All countries that have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child have promised to respect the rights of the child. Still, violations of these rights are common in all countries. How are the children where you live?
You have the right to say what you think about any issue that affects you. Adults should listen to the child’s opinion before they make decisions, which must always be in the child’s best interests. Is this how things are in your country and in the world today? You and the rest of the world’s children know best! Therefore, YOUR voice must be heard!
NAME AND NATIONALITY
From the day you are born you have the right to have a name and to be registered as a citizen of your home country. Every year, 140 million children are born. Over 48 million of these children are never registered. There is no documented proof that they exist!
You have the right to be protected from economic exploitation and work that is hazardous to your health or that prevents you from going to school. All work is prohibited for children under 12. Around 168 million children around the world currently work, and for most of them, the work they do is harmful to their safety, health, development and education. Some 5.5 million children are forced into the worst forms of child labour, as debt slaves, soldiers or victims of the child sex trade. Every year, 1.2 million children are trafficked, either within their own country or to other countries.
A GOOD LIFE
You have the right to a home, food, clothing, education, health care and security. Over 1.3 billion people, or 1 in 7, live in extreme poverty. Almost half of these people are children. Around 100 million children live on the streets. For many, the streets are their only home. Others work and spend their days on the streets, but have families to return to at night.
A GOOD LIFE
You have the right to a home, food, clothing, education, health care and security. Over 1.3 billion people, or 1 in 7, live in extreme poverty. Almost half of these people are children.
You have the right to good health, and to help if you are sick. Lack of food, clean water and good hygiene affects many children’s health. Every day, 16,000 children under five die. Poor children rarely go to the doctor, especially if they are girls. Every year, 2 million children die of common childhood illnesses that can be prevented by vaccination, because 1 child in 6 is not vaccinated. Malaria kills 1,500 children under five every day (approx. 500,000 per year). Only 5 in 10 children with malaria receive treatment, and only 5 in 10 children in the poorest malarial countries sleep under a mosquito net.
Children may only be imprisoned as a last resort and for the shortest possible time. No child may be subjected to torture or other cruel treatment. Children who have committed crimes should be given care and help. Children may not be sentenced to life imprisonment or receive the death penalty. At least 1 million children in the world are being held prisoner. Imprisoned children are often treated badly.
WAR AND REFUGEES
You have the right to protection and care in times of war or if you are a refugee. Children affected by conflict and refugee children have the same rights as other children.
Roughly 30 million children in the world have been forced to leave their homes. Ten million of them are classed as refugees. Over the last 10 years at least 2 million children have been killed in war. 6 million have suffered serious physical injuries, while 10 million children have suffered psychological harm. One million have lost or become separated from their parents. Around 250,000 children are being used in wars as soldiers, carriers or mine clearers. More than 2,000 children are killed or injured by mines every year.
You have the right to protection from all forms of violence, neglect, maltreatment and abuse. 1 in 3 children is subjected to bullying. 4 in 5 children in the world between the ages of 2 and 14 are subjected to some sort of physical punishment and/or violence at home. Many countries allow corporal punishment in schools. 53 countries have banned all forms of physical punishment of children.
You have the right to go to school. Primary and secondary schooling should be free for everyone. More than 9 out of 10 children in the world go to school, but there are still 59 million children who get no education whatsoever. More than half of these are girls.
MINORITIES & INDIGENOUS PEOPLE
Children who belong to minority groups or indigenous peoples in their countries have the right to their language, culture and beliefs. Examples of indigenous peoples – the very first people to live in their countries – include Aboriginal Australians and the Sami people of Northern Europe. Indigenous and minority children often suffer injustices. Some are not allowed to speak their own languages. Many of them are discriminated against, which means that they do not have the same opportunities as other children, for example when it comes to education and medical care.
FUNCTIONAL VARIATIONS (FORMERLY DISABILITIES)
If you have a disability you have the same rights as everyone else. You have the right to receive support so that you can play an active role in society. Children with disabilities are among the most vulnerable in the world. In many countries they are not allowed to go to school. Many are treated like inferior beings and are kept hidden away. There are approximately 200 million children with disabilities in the world.
Sources: Unicef 2017. Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children 2017.