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May 14, 2020

Human Rights of Children and Youth

The words “Children’s Human Rights” may seem mutually exclusive to some people. Children did not have the status of a human being throughout most of the history.  Traditionally, they were treated as chattels or property of their parents. They did not have any individual rights and were subject to their parents’ rights. On September 25, 1924, the League of Nations’ Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child, challenged this norm. It declared:

“… mankind owes to the Child the best that it has to give….”

On November 20, 1959, the United Nations, which replaced the League of Nations, made another declaration, known as the United Nations Declaration of the Right of the Child. Within this declaration, the fundamental principle underlying the ten rights stated:

“The child is recognized, universally, as a human being who must be able to develop physically, mentally, socially, morally, and spiritually, with freedom and dignity.”

Thirty years later, on November 20, 1989, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Today, we can proudly say that our children not only have rights but they also have more rights than adults. When a society invests its resources in raising its children to become healthy and responsible adults who have social, intellectual, emotional, and moral abilities, it shapes and secures its future. As a matter of fact, one can define a society by the way it treats its children. The humanity and wisdom of a society are reflected in the system that the society establishes for raising its children.