Why do children have a human rights convention of their own?


When we talk to children and young people, you often ask us why you have a human rights convention of your own― the UNCRC. Why isn’t there a convention for adults?

But children and young people aren’t the only group of people who have a convention of your own.

Other groups do, too. For example, women have the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and people with disabilities have the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

There are two reasons why a group of people might have their own convention, and both of them apply to children and young people:

You’re less likely to have your rights respected

Human rights are for everyone, but not everyone is equally likely to have them respected in their lives.

Adults – including those in power who make decisions – might forget that they apply to children and young people.

That’s especially true because children and young people don’t have the same power adults do. You don’t have as much money as they do, and if you’re under 16 you can’t vote.

So the UNCRC exists to make it clear: human rights are for you.

It helps adults remember that children and young people are humans, just like them.

You have the right to special protection

It’s also true that as a child, you can be more at risk than adults are.

You’re still growing and developing into the person you’re going to be, and what happens to you now can affect you in the future.

For example, if you don’t get enough nourishing food, you might grow up to be less big and strong.

And if bad things happen to you, they might be harder to deal with than if the same things happened to adults.

So the UNCRC is also about giving you these special protections.

Other groups of people have special protections, too― like people with disabilities.

And if you’re in one of these groups, you also have those protections, including the ones in the UNCRC.

top