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Understanding child rights

13 October 2023, Action for Change

Every Child's Path to a Brighter Future

Child rights are an integral part of our global commitment to ensure that children grow up in a safe, nurturing, and supportive environment. They are the fundamental protections that every child, regardless of their background or circumstances, deserves.

What are child rights?

Child rights refer to the specific rights that every child is entitled to, as recognised by international law. These rights are enshrined in documents such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which is one of the most widely ratified human rights treaties in the world.

Child rights encompass a wide range of principles, including:

The Right to Survival: Every child as an equal right to life, access to adequate nutrition and healthcare.

The Right to Development: Children have the right to education, play, and opportunities to develop their full potential.

The Right to Protection: This outlines the responsibility of governments and communities to protect children from all forms of abuse, neglect, exploitation, and discrimination.

The Right to Participation: Children have the right to express their opinions, be heard in matters affecting them, and participate in decisions that impact their lives.

The Right to Non-Discrimination: Every child has the right to be treated fairly and equally, irrespective of their race, gender, religion, or social background.

Why do child rights matter?

Child rights are crucial for several reasons:

Human Dignity: Recognising and respecting child rights reaffirms the intrinsic worth and dignity of every child.

Childhood Development: Child rights promote holistic child development, encompassing physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being.

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty: Education and access to healthcare, both key aspects of child rights, are powerful tools for breaking the cycle of poverty.

Peace and Stability: Protecting children from violence and exploitation contributes to building peaceful and stable societies.

How child rights impact children's lives

Child rights have a profound impact on children's lives:

Education: Child rights ensure that every child has the opportunity to go to school and receive a quality education, paving the way for future success.

Healthcare: Access to healthcare services and proper nutrition ensures children's physical and mental well-being, reducing mortality rates and preventing illnesses.

Safety: Child rights protect children from harm, abuse, child labour and trafficking, creating a safer environment for them to grow and reach their potential.

Empowerment: By recognising children's voices and opinions, child rights empower them to participate in decisions that affect their lives, fostering a sense of self-worth and confidence.

Save the Children’s role in child rights

Save the Children has played a crucial role in child rights since their inception. Our founder, Eglantyne Jebb, was instrumental in pioneering the international framework for the equal rights of every child. 

Since then, Save the Children has worked to defend and uphold those rights through every avenue available. From providing education, health and protection services to children to ensure their right to grow up safe, to advocating for governments to do more to meet their responsibility to uphold the rights of children. Every action, word and dollar that comes from Save the Children is invested to ensure the rights of children are met. 

Your role in upholding child rights

Upholding child rights is a collective responsibility. Here are some ways we can all contribute:

Advocacy: Raise awareness about child rights and advocate for their implementation in your community and beyond.

Support Organisations: Support NGOs and agencies working to protect and promote child rights.

Educate: Teach children about their rights and responsibilities, helping them become informed, empowered individuals.

Report Violations: If you suspect child rights violations, report them to the appropriate authorities or organisations.

Child rights offer a roadmap for building a better world. They are apromise to children around the world that their needs are equal to any other person. Recognising and upholding these rights is not just a legal obligation, but a moral imperative. By working together, we can ensure that every child's journey is filled with love, opportunity, and the chance to fulfill their potential. In doing so, we build a world where the rights of all people are respected, protected, and celebrated.

Stay up to date on how Save the Children is creating a world where every child has a safe and happy childhood