The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is a document about the basic rights that children have around the world. It talks about the basic needs of children that need to be met to allow them to be safe and grow up healthy. Children have the same basic rights as everyone else, but they do have more rights that are specific to them in their family and the role they take in their community. It explains the services that governments have to provide to children to protect them and meet their needs.
Here are a few examples of the rights that you will find in this Convention:
- The health and safety of the child comes first
- Children who do not want to be separated from their parents will not be separated from them unless their needs (health and safety) cannot be fulfilled
- Children have the right to speak their minds in any situation that affects them and be taken seriously in consideration to their age and maturity
- Children have the freedom to privacy, family and their connection to people
- Children have the right to be protected from all kinds of violence (mental, physical, sexual, etc.)
- Children are not to be taken advantage of and mistreated
- Children that cannot be with their family are allowed to have special protection and help from their government
- Children that cannot be with their family have the right to have someone check in on them to make sure that they are being treated properly and have everything they need
- Children have a right to education, to enjoy their culture and participate in their culture, to practice their religion and speak their language, to play, to be protected from being taken advantage of for money, to proper legal treatment when arrested
How to use it?
There are three ways to use this agreement:
1. For children who are involved in armed conflicts (anything that includes weapons)
2. For children who are in danger of child prostitution, child pornography and the sale of children
3. For the use of making a complaint against a government for not meeting the needs mentioned in the agreement
What else do I need to know?
Canada ratified, or agreed, to this Convention on the Rights of the Child. The United Nations has a Committee on the Rights of the Child, a group of people who keep track of how different countries are doing when it comes to making sure children's rights are being met. The countries like Canada who have ratified the Convention must make regular reports to this Committee to explain the situation of children in the country and explain the ways that the country is helping to realize their rights.