All humans have rights, which apply to everyone, including children. Since children are a special group, they have their own set of rights, which are outlined in articles in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The UNCRC was published in 1989 and is the most ratified human rights treaty in history.
There are two videos to choose from to learn about children’s rights.
The first one is better for younger kids, the second one will appeal to older kids. Feel free to watch one, or both!
You may see a number of other videos that are a deeper dive into things you might be interested in. Feel free to watch as many of those as you like. Then choose some activities and/or a project.
High school students or any student who wants to dig deeper, continue your study with the advanced learning project in the Projects section.
The Right to Non Discrimination
Conventions on the Rights of the Child
Think about the rights you have learned about that are included in the UNCRC. Which rights are most important to you? What rights would you add to the list? The right to your own bedroom? The right to have a pet dog? What is the difference between a right and something that you want?
For this activity, you will need a large piece of paper or poster board and markers or coloured pencils.
Draw a portrait of yourself on the poster paper. Now add words around you that capture the rights that are important to you to grow up happy and healthy.
These rights are important to you. Do you think they should apply to children all around the world?
Save a picture of your poster to your portfolio.
View online or print this poster from UNICEF Canada, which describes the articles from the UNCRC.
Choose 1 or 2 articles to focus on and think about how they are addressed in your country.
For example, if you choose article 28 (the right to an education), think about what education looks like in your country. Who can go to school? What do schools look like? Do you feel safe? Do you have choices in what school you attend or do you have options like homeschooling? What would you change about education in your country?
You could compare what education looks like in your country versus another country.
Make a video or a slideshow (using Google Slides or similar program) to teach your family and friends what you’ve learned about your chosen articles in the UNCRC.
Save your video or slideshow to your portfolio.
For this activity, find a news report that interests you about a child or children in your own country or another country where their rights are being neglected or where they are exercising their rights. You can have your grown-up help you with this part.
Now you can create your own newspaper article or news report based on this story.
Watch this video for tips on what you should include, and what to check:
Watch this video for tips on creating a newspaper article or online news article:
Watch this video if you are writing a TV or radio news report:
Gather the information for your report. You can choose to add an interview with someone on the topic. Write your report, including pictures if you are doing a written report.
If you are filming or recording, you can practice your delivery before you record.
Save your news report to your portfolio.
The UNCRC, like other UN declarations, are not binding laws. A country that ratifies a declaration has the responsibility to change its own laws to reflect the articles of that declaration.
You can research the laws in your own country to see how they measure up to the declarations of the UNCRC. Have any laws been changed to meet those declarations? Do any still fall short?
A government that has ratified the UNCRC must report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child every 5 years to provide an update on children’s rights in their country and what measures they are taking to provide for those rights. You can search for your country’s most recent update in the UN Treaty Body Database.
If you live in the United States, you will find that the US has signed the UNCRC but is the only member country of the UN to not ratify it. Why do you think that is? What opposition is there to ratifying the declaration? What laws in the US would have to change to reflect the articles?
Create a slideshow or poster to share what you’ve learned about the laws regarding children’s rights in your own country.
Save your work to your portfolio.
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