c   c
Human Right Course
Home Site map     Mail us Print PolishNorwegian


What are human rights?
The history of human rights
What right do we have?
Civil and political rights
Economic, social and cultural rights
Human rights in times of war
The protection of Human Rights
Human rights in everyday life
Human Rights

Did you know

Did you know the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child defines all people under 18 years old as children?




Human rights are meant to protect vulnerable groups of people. Children are one such group. Children are fully and completely reliant on how they are treated by adults. The UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child was therefore adopted in 1989. According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child all people under the age of 18 years old are children. The convention is based on four main principles:

1. All children have the right to grow up.
2. All children have the right to develop.
3. All children have the right to care and protection.
4. All children have the right to participate in matters that concern them.

Every country in the UN, except Somalia and the USA, has ratified the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Most children in Norway enjoy a family that loves them, but children can also be subjected to injustices in this country as well. They can be neglected and assaulted by family members or friends, or in an institution if they live in one. Some children come to Norway as refugees and do not get the rights to which they are entitled.

The situation of children in many poor countries can be very difficult. Many children have to work hard every day and do not have the chance to go to school. In the carpet industry in Pakistan, for example, there are many child workers who work long days and in poor conditions. Children's small fingers can weave nicer patterns than big adult hands, and children also complain less than adults. Many cynical manufacturers therefore exploit child labour to make bigger profits. There are many similar examples throughout the world.

No one is allowed to hit you! - You have the right to express your opinion and to be heard!
If children are being abused, the authorities have a responsibility to act. The Convention on the Rights of the Child says that states must "protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child." Another important provision says that "state parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child." Parents, teachers and other people cannot deny children this right.

If you know of a child who is being subjected to abuse, you must inform an adult.



- Women and children are exploited as sex slaves all over the world. Around 1 million children are recruited into the sex industry every year - most by force

- Child labour is defined as an economic activity carried out by a person under the age of 15. The child can be a paid worker, self-employed or unpaid member of the family. There are around 200 million child workers around the world

Fact box

- 20th November is Universal Children's Rights Day

- There are several reasons why the USA has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
One of them is that it still practises the death penalty for young people who were younger than 18 at the time they committed the criminal act, and the fact that children as young as 15 can be imprisoned in degrading conditions, e.g. at the notorious Guantanamo Base in Cuba. If the USA ratifies the Convention on the Rights of the Child it would have to report to its current situation to the UN every five years. They do not have to do this at the moment and therefore can avoid being "lectured" by the UN and the international community

c 2005 © Den Norske Helsingforskomiteen DEN NORSKE HELSINGFORSKOMITÉ Aktive FredsreiserAKTIVE FREDSREISER - TRAVEL FOR PEACE AS c