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

  1. Non-discrimination - all children should have equal opportunities and are of equal worth regardless of ethnicity, gender, language, religion, wealth or ability.
  2. The best interests of the child - laws and actions affecting children should put their interests first and benefit them in the best possible way.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.





Multimedia Resources

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

Teacher Resources


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

The right to life- Firdoze’s Story Activity Sheet

Right On! The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – A peer education pack

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.

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Page last updated: 20 Oct 2016 3:22pm
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