Children are one of the most vulnerable groups in society, and their rights must be regarded as a matter of urgency. They have the right to live, to have their identity, to be cared for by adults, to get good health and education, to be protected from harm or exploitation and to have their voice heard.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) sets out these rights and outlines how governments should respect them. This is the first ever international agreement that covers all of the fundamental rights children deserve to protect their lives and thrive as they grow up.
1. Children have a right to be alive
The law must ensure that young people have the best possible healthcare, nutritious food, clean water, electricity and safe homes. They must also be taught good habits to help them stay healthy and grow up strong.
2. They have a right to know who they are and where they live
They should be able to find out who their parents are, how old they are, where they come from and what their nationality is. They should also be able to travel to other countries so they can see their families.
3. They have a right to be educated and participate in community life
Schools should prepare children for social and economic development, teach them about responsibility and respect for others, and promote their autonomy, rights and cultures. They should also provide them with access to information and the means of communication, including the Internet, radio, television, newspapers and books, in languages that children can understand.
4. They have a right to freedom of expression and thought
Every child has the right to express their opinions, use their language, develop their own creative and cultural activities and to learn new things. They can choose the methods and materials that they use to do this, provided that they do not infringe upon the rights of others.
5. They have a right to privacy
All children have the right to protect their family, home and personal information from being stolen or harmed. They should also have the right to be free from being bullied or abused, by other children or by people who are not their parents.
6. They have a right to a fair trial when they are accused of breaking the law.
They have a right to fair and just trials, no matter how old they are or where they live. They should not be jailed or forced to pay for crimes they did not commit, and they should receive justice for their suffering.
7. They have a right to a name and nationality
All children have the right to be registered with their names and nationalities. They should be able to have their name, nationality and any other details changed if they need to, as quickly as possible.