Article 15 of the UNCRC makes it clear that – like all people in the world – children and young people have the human 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, and
- take part in peaceful protest.
The right to freedom of association is relevant when children and young people act as [human rights defenders.]
While Article 15 of the UNCRC 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.
More in the Rights questions and answers section
Days of General Discussion
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child facilitates Days of General Discussion where experts from around the world can discuss a child rights issue in detail. The reports of their discussions are a helpful tool to understand how the UNCRC should be interpreted.
2018’s Day of General Discussion on protecting and empowering children as Human Rights Defenders is relevant to Article 15.