Two girls on a motorbike in Hanoi
How are Viet Nam’s children?

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

26 million children

97.3 million people live in Viet Nam. Circa 26 million are children, and 7,4 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. Circa 1.4 million children are born every year in Viet Nam. Circa 1 out of 10 of them are never registered. There is no documented proof that they exist!

Survive and grow

You have the right to life. Viet Nam must do all it can to allow children to survive and develop. Nearly 32,000 children in Viet Nam die every year before the age of 5, usually due to causes that could have been prevented.


You have the right to food, clean water, medical care and the right to privacy when consulting an adult about any health problem. 19,3 % of households in Viet Nam get their water from unsafe sources. This is far more common amongst poor people and in the northern regions. Three million children lack access to clean water.

A home, clothing, food and security

You have the right to a home, food, clothing, education, health care and security. Circa 2 out of 10 children in Viet Nam are believed to live in poverty. More than half of children from minorities live in poverty.


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 Viet Nam start school but some leave early, especially in rural and mountainous areas.

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 at home and in school. Viet Nam has not. Nearly 7 out of 10 children face physical discipline at home.

Early marriage

You have the right not to be married before the age of 18. In Viet Nam, nearly 8 percent of girls get married at 15-19 years of age. 1 out of 10 if they live in the countryside and nearly half of all girls that age if they live in the northern regions.

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. Circa 16 & of children 5–17 in Viet Nam 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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