Human Rights of Children – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and historical context


Human rights are universal and given equally to all.

It is not dependent on race, nationality or age.
The human rights of children will be introduced in the following section and we recommend that you leaf through them for a better understanding.

Summary of the Human Rights of Children

Summary of the Human Rights of Children

The United Nations Convention sets out 4 principles for children’s rights as listed below:

  • Non-Discrimination
  • Best interests of the child
  • The right to survival and development
  • The views of the child

Additionally, there are 54 articles that set out the ways in which the government should cooperate.

The 54 articles are as follows:

  • Definition of children
  • Protection from discrimination
  • Best interests of the child
  • Legislative measures to implement the treaty
  • Parental rights
  • Life survival and development
  • Birth registration rights
  • Right to name, nationality, and family relationships
  • Children are not separated from their parents against their will
  • Contact with parents across countries
  • Measures against illegal transfer of children internationally
  • Children’s rights to be heard in judicial and administrative procedures
  • Freedom of expression
  • Freedom of thought and religion
  • Freedom of association
  • Protection of privacy
  • Right to information from national and international mass media
  • Parents or legal guardians have primary responsibility for raising their children
  • National obligations to protect children from abuse
  • National obligations to children who have been temporarily or permanently deprived of their family environment
  • State obligations to children regarding adoption
  • National obligations to children classified as refugees
  • State obligations for children with mental or physical disabilities
  • Providing medical services for children
  • Children places in physical or mental health care have the right to regularly review their situation and treatment
  • Right to social security insurance and benefits
  • Children’s right to a standard of living sufficient for physical, mental, moral, and social development
  • Right to education
  • Goals to which education should be directed, and the rights of individual adults to establish and guide educational institutions
  • Right to belong to an ethnic, religious, or linguistic minority group
  • Rest, leisure, and recreational activities
  • Right to be protected from financial exploitation
  • National obligations to protect children from illegal drug use
  • National obligations to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse
  • National obligations to prevent child abduction or trafficking
  • National obligations to protect children from all other forms of exploitation that impair their welfare
  • Obligations to prevent children from torture, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment
  • Obligations to prevent children under the age of 15 from directly participating in war and other hostile acts, and to protect and care for children affected by armed conflict
  • National obligations to promote physical and mental recovery of child victims of torture, degrading treatment or armed conflict
  • State obligations regarding children who violate criminal law
  • No part of the Convention shall invalidate the provisions contained in state law that further promote children’s rights
  • National obligations to make the provisions of the Convention widely known
  • Explanation of the role of the United Nations Commission on children’s rights
  • Report to the Committee
  • The process by which the committee evaluates the report
  • The treaty is open for signature by all countries
  • The treaty is subject to ratification
  • Conventions can be adopted by accession
  • The Convention will come into effect 30 days after the 20th ratification and accession
  • Parties can propose amendments
  • Parties can submit reservations
  • Parties can condemn the Convention
  • The United Nation Secretary-General has been nominated as a depositary for the Convention
  • The original for the current treaty is with the United Nations Secretary-General

The human rights for children consist of the above 54 Articles.

In accordance with these rights, the human rights of children must be protected.

Declaration on the human rights of children

There is an abundance of human rights for children besides those declared by the United Nations.

Below are a number of these declarations:

1924 Declaration of Geneva Mankind has the best to offer to children.
1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights “Human beings are born freely and are equal in dignity and rights.”
Children have the right to special assistance.
1959 Declaration of the Rights of Children
  • Equal rights without discrimination by race, religion, or nationality
  • The right to protection of a child’s physical, mental and social development
  • Right to name and nationality
  • Right to adequate nutrition, housing and medical services
  • Right to education and care for children with physical or mental disabilities
  • Right to receive love and understanding from parents and society
  • Right to recreational activities and free education
  • Right to receive primary relief in all situations
  • Right to protection against all forms of negligence, abuse and exploitation
  • Right to be nurtured in an environment of understanding, tolerance, friendship with others and universal brotherhood
1966 International Treaty All children are free of discrimination based on race, color, gender, language, religion, national or social origin, property or birth, and are entitled to family, social, and state protection.

As referenced above, conventions and declarations on the rights of children are repeated, promoted and protected.

History of Children’s Rights

History of Children’s Rights

Let’s take a look into the history of children’s rights and its evolution.

From HUMANIUM’s point of view, no particular protection was provided for the children in the Antiquity. In the Middle Ages, those we consider children nowadays were referred to as “small adults”. It wasn’t until the mid 19th century that the topic of protection exclusive to children were discussed or remotely considered.

Below is a chronological table of the events that proceeded the 19th century, with respect to children’s rights:

1841 Laws start to protect children
1881 French laws include the right for the children to be educated
1919 Establishes a committee for child protection
1924 The League of Nations adopts the Declaration of Children’s Rights
1947 United Nations Children’s Fund is founded and becomes UNICEF
1948 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes that “motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance.”
1953 UNICEF activities expand to developing countries
1959 General Assembly of the United Nations adopts the Declaration of the Rights of the Child
1979 Declared International Year of the Child by the United Nations
1990 The Convention on the Rights of the Child becomes an international treaty, ratified by 20 states and entered into force on September 2nd, 1990
2000 Ratification of the Optional Protocol to the International Charter of the Child Rights regarding the participation of children in armed conflicts

Evolving since 1841 and going through numerous revisions to what it is in the present, the human rights of children are protected in this manner.

Children’s Rights Organizations

Children’s Rights Organizations

These are the organizations currently present in the world to protect the human rights of children.
Below are the organizations and the time of their authorization:

Asia Child Workers in Asia
Australia ChilOut
Belgium International Falcon Movement
Canada Canadian Centre for Child Protection
Canada Child Welfare League of Canada
Colombia Pies Descalzos Foundation
France Fondation pour l’enfance
Germany Kinderstern
International Watchlist
Iran Stop Child Executions Campaign
Israel Israel National Council for the Child
Pakistan Children Parliament Pakistan
South Africa Children’s Rights Project, UWC
Switzerland Defence for Children International
Switzerland Terre des hommes
Thailand Development and Education Programme for Daughters and Communities
Thailand ECPAT Thailand
Thailand Child Watch Phuket
Nepal Sano Sansar Initiative
Philippines DSWD
The Netherlands KidsRights Foundation
England Children’s Rights Alliance for England
England Action on Rights for Children
England Child Rights Information Network
England Save the Children
England National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
India Save the Children India
United States Children’s Defense Fund
United States Children’s Rights Council
United States Intact America
United States The Global Fund for Children
United States National Safe Place
United States National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
United States NOCIRC
United States Stand for Children
United States Voices for America’s Children
United States Distressed Children & Infants International

With only those that can be confirmed, there are 37 organizations globally that protect the rights of children.

Q&A : Children’s Human Rights

Q&A : Children’s Human Rights

Frequently asked questions concerning children’s human rights.

  • What are the 4 main human rights?
  • What are the 4 rights of a child?
  • Do fathers have more rights than mothers?

What are the 4 main human rights?

The 4 main rights, according to Eleanor Roosevelt are:

  • Right to equal education
  • Right to work at equal wages according to ability
  • Right to justice under the law
  • Right to participate in legislation through voting

The only things which I have advocated are four basic rights which I believe every citizen in a democracy must enjoy. These are the right for equal education, the right to work for equal pay according to ability, the right to justice under the law, the right to participate in the making of the laws by use of the ballot.

Reference : Eleanor Roosevelt’s four basic rights, 1944 – Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History”

What are the 4 rights of a child?

The 4 rights of a child are defined as follows:

  • Right to life
  • Right to protection
  • Right to participate
  • Development rights

These 4 rights cover civil, political, social, economic, and cultural rights of all children.

Do fathers have more rights than mothers?

The rights of both parents are equal.

Neither is entitled to more of their child’s rights than the other.

However, it remains a common misconception that mothers have more rights than fathers. In fact, if each parent has parental responsibility for a child, their rights and responsibilities are equal

Reference :”Do Mothers Have More Rights Than Fathers? – VWV”

Children are Entitled to Human Rights without Exception

Children are Entitled to Human Rights without Exception

Everyone is entitled to human rights, regardless of age, child or adult.

The human rights of all children should be protected, as the bearers of the future.

Adults should not only be aware of their own human rights, but those of children as well.

We encourage all to always be cognizant of children’s rights.

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