The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
November 20th, 2009, will mark the twentieth anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Voices has been celebrating this landmark with weeks of coverage on the System Kidz radio program, and around Winnipeg. The UNCRC is an extremely important document, and one that is at the heart of Voices and other youth-based organizations around the globe. For those who are unfamiliar with the UNCRC, we have gathered all of the articles for you here. Enjoy!
Everyone under the age of 18 has all the rights in this Convention.
The Convention applies to everyone whatever their race, religion, abilities, whatever they think or say, no matter what type of family they come from.
All organizations concerned with children should work towards what is best for you.
Governments should make these rights available to you.
Governments should respect the rights and responsibilities of families to direct and guide their children so that, as they grow, they learn to use their rights properly.
You have the right to life. Governments should ensure that children survive and develop healthily.
You have the right to a legally registered name and nationality. You also have the right to know and, as far as possible, to be cared for by your parents.
Governments should respect children’s right to a name, a nationality and family ties.
You should not be separated from your parents unless it is for your own good – for example, if a parent is mistreating or neglecting you. If your parents have separated, you have the right to stay in contact with both parents, unless this might harm you.
Families who live in different countries should be allowed to move between those countries so that parents and children can stay in contact or get back together as a family.
Governments should take steps to stop children being taken out of their own country illegally.
You have the right to say what you think should happen when adults are making decisions that affect you, and to have your opinions taken into account.
You have the right to get, and to share, information as long as the information is not damaging to yourself or others.
You have the right to think and believe what you want and to practise your religion, as long as you are not stopping other people from enjoying their rights. Parents should guide children on these matters.
You have the right to meet with other children and young people and to join groups and organizations, as long as this does not stop other people from enjoying their rights.
You have the right to privacy. The law should protect you from attacks against your way of life, your good name, your family and your home.
You have the right to reliable information from the mass media. Television, radio, and newspapers should provide information that you can understand, and should not promote materials that could harm you.
Both parents share responsibility for bringing up their children, and should always consider what is best for each child. Governments should help parents by providing services to support them, especially if both parents work.
Governments should ensure that children are properly cared for, and protect them from violence, abuse and neglect by their parents or anyone else who looks after them.
If you cannot be looked after by your own family, you must be looked after properly, by people who respect your religion, culture and language.
If you are adopted, the first concern must be what is best for you. The same rules should apply whether the adoption takes place in the country where you were born or if you move to another country.
If you are a child who has come into a country as a refugee, you should have the same rights as children born in that country.
If you have a disability, you should receive special care and support so that you can live a full and independent life.
You have the right to good quality health care and to clean water, nutritious food and a clean environment so that you can stay healthy. Rich countries should help poorer countries achieve this.
If you are looked after by your local authority rather than your parents, you should have your situation reviewed regularly.
The government should provide extra money for the children of families in need.
You have a right to a standard of living that is good enough to meet your physical and mental needs. The government should help families who cannot afford to provide this.
You have a right to an education. Discipline in schools should respect children’s human dignity. Primary education should be free. Wealthy countries should help poorer countries achieve this.
Education should develop your personality and talents to the fullest. It should encourage you to respect your parents, your own and other cultures.
You have a right to learn and use the language and customs of your family whether or not these are shared by the majority of the people in the country where you live.
You have a right to relax, play and join in a wide range of activities.
The government should protect you from work that is dangerous or might harm your health or education.
The government should provide ways of protecting you from dangerous drugs.
The government should protect you from sexual abuse.
The government should ensure that you are not abducted or sold.
You should be protected from any activities that could harm your development.
If you break the law, you should not be treated cruelly. You should not be put in a prison with adults and you should be able to keep in contact with your family.
Governments should not allow children under 16 to join the army. In war zones, you should receive special protection.
If you have been neglected or abused, you should receive special help to restore your self-respect.
If you are accused of breaking the law, you should receive legal help. Prison sentences for children should only be used for the most serious offenses.
If the laws of a particular country protect you better than the articles of the Convention, then those laws should stay.
The government should make the Convention known to all parents and children.
Articles 43-54 are about how adults and governments should work together to make sure all children get all their rights.