What Are Child Rights?

Human rights are things each and every person is allowed to have, to be or to do simply because they are human.

Human rights apply equally to all people – regardless of their sex, country, culture or age. Having human rights can help someone thrive. But because children and youth are more vulnerable than adults they sometimes need special support and protection. So, in 1989, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Convention has been described as enshrining “the rights of every child without exception to a life of dignity and self-fulfillment.” It has 54 different articles that identify many different child rights. These articles also explain the roles and responsibilities families and governments have in supporting child rights.

It’s important to recognize that all these articles are interconnected. They can’t be divided from each other and no one right can trump another. Instead, all rights, roles and responsibilities should be considered when making decisions that affect children and youth.

Some child rights in the Convention include:

  • the right to a name and nationality
  • the right to healthy food and a safe environment
  • the right, as far as possible, to be cared for by parents
  • the right to education
  • the right to participate in family, cultural and social life
  • the right to protection from violence

We believe protecting and promoting child rights can help individual young people, their families, and whole communities thrive.