The Legal Protection of Children in the Middle East: Programming Guide and Legal Resources

Updated 16. Feb 2024
With over 43 million children displaced and at risk of human rights violations worldwide, the legal protection of children is a global priority.

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Children comprise up to 40 per cent of the estimated 108 million persons displaced worldwide. They are particularly susceptible to rights violations on account of their age and reliance upon others to protect them.

Child rights violations in the Middle East include child marriage, child labour, statelessness and lack of identity documents, conscription to armed groups, gender-based violence, sexual assault, neglect, abuse and exploitation. Family separation within and across borders is a key concern. States have special obligations in relation to the protection, education, health, welfare and development of children.

collecting-reeds.jpgPhoto: Ahmed Kaka/NRC

In order to promote the legal protection of children, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has partnered with White & Case to produce a series of legal guides for the Middle East region, setting out key child rights and protections within national legal frameworks.

The guides are a resource for lawyers, child protection, youth or education workers or other individuals or organisations working on the protection of child rights. The guides cover the following topics:

  • National bodies with obligations for child welfare and protection
  • Right to birth registration, identity documentation and nationality
  • Family and personal status issues, including marriage, divorce, guardianship, custody, travel with children and alternative care arrangements,
  • Rights to health, education and social welfare,
  • Protections against child labour, minimum working age and work rights protections for children,
  • Legal protections against the abuse of children, including physical and sexual abuse, neglect and exploitation
  • Juvenile justice and criminal law rights and protections for children

The guides provide general guidance only. Advice on individual situations should be obtained from qualified lawyers. NRC and contributors to the guides accept no liability for actions taken in reliance on the information contained in the guides, particularly as laws, regulations and procedures change frequently.

NRC is grateful for the comprehensive legal research provided by White & Case for the guides.





Legal Protection of Children Toolkit
English / Arabic


Guide to Child Rights in Syria
English / Arabic




Legal Protection of Children Guidance Note
English / Arabic