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How are India’s children?

India has ratified (pledged to follow) the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This means that India must respect the rights of the child and listen to what children have to say. Are the rights of the child respected in India?

452 million children

1.4 billion people live in India. Ca 452 million are children, and 120 million of the children are under five years old.

Name and nationality

From the day you are born you have the right to have a name and to be registered as a citizen in your country. More than 25 million children are born every year in India. 3 out of 10 of them are never registered. There is no documented proof that they exist!

WCP Child Rights Hero Rosi Gollman helps local organisations in India to save girls like Rosi and Annanthi and her baby cousin from being victims of infanticide. ©Kim Naylor/WCPF

Survive and grow

You have the right to life. India must do all it can to allow children to survive and develop. 1 out of 22 children in India (more than 1 million every year) dies before the age of 5, usually due to causes that could have been prevented.

WCP Child Rights Hero Ashok Dyalchand supports girls in organizing their own clubs and demand respect for their rights. ©Kim Naylor/WCPF

Health and well-being

You have the right to food, clean water, medical care and the right to privacy when consulting an adult about any health problem. 9 out of 10 children in India use basic drinking water services. Only 4 out of 10 children use basic sanitation services. 130,000 children (age 0-14) live with HIV/ AIDS.

A home, clothing, food and security

You have the right to a home, food, clothing, education, health care and security. More than 2 out of 10 children in India live in extreme poverty with less than 1.90 US-dollar (135 Rupees) a day to live on.

WCP Child Rights Hero Inderjit Khurana opened classrooms on train platforms to give an education to children who are homeless and children living in slums near train stations. ©Kim Naylor/WCPF


You have the right to go to school. Primary and secondary schools should be free for everyone. More than 9 out of 10 children in India go to school, but many of them leave school much too early.

Protection against violence

You have the right to protection against all forms of violence, including neglect, maltreatment and abuse. Only 60 countries have forbidden all forms of corporal punishment for children. Many still allow caning in schools. India has not forbidden corporal punishment.

WCP Child Rights Hero Kailash Satyarthi fights to eradicate child labour in India and beyond. Here, he has just freed children who were used as bonded labor in a sweatshop in Delhi.©Kim Naylor/WCPF

Hazardous child labour

You have the right to be protected against both economic exploitation and work that is hazardous to your health or which prevents you from going to school. All work is prohibited for children under 12. Some children are forced into the worst forms of child labour, such as being debt slaves, child soldiers or used for commercial sexual exploitation. An estimated 30 million children aged 5-14 in India have to work.

Your voice must be heard

You have the right to say what you think about any issue that affects you. The adults should listen to the child’s opinion before they make decisions, which must always be made in the best interest of the child!

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