Children are the future of our world, yet millions of children are facing hunger, poverty, ill-health, violence, abuse, neglect, discrimination and exploitation. To achieve the full promise of children’s rights, governments and all people around the world must make it a priority. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is a powerful tool to help make that happen.
Children have many different rights that are important for their growth and development. These include the right to a safe home, good food and health care, quality education, access to information and play and the opportunity to participate in decisions that affect them. They also have the right to be protected from all forms of exploitation, including trafficking in persons, child labour, sale of organs and sexual abuse.
Parents have a duty to protect their children. Governments should enforce laws to keep children safe, and ensure that families receive the support they need to do this. Governments should also promote and implement effective strategies to prevent abuse and exploitation.
A child’s right to privacy is very important, including the right to protection of their family, friends and personal communications and the right to be free from intrusions in their homes. It also includes the right to access information from a variety of sources, in their own language and at an age appropriate level. This information should be objective, fair and non-discriminatory.
Every child has the right to education, which is an essential prerequisite for their lifelong learning and development. Governments should provide all children with access to education, free of charge, and should ensure that it is of high quality. They should also take steps to ensure that schools are safe places and that students receive adequate discipline, without the use of punishment.
Children’s right to participate in society is an important part of their identity. This means they have the right to be listened to, and their opinions taken seriously, in all decision making that affects them. It also means they have the right to be involved in the formation of policies that are relevant to their lives, and to participate in activities with other children, in a way that is appropriate to their levels of maturity.
The principle of parens patriae (the state as parent) is a common approach to children’s rights, but it can be problematic because it may lead to the belief that government interests are more important than the interests of individual children.
Ultimately, it is up to parents, teachers and others to teach children about their rights so that they can assert them when necessary. This is why it is so important to raise awareness of children’s rights, and to educate all people about them. In addition, people should be encouraged to respect and celebrate children’s diversity and differences. This will help to create a more peaceful world.