Every child has rights.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely ratified convention in history.
The Convention sets out the rights of children, aged 0 to 18 years, and the responsibilities of governments to fulfill those rights.
Child rights are based on what a child needs to survive, grow, participate and fulfill their potential. Child rights apply equally to every child, regardless of ethnicity, gender or religion.
The Convention includes the responsibilities of parents, governments and children themselves to ensure the rights of children are met.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is guided by four fundamental principles
- Non-discrimination - all children should have equal opportunities and are of equal worth regardless of ethnicity, gender, language, religion, wealth or ability.
- The best interests of the child - laws and actions affecting children should put their interests first and benefit them in the best possible way.
- Survival, development, and protection - authorities in each country have the responsibility to protect children and help ensure their full development—physically, spiritually, culturally, and socially.
- Participation- children have a right to have their say in decisions that affect them and to have their opinions taken into account.
Read the full text of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, or read New Zealand's bilingual summary of the Convention here.
New Zealand ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on the 13th March 1993. This means the NZ Government has agreed the best interests of the child must come first where decisions, laws or services involve children. New Zealand submitted its Fifth Periodic Report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child on 5th May 2015.
Te Reo Maori and its Tikanga are Special, video
A video produced by Sonny Ngatai UNICEF NZ Youth Ambassador sharing the importance of Article 30 of the CRC; Children have the right to learn and use the language and customs of their culture.
What are Child Rights? video
A video produced by UNICEF Australia sharing child friendly information on the CRC
- For Each and Every Child Teacher Booklet PDF, 3.6 MB
- UNCROC in Action Photo Essay PowerPoint
- About the CRC Powerpoint
- The Rights of Children- International Photo Essay
Check out the range of fantastic activities on child rights contained in
the resources below:
Email UNICEF NZ to order a class set of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child Pamphlets, posters are also available.
Learning about Child Rights and Responsibilities Level 3-4
- Class-room lessons designed to help New Zealand children understand their own rights and responsibilities, and link these to the rights of children everywhere. Also available on CD, including video clips, and case studies. There is no cost for the CD, however there is a small cost for postage.
The right to life- Firdoze’s Story Activity Sheet
Right On! The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – A peer education pack
- This pack, designed by UNICEF UK, ideal for exploring issues affecting child rights. Whether you’re a peer educator, a youth worker or a teacher we hope you’ll find some useful information and ideas to support your session on children’s rights. The activities in this pack are suitable for young people aged between 12 and 18, although they could be adapted for groups of any age.
For more information on Child Rights check out:
For more information on Child Rights or resources related to Child Rights contact Jacqui Southey, Child Rights Education Advisor, UNICEF New Zealand
See what else UNICEF is doing for children in need
Find out more about our work with the Global Parents Programme - a way to help children in greatest need world over.Find out more