29 Nov 2019

Convention on the rights of the child

Source: UNICEF

The UN General Assembly adopted the Convention and opened it for signature on 20 November 1989 (resolution 44/25)

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child’ is an international statement of the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of children

Key highlights

The convention mentions the following rights of children 

Guiding principles: General requirements for all rights

  • Definition of the child: The convention mentions that everyone under 18 years of age has all the rights in this convention.
  • Application: The convention applies to everyone whatever their race, religion, abilities, whatever they think or say, and whatever type of family they come from.
  • Protection of rights: It also states that Every child has the right to life. Governments must take necessary steps to ensure that children survive and grow up well.
  • Respect for the views of the child: Children have the right to say what they think in all matters that may affect them and to have their opinion taken into account

Survival and Development rights: The basic rights to life and achieving one’s full potential 

  • Registration, name, nationality, care: Children have the right to a legally registered name and nationality. They also have the right to know and, as far as possible, to be cared for, by their parents
  • Separation from parents: Children should not be separated from their respective parents unless it is for their own good, for example, if a parent is abusing or neglecting a child. In the event of their parents getting separated, they have the right to stay in contact with both parents, unless this might harm them.
  • Refugee children: If children have come into the country as refugees,then it is important that they have the same rights as children born here. Also adequate steps are to be taken to make sure that these children are reunited with their families, wherever possible.
  • Child with disability: Every child with a disability has the right to live a decent life with dignity, independence and an active role in the community. They are entitled to special care and support to lead such a life.
  • Right to education: Every child has the right to an education. Primary education must be free. Secondary education must be available to every child.

Protection Rights: Keeping safe from harm

  • Protection from violence: Governments should ensure that children are properly cared for and protected from violence, abuse and neglect by their parents, or anyone else who looks after them.
  • Child labour: The Government should protect children from work that is dangerous, or that might harm your health or education
  • Detention: No child shall be tortured or suffer cruel treatment or punishment, while being detained for an offence. They can be arrested only as the last resort and that too for the shortest possible time and they are entitled to be in contact with their families during the detention period.

Participation rights: Having an active voice

  • Freedom of association:  Every child has the right to receive  and to share information, to meet together and to join groups and organisations as long as it does not restrict the rights of others.
  • Access to information from mass media: Children have the right to reliable information from the mass media. Television, radio and newspapers should provide information that they can understand, and should not promote materials that could harm them.