Children rights are people’s claims about how they should be treated by others. These include the right to be recognised as persons and therefore entitled to basic human rights, such as not being ‘owned’ by another person, the right to freedom of association with parents, the right to privacy, the right to education and health care, and the right to protection from violence or harmful practices. Children rights also include the right to be listened to in decisions that affect them, even though they don’t have as much power as adults.
The most important of these is that every child has the right to life. That means having food, clothes, a place to live, and the health services they need to stay alive. It also includes education, which should help them develop their personalities, talents and abilities to the fullest. They should be taught to respect other people’s rights, cultures and differences.
They have the right to be protected from harm and cruelty, like being kidnapped or sold into slavery. They should not be used as soldiers or taken to war, and if they are, they should be well looked after. If they are accused of breaking the law, they should be given legal help and a fair trial. Prison should never be the first choice, and children who are in prison should be allowed to stay in touch with their families.
All children have the right to a family, and this should be helped by governments. This might mean giving money to families that need it, or setting up special homes for them. They have the right to play and rest, and schools should be a safe place for them. Schools should not use any kinds of violent punishment, which is bad for children’s mental and physical health.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child says that all children should have a say in decisions that affect them. This is called “participation rights”. Children should be able to express their views, either directly or through a representative, and they should be listened to. This helps their development and strengthens society.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child also says that children should be protected, and this should happen through governments and organisations that are working for children’s rights. It should be done by putting the goals of the Convention into national action plans, and by helping families and communities to make sure that all children are getting what they need. This might include reducing infant and maternal deaths, lowering the rate of malnutrition or illiteracy, or providing clean drinking water. The goal should be to help all countries reach the targets set in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action by 2015.