Terre des Hommes’ (TDH) mission is to work for the rights of the child and for equitable development, without racial, religious, political, cultural or gender-based discrimination. To this end, TDH supports and implements development and humanitarian aid projects designed to improve the living conditions of disadvantaged children, and of their families and communities. The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the conceptual framework guiding the activities of TDH.

At TDH, we believe that

  • children are entitled to the rights set forth in the Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • children are the main participants in their own development, having inherent rights and vital social, economic and cultural roles.

TDH helps them realise their full potential in an ever-changing world.

It is the responsibility of the international community to make these rights a reality, and to create an enabling environment, through the implementation of economic, social and cultural rights.


Almost all governments in the world, except the United States, have ratified and have committed to implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Despite that, child rights violations occur every day around the world.

Since the late eighties, Terre des Hommes was among the international NGOs that contributed to the establishment and the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989). Since then Terre des Hommes has considered the implementation of the UNCRC as a both a guiding principle and a working tool for its development, humanitarian aid, public awareness campaigns or research work. Three Optional Protocols complement the UNCRC, including the most recent adopted one on Individual Complaints Procedure, which will allow individual children to submit complaints regarding specific violations of their rights. Terre des Hommes contributions in the coming years will focus on promoting the ratification and implementation of that third Optional Protocol.

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The “OP3CRC” stands for Optional Protocol 3 (on individual complaints) to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Beyond this acronym, it is about offering the possibility for any child to engage in a complaint procedure in case of violation of his or her rights, provided that his/her State has ratified the Protocol. This represents an important step in supporting the empowerment of any child to be an active defender of his or her own rights.

Terre des Hommes has been one among the NGOs who campaigned since 2006 for the establishment and adoption of the so called “OP3CRC”. Today, it is an active member of the Steering Committee of the Coalition called “Ratify OP3CRC – International Coalition for the Optional Protocol to the CRC on a Communications Procedure”. The Coalition aims to call on national States to ratify the OP3CRC. As international organisation working in some sixty countries, Terre des Hommes will promote the ratification of such protocol towards governments in partnership with our local partners and child rights defenders.