Every child has the right to live a full and healthy life, and to be protected from harm and neglect. They should have access to free health care, education and basic services. They also have the right to a safe place to live and to take part in cultural, educational and creative activities.
Children should be free from harmful work, drugs and sexual abuse. They should be able to express their opinions freely and have the right to be heard in legal cases that affect them. If a child is harmed, they should receive compensation. The rights of children should be respected, irrespective of their race, language, religion or family background. Children should be protected during war and they have the right to receive help after a disaster, so they can recover their health and dignity.
Governments should ensure that every child has a home, enough food, education and health care. They should provide children with the chance to enjoy and develop their cultural identity, and their parents should be listened to and taken seriously when they have a problem. Parents should be allowed to decide what is best for their children, but if they are not able to look after their kids themselves, the state should step in. Governments should make sure that children are registered at birth and that they have an official record of who they are, which includes their name, nationality and family relationships. This should be kept safely and if it is lost, the government should help them to get it back quickly.
People can help protect a child’s rights by supporting and promoting the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which sets out a framework of essential rights for all children. They should make sure that all duty bearers – departments of the government, schools, police and civil society – are working together and sharing responsibility for protecting children. They should be particularly vigilant in protecting the health, safety and well-being of girls. They should be able to identify and help stop practices that harm children, including traditional child marriage, and ensure that those who violate a child’s rights are held accountable.
The UN has created the Committee on the Rights of the Child, which reviews the performance of nations who have signed up to the treaty. 196 countries have now ratified it, which makes it the most widely accepted international human rights treaty. Save the Children campaigns for governments to follow the Convention and ensure that it is being put into action on the ground. We investigate, expose and combat violations through relentless strategic advocacy and legal action. We are a charity which is a member of the Child Rights Coalition, a global alliance of organisations fighting for children’s rights. We are not affiliated to any political party. You can find out more about us here. Alternatively, you can donate to help us continue our work here. Thank you for your support.