Every person in the world has human rights. We have these rights because we are human. Everyone has dignity, is equal and should be free. No one should take our rights away from us. The rights of children are particularly important and must be protected.
After the Second World War, the countries of the world came together to set up the United Nations (UN), to try to ensure that we all live in peace and dignity.
On the 10th of December 1948, the UN agreed on a very important document called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This sets out the rights that all people have. Every 10th of December is celebrated around the world as International Human Rights Day.
In 1989, the Convention on the Rights of the Child was agreed. This recognises that “every child is born free and equal” and sets out the special rights that all children have.
If things go wrong, and your rights are not respected, you can speak about your problem with people you trust, like your parents or teachers or friends. With their help, if it is a very serious problem, you may be able to go to a human rights organisation or lawyer. You may even make a complaint to a court, to ask a judge to make an order that you are treated properly.
There is also a special UN group of experts called the Committee on the Rights of the Child. This Committee talks with governments to see what can be done to improve how children are treated. The Committee also listens to complaints from children, to see if it can offer a solution. Anyone – especially children - who feel their country is treating children poorly, can speak directly to the Committee and tell them what they think.
If we all know our rights, we can all protect each other’s rights better!