The article was originally published on The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne’s website.
Did you know that 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child?
The introduction of the Convention changed the way children were perceived and treated. Rather than as passive objects of care and charity, the Convention showed the child to be a human being with a distinct set of rights.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child consists of 54 articles that are underpinned by 4 key principles.
- Every child, everywhere: Children should neither benefit nor suffer because of their race, colour, gender, language, religion, national, social or ethnic origin, or because of any political or other opinion; because of their caste, property or birth status; or because they are disabled.
- The best interests of the child: Laws and actions affecting children should put their best interests first and benefit them in the best possible way.
- Survival, development and protection: The authorities in each country must protect children and help ensure their full development – physically, spiritually, morally and socially.
- A voice: Children have a right to have their say in decisions that affect them and to have their opinions taken into account.
There are some great resources available for children to better understand the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The right to an education features strongly in the Convention and we are reminded of this right in the work we do at the Education Institute to support the continued learning of children and young people, regardless of their health condition.
UNICEF has prepared a children’s version of the Convention here and this visual interpretation of the Rights of the Child is a delightful resource for a timely discussion of what these rights mean for children all over the world.