A Safe Childhood is a Human Right
Across the world, children are denied their human rights.
They miss out on their right to education. They are abandoned and left to fend for themselves on the street. They are recruited into armed forces. They are subjected to the death penalty, are disappeared, are punished by cruel and inhumane methods and suffer many other forms of violence.
Child marriage — when an individual is married before the age of 18 — impacts millions of girls each year across the world. 1 in 3 girls in lower-income countries will be married before the age of 18 and 1 in 9 will be married before the age of 15. Child brides have little or no access to education and economic opportunities, and they and their families are more likely to live in poverty.
Worldwide, hundreds of thousands of children under 18 have been affected by armed conflict. They are recruited into government armed forces, paramilitaries, civil militia and a variety of other armed groups. Often they are abducted at school, on the streets or at home. Others enlist "voluntarily," usually because they see few alternatives. Yet international law prohibits the participation in armed conflict of children aged under 18.
Juvenile Life Without Parole
There are at least 2,500 people in the US serving life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for crimes committed when they were under 18 years old.
Right to Education
Everyone has the right to education—which should be available free to all at least at the primary level. Education is also indispensable in realizing other human rights.
Convention on the Rights of the Child
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), adopted in 1989 to protect the rights of children, is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history. It encompasses civil rights and freedoms, family environment, basic health and welfare, education, leisure and cultural activities and special protection measures for children. The CRC establishes a comprehensive set of goals for countries to achieve, guided by the best interests of the child.