Children Have Rights, Right?

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Daniella Bendo

Founder of Unique Baby Boutique

Did you know that all children have a set of fundamental human rights? Children in particular, have a set of special rights. They are categorized into three main sectors:

  1. Provision rights (for example, the right to be provided services such as healthcare, and education);
  2. Protection rights (for example, the right to be protected from neglect, exploitation and abuse);
  3. Participation rights (for example, the right to participate in programs and communities and the right to voice opinions and provide input and have them respected).

Seems simple, right? Unfortunately, the rights of young people are not always protected or promoted. On November 20, 1959, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child which served as a first step that aimed to outline children’s rights and ensure children around the world could enjoy a positive and safe childhood. 30 years later, on November 20, 1989, the General Assembly Adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child which recognized the civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights of people under 18 years old. This Convention has come to be known as the most ratified human rights treaty in history as 198 countries have now ratified it. This means that not only have these countries signed the Convention which indicates their willingness to comply to it, but they have also ratified it which indicates that they are now legally bound by it, through international law. The Convention outlines the responsibilities government have to ensure children’s right to survival, healthy development, protection and participation in all matters that affect their lives. The Convention is organized by four guiding principles which include:

  1. Non-discrimination. This means that all children have the same right to develop their potential in all contexts and at all times. For example, every child should have equal access to education regardless of the child’s gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, disability, parentage, sexual orientation or other status.
  2. The best interests of the child. Must be “a primary consideration” in all actions and decisions concerning children and can be used to resolve conflicts between different rights. For example, when making national budgetary decisions affecting children, government must consider how cuts will impact on the best interests of the child.
  3. The right to life, survival and development. Highlights the importance of ensuring access to basic services and to equality of opportunity for children to achieve their full development. For example, a child with a disability should have equal and effective access to education and health care to achieve their full potential.
  4. Respect for the view of children. Means that the voice of the child must be heard and respected in all matters concerning his or her rights. For example, those in power should consult with children before making decisions that will affect them.

Collectively, the Convention includes over 54 articles that are each framed by the guiding principles. One of the main articles of the Convention – Article 42, states that, “Governments should make the Convention known to adults and children alike. Adults should help children learn about their rights, too.” While the Convention has been around for over 20 years, a large majority of young people lack basic knowledge of their rights. Most young people are not taught about their rights or the Convention on the Rights of the Child in elementary school or high school. Many adults also remain unaware of the Convention and children’s rights and as a result, may not be able to help children learn about their rights. Many professionals who act and inter-act with young people often in the many child-service delivery systems such as: education, recreation, law, social work, and youth justice do not receive child rights training. This is problematic because child rights awareness can help to improve the lives of children and young people by ensuring laws, policies and services comply with the standards that are set out in the Convention.

Unique Baby Boutique believes that all children, in all countries, should be aware of their rights which is why we support Children’s Rights Initiatives that aim to educate young people about the Convention. We believe that is it important to advocate with and for young people which is why 10% of profits are also donated to Children’s Rights Initiatives that enable children to explore aspects of the Convention in the context of their own lives. Advocacy is an extremely important part of implementing and monitoring the Convention on the Rights of the Child. (Stay Tuned for my next blog on ‘What is Advocacy and Why is it Important?”). By investing in our products, our customers are supporting child-rights education and implementation. After all, countries who allocate rights to children should not hesitate to tell them they exist!

Thank you for your support and for reading! We hope that this article has provided insight on children’s rights and the importance of educating young people about the Convention.

Daniella Bendo, M.A., B.A.

Founder of Unique Baby Boutique

“Children shape today and tomorrow’s future”

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Daniella Bendo

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