of association, it does say there are some circumstances where it doesn’t apply. For example:

  • children and young people can’t meet with individuals or groups when they threaten their rights. For example, they can’t meet people who are likely to pose a danger to them
  • children and young people can’t meet with individuals or groups when they would threaten other people’s rights
  • children and young people can’t meet with individuals or groups in order to break the law.

Related articles

Article 13

Children and young people have the right to join groups that help them express themselves in the way you want to.

Article 14

Children and young people have the right to join groups that share similar beliefs to them.

Article 29

A child or young person's education should help them think about which groups they want to join.

Article 31

Children and young people have the right to join groups that help them relax in the way they want.

Article 32

Children and young people have the right to join a trade union.

Article 37

The right to freedom of association can be limited if a child or young person is found guilty of commiting a crime.

Full text

This article is a simplified version of Article 15 of the UNCRC. The full text of the Article can be found below:

1. States Parties recognize the rights of the child to freedom of association and to freedom of peaceful assembly.
2. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of these rights other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.