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Icono Juventudes



Ilustración de distintas etapas del ciclo de la vida de mujeres y hombres, del nacimiento a la vejez.

The number of years a person has lived. It is possible to understand a person’s stage of life based on their age. For example, the Convention on the Rights of the Child establishes that childhood goes from 0 to 18 years. The World Health Organization indicates that adolescence encompasses ages 10 to 19, and youth from 15 to 24. These conventions, however, sometimes go counter to the definitions of national legislations.

People have different needs, skills, and autonomy to exercise their rights depending on the moment in life in which they are. In this sense, the minimum legal age is a significant instrument to make progress in and protect the rights of children and adolescents. For example, the minimum legal age is established to perform certain actions, including marriage, giving consent for sex, giving medical consent (without the intervention from parents or guardians), working, completing schooling, assuming criminal responsibility, or going to court without the consent from mothers, fathers, or guardians.

Some countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have legal frameworks that specify minimum legal ages that are incompatible with those established by international law. Further, some legal frameworks present significant discrepancies amongst themselves.

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