Children's Rights

What are children's rights?

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), adopted in 1989 and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child adopted in July 1990, guarantee fundamental rights for all children in the world.


Children's rights apply to all children and young people from 0 to 18 years of age. The aim of these rights is that all children in the world can grow up healthy and safe and can develop well. The golden rule of children's rights is: the well-being of the child always comes first. In all decisions affecting a child, it is important to consider what is best for the child.

The four basic principles
of children's rights


Priority of the child's well-being: 

The best interest of the child shall be the primary consideration in all actions concerning children whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions courts of law, administrative authorities, or legislative bodies. 


Prohibition of Discrimination: 

Each child is within their jurisdiction without discrimination, irrespective of the child's parents or legal guardian, race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or another opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, poverty, disability, birth or other status.



Right to Advancement and Development: 

Children have the right to life, to survival, and development. The principle is most directly related to children's economic and social rights. 



Right to a say and Participation: 

To know what the actual interests of children are, they ought to be listened to and have their views respected.

The United Nations' Guidelines for Alternative Care

South Africa’s Constitution and Child Rights