Highlights of the Convention

Children are born with fundamental freedoms and the inherent rights of all human beings. Each child is an individual with his or her own rights to be respected and protected. This is the basic premise of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, an international human rights treaty adopted in 1989 that is transforming the lives of children and their families around the globe.

Although many nations have laws relating to children's welfare and rights, the reality is that too many nations do not live up to their own minimum standards in these areas. Children suffer from poverty, homelessness, abuse, neglect, preventable diseases, unequal access to education, and justice systems that do no recognize their special needs; children of minority groups are often particularly affected. There are problems that occur in both developed and developing countries.

The Convention states that every child has a right to good food, shelter, education and play, the right to say what they think and to be listened to, and the right to protection from abuse. It makes clear the idea that a basic quality of life should be the right of all children, rather than a privilege enjoyed by a few.

Who is a Child?

Every person under the age of 18 years.

Non-discrimination

All rights apply to all children without exception. Children must not suffer discrimination "irrespective of the child's or his or her parent's or legal guardian's race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status."

Best interests of the child

The best interests of the child must be a primary consideration in all decisions or actions that affect the child or children as a group. This holds true whether decisions are made by governmental, administrative or judicial authorities, or by families themselves.