The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is the world’s most signed Convention. It is designed to protect the lives and dignity of children and youth (anyone under age the age of 18). It outlines the minimum standards for the healthy development of children and youth.

What are child and youth rights?

There are 54 articles and 2 optional protocols in the Convention that outlines the rights of children and youth and the obligations of adults and government.

You don’t have to memorize all the different rights in order to understand them, a simple way to determine what rights children and youth have and how to exercise the rights is to know the 4 guiding principles:

  1. Non-discrimination. These rights are for all children. Children and youth have the right to be treated without discrimination and have the right to be who they are.
  2. Right to life survival and development. Children and youth have a right to the basic things to live, survive, and develop
  3. Best interests of the child. Always ask yourself “Is the decision I’m making good for kids?”
  4. Engaging children and youth.  Children and youth need to participate and have their views considered when decisions are being made that affect them.

Learn more

You can learn more about the rights of children and youth at everychild.ca, BC’s Child Rights Public Awareness Campaign and at www.scyofbc.org.