The rights of children are more important than ever


To grow up well children need to feel safe and loved so they can thrive and be themselves. They need to have a chance to play and explore, have a say in decisions that affect them, and access to essential things like food, shelter and healthcare. 

Queensland Child Protection Week runs from 6 – 12 September 2020, is all about making child protection everyone’s business. Adults are essential in ensuring children’s safety and well-being.

Understanding the rights of children means that we can identify when the rights of children are being ignored or violated by others and take action. Listening to children and young people is the best way to support their safety and wellbeing.

Children have the right to:
- be treated fairly no matter what
- have a say about decisions affecting them
- live and grow up healthy
- know who they are and where they come from
- be safe no matter where they are
- privacy
- be cared for and have a home
- education, play and cultural activities
- help and protection if they need it.

Listening to children and young people is the best way to support their safety and wellbeing.

Kids swinging outdoors in summer

Queensland Child Protection Week stems from thirty years ago, when world leaders made a historic commitment to the world’s children by adopting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – an international agreement on childhood rights.  The Convention says childhood is separate from adulthood, and lasts until 18 years. Childhood is a special time where children must be allowed to learn, play, develop and grow with dignity. The Convention has become the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history and has helped make a positive and real difference to the lives of many children.

As part of the 30 year anniversary, children and young people from Australia and the Pacific recently met to discuss key issues that government, policy makers and broader society need to address through change in behavior and policy decisions. 

World Vision recently published the statement by the group. It’s no surprise that given the global health crisis, COVID-19 was identified as a major challenge for youth. The uncertainty, social distancing, learning from home and being away from friends were concerns. Climate change with fires in Australia and rising sea levels in the Pacific was also identified. Indigenous children’s rights and demand for respect of language and culture also resonated with the group. 

It’s heartening to know that the group of children and young people expressed their desire to be part of the solution and work in partnership with adults to make a positive difference for the younger generation now and into the future. For children’s rights and wellbeing to improve, children need to be brought along on the journey. It’s up to all of us to make child protection part of our business now and into the future.

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