Your rights as a child or young person
"Rights" are things every child should have or be able to do.
All children have the same rights. These rights are listed in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Almost every country has agreed to these rights.
All the rights are connected to each other, and all are equally important.
Sometimes, we have to think about rights in terms of what is the best for children in a situation.
Also to think about what is important to protection children from harm.
As you get older, you have more responsibility to make choices and power to act on these rights.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
Below lists the rights of children:
Article 1: Everyone under 18 has these rights.
Article 2: No child should be treated unfairly on any basis.
All children have these rights:
- no matter who they are,
- where they live,
- what their parents do,
- what language they speak,
- what their religion is,
- whether they are a boy or girl,
- what their culture is,
- whether they have a disability,
- whether they are rich or poor.
Article 3: All adults should do what is best for you.
When adults make decisions, they should think about how their decisions will affect children.
Article 4: The government has a responsibility to make sure your rights are protected.
They must help your family to protect your rights and create an environment where you can grow and reach your potential.
Article 5: Your family has the responsibility to help you learn to exercise your rights.
Your family should ensure that your rights are protected.
Article 6: You have the right to be alive.
Article 7: You have the right to a name.
This should be officially recognised by the government.
You have the right to a nationality (to belong to a country).
Article 8: You have the right to an identity
This is an official record of who you are. No one should take this away from you.
Article 9: You have the right to live with your parent(s).
Unless it is bad for you to be with your parents.
You have the right to live with a family who cares for you.
Article 10: If you live in a different country than your parents do, you have the right to be together in the same place.
Article 11: You have the right to be protected from kidnapping.
Article 12: You have the right to give your opinion.
Adults must listen to children's opinions and take it seriously.
Article 13: You have the right to find out things.
To share what you think with others, by talking, drawing, writing or in any other way, as long as it does not harm or offend other people.
Article 14: You have the right to choose your own religion and beliefs.
Your parents should help you decide what is right and wrong, and what is best for you.
Article 15: You have the right to choose your own friends.
To choose friends and join or set up groups, as long as it isn't harmful to others.
Article 16: You have the right to privacy.
Article 17: You have the right to get information that is important to your wellbeing.
From radio, newspapers, books, computers and other sources.
Adults should make sure that the information you are getting is not harmful, and help you find and understand the information you need.
Article 18: You have the right to be raised by your parent(s) if possible.
Article 19: You have the right to be protected from being hurt and mistreated, in body or mind.
Article 20: You have the right to special care and help if you cannot live with your parents.
Article 21: You have the right to care and protection if you are adopted or in foster care.
Article 22: You have the right to special protection and help if you are a refugee.
If you have been forced to leave your home and live in another country.
You have the same rights as everyone, which includes all rights in this UN Convention.
Article 23: You have the right to special education and care if you have a disability.
All the rights in this Convention applies so that children with a disability can live a full life like everyone else.
Article 24: You have the right to the best health care possible.
This includes safe water to drink, nutritious food, a clean and safe environment, and information to help you stay well.
Article 25: You have the right to suitable living arrangements if you live in care or away from home.
Your living arrangements should be looked at regularly to see if they are the good for your situation.
Article 26: You have the right to help from the government if you are poor or in need.
Article 27: You have the right to food, clothing, a safe place to live.
You should not be disadvantaged so that you can't do the things other kids can do
Article 28: You have the right to a good quality education.
You should be encouraged to go to school to the highest level you can.
Article 29: Your education should help you use and develop your talents and abilities.
It should also help you learn to live peacefully, protect the environment and respect other people.
Article 30: You have the right to practice your own culture, language and religion - or any you choose.
Minority and indigenous groups need special protection of this right.
Article 31: You have the right to play and rest.
Article 32: You have the right to protection from work that harms you, and is bad for your health and education.
If you work, you have the right to be safe and paid fairly.
Article 33: You have the right to protection from harmful drugs and from the drug trade.
Article 34: You have the right to be free from sexual abuse.
Article 35: No one is allowed to kidnap or sell you.
Article 36: You have the right to protection from any kind of exploitation.
To not be taken advantage of.
Article 37: No one is allowed to punish you in a cruel or harmful way.
Article 38: You have the right to protection and freedom from war.
Children under 15 cannot be forced to go into the army or take part in war.
Article 39: You have the right to help if you've been hurt, neglected or badly treated.
Article 40: You have the right to legal help and fair treatment.
The justice system must respect your rights.
Article 41: If the laws of your country provide better protection of your rights than this UN Convention, those laws should apply.
Article 42: You have the right to know your rights!
Adults should know about these rights and help you learn about them, too.
Articles 43 to 54: These explain how governments and international organisations like UNICEF will work to ensure children are protected with their rights.
For more information visit the Childline your rights page.