Anyone of any age can speak up for the rights of children.
You can learn aboutand tackle child rights issues in your own life, community or the big wide world. Maybe you already know of a problem that children are facing that you want to change. You can use these resources to take action and influence change.
All people have human rights.
Rights are principles that every person needs to survive, to be treated fairly and to reach their full potential.
Rights are important because they list remove specific things that we need to live with dignity and be treated with respect. Human rights are an important part of our everyday lives, no matter where you come from, your age, culture, religion or any other status.
Just like adults, every child has rights.
In 1989, world leaders made a historic commitment to the world’s children by adopting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – an international agreement on child rights.
This is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history and has helped transform children’s lives around the world.
Learn more about children's rights
Ruby and Jack explain what rights are!
The full Convention on the Rights of the Child has 54 articles. Articles 43-54 are about how adults and governments should work together to make sure that all children have their rights upheld.Children's Rights Simplified
Learn how you can speak up for children’s rights
Children and young people have the right to give their opinions on issues that affect them, and for adults to listen and take them seriously. It is a fundamental right all children and young people should have.
For children and young people – Learn about your rights
Download this poster to have the information about your rights always handy.
For teachers – Resources to talk about children’s rights in your class
For your classroom: Poster: Convention on the Rights of the Child - UNICEF Australia
Activity book to work through children’s rights: Workbook know your rights - UNICEF Australia
Child rights and why they matter. This short course will transform and/or refresh your understanding of child rights and a child rights approach, introduce you to UNICEF’s mandate as it relates to child rights, and inspire you to apply a child rights lens to your everyday work and life.
If you want to learn more about the Child Rights Convention, visit this UNICEF resource hub.
For everyone - Frequently Asked Questions on the CRC
Human rights are universal and often expressed and guaranteed by international law. Children and young people have the same general human rights as adults, but they also have specific rights that recognise their needs as children.
Just like adults, children have rights. Children’s rights are written down in a special document called The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This was written in November 1989, and it lists all the rights that all children have.
These rights belong to every child in the world. So if you are under 18 years old – these are your rights!
Even though the rights set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child are very similar to the rights that adults have, this convention explains that adults and governments have extra responsibilities to make sure that children access all their rights. This is because children are growing, learning and sometimes need extra protection because of their age.
Nearly every country in the world has agreed to implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The Convention was the first tool developed to incorporate the complete range of international human rights, including civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights as well as aspects of humanitarian law, that just apply to children.
The Convention has four guiding principles and they are core requirements for any and all rights to be realised. The principles are:
Non-discrimination: the 42 articles in the CRC relate to the rights of EVERY child, no matter their religion, race, culture, sexuality or abilities. It doesn’t matter whatever they think or say, if they are boys or girls or if they are rich or poor.
The best interests of the child: any decision that is made, or any action that is taken, that may affect children must prioritise the best interests of the child, always.
Ensuring the child’s survival and development: every child has the inherent right to life, and it is the responsibility of decision-makers to ensure they are provided every opportunity to develop and reach their potential.
Participation: children are experts in their own lives and experiences; they should be consulted on decisions that affect them. Every child has the right to express their opinion, provide advice and valuable insight into how their rights can best be protected and fulfilled. You can learn more about the Convention here.
Even though every child always has rights, sometimes there are big barriers that stop them from understanding and using their rights.
For example, every child has the right to be protected from all kinds of violence. But every day, many children see or experience violence – at home, at school or in their communities.
Every child has the right to be listened to and to have their opinions taken seriously when decisions are being made about their lives. But many adults don’t take the time to listen to children’s views, or work with children to find the best way to solve problems they may face in their lives.
Governments, adults and children need to work together to get rid of these barriers so that children can enjoy their rights and be their very best.
Adults and governments in countries around the world must protect the rights of children. The Committee on the Rights of the Child is a group of 18 Independent experts that monitors countries that have signed up to the Convention to ensure that they are doing what the Convention on the Rights of the Child says.
UNICEF is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children's rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential.
Organisations like UNICEF have an important role to play in reminding governments of their responsibilities to children. We work to give governments advice about how best to protect and promote children’s rights. We also work with governments to find the best way to this for the largest number of children.
Sometimes, if a government or adults are not doing a good job of protecting children’s rights or don’t have what they need to do this well, UNICEF will step in and work with other organisations to provide what children need to be safe, survive, grow and be treated fairly.