In 1959, the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. It was the first international document on the protection of children’s rights aimed at protecting the position of children around the world.
The most important document for the implementation of children’s rights was adopted in 1989 by the UN General Assembly. This document is the Convention of the Rights of the Child. It contains 54 Articles that regulate the position of children in society, and until spring 1996, it was signed by 187 countries around the world.
The Republic of Croatia joined the Convention of the Rights of the Child in 1991. With this act, Croatia committed itself before the international community that it would apply all the rights that guarantee the protection of the rights of children.
We have extracted the most important parts from the Convention of the Rights of the Child, simplifying it to make the text more accessible to the child age.
- EVERY CHILD SHALL ENJOY EQUAL RIGHTS
Every child shall enjoy equal rights irrespective of race, colour, language, sex, religion, political or other opinion, ethical or social origin, property or any other child’s circumstances.
- EVERY CHILD HAS THE RIGHT TO LIFE
- EVERY CHILD HAS THE RIGHT TO A NAME AND THE RIGHT TO SOCIAL WELFARE
The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.
- RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds.
- RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF THOUGHT
Children have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, with suitable guidance provided by their parents.
- RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION
Children have the right to freedom of association and to freedom of peaceful assembly.
- RIGHT TO PRIVACY
The child has the right to protection against interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, as well as to protection against attacks on his or her honour and reputation
- RIGHT TO INFORMATION
The child has the right of access to information and materials from national and international sources. The state should encourage mass media to disseminate such information and materials, especially those aimed at the promotion of the child’s social and spiritual well-being, as well as his/her physical and mental health, and take measures in order to protect the child from information and materials that could harm his/her well-being.
- RIGHT TO PROTECTION FROM ALL FORMS OF VIOLENCE
The state shall protect the child from any forms of neglect by their parents, or other persons who look after them, and will launch violence prevention and victim assistance programmes.
- CHILDREN WITHOUT PARENTS ARE ENTITLED TO SPECIAL CARE
Children deprived of family environment have the right to special protection and suitable care, in another family or an institution that will respect their cultural background.
- REFUGEE CHILDREN AND CHILDREN – VICTIMS OF WAR HAVE RIGHT TO SPECIAL PROTECTION
Refugee children or children seeking refugee status have the right to special protection. Children under 15 years of age cannot directly take part in armed conflicts and cannot be recruited by armed forces. Children affected by armed conflicts have the right to special care and protection.
- CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES HAVE THE RIGHT TO SPECIAL CARE AND WELFARE
Children with mental and physical disabilities shall enjoy full and dignified life in conditions that provide dignity, promote relying on one’s own possibilities and facilitate the child’s active participation in the community.
- RIGHT TO SOCIAL AND HEALTH PROTECTION
Every child has the right to social and health protection. Every child has the right to the best health care, health protection and rehabilitation possible.
- THE CHILD HAS THE RIGHT TO EDUCATION
All children have the right to education. The state must ensure free and obligatory primary education, encourage various forms of secondary education available to all, and enable everyone to acquire higher education in accordance with one’s own capabilities.
- THE CHILD HAS THE RIGHT TO LEISURE AND PLAY
The child has the right to leisure and play, recreation, as well as to free participation in cultural activities.
- THE CHILD HAS THE RIGHT TO KNOW HIS/HER RIGHTS.
- D.Maleš, I.Starčević: “Najljepše je biti dijete”, TIPEX d.o.o., Zagreb, 1996.
- D.Skok: “Human Rights”, Školske novine, Zagreb, 1991.
- “Children’s rights to protection during armed conflicts and the Convention of the Rights of the Child”, UNICEF, 1995.