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Rights of the child

29 October 2015, Action for Change

Child rights lie at the core of Save the Children's global vision

Save the Children Australia is part of the world’s leading independent children’s organisation, transforming lives of children and the future we share. Through our advocacy, programs, and initiatives, we fight for child rights, here in Australia, and around the world. 

Our aim is to ensure that all children have their rights met – all 54 articles as expressed in the ‘UN Convention on the Rights of the Child’. 

A national commitment 

Australia made a commitment to protecting children's rights when it signed up to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. So, what does that commitment really means for children? 

On 17 December 1990, Australia ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) - an internationally recognised agreement between nations that promotes children's rights. By signing up, Australia made a commitment to the kids of the world. It promised to do everything in its power to promote and protect children's right to survive, thrive and prosper - regardless of their race, religion or abilities. 

The origin of child rights is part of our origin story

Child rights lie at the core of Save the Children's global vision. In 1923, Save the Children's founder Eglantyne Jebb developed five directives that she believed were the fundamental rights of every child. 


With a vision that no child should suffer extreme hardship, she lobbied the League of Nations (the precursor to the United Nations) until it adopted these rights in 1924. These formed the basis for the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and subsequently inspired the CRC in 1989. 

More important now than ever 

While decades have passed since Australia’s ratification of the CRC, its promise to promote and protect the rights of children has become more critical over time. 

Through the rising global challenges of climate change, conflict and COVID-19, the future for children is far less clear than it was in 1990. 

Under the CRC, Australia and 193 other countries agreed to meet the basic needs of children, to do their best to make these rights a reality for children worldwide and to help them reach their full potential. 

Central to this is the belief that every child has basic civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. These include: 

  • The right to life 
  • The right to his or her own name and identity 
  • The right to be protected from abuse or exploitation 
  • The right to an education 

Australia's obligation 

Download our illustrated version of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to learn more about Australia’s obligations to the CRC. 

Illustrator: Eleri Harris 

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