One of UNICEF’s main missions is the advocacy for the protection of children’s rights, in meeting their basic needs and to amplify their opportunities to reach their full potential. This advocacy has led the UN to set out 54 articles that states the basic human rights that children everywhere should have; the right to survival; to develop to the fullest; protection from harmful influences and exploitation; and to participate fully in family, cultural and social life. They outlined it in 1989’s Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The Four Core Principles of the Convention provides:
- The Principle of non-discrimination (Article 2) which prohibits the state or anyone to discriminate a child in any way, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.
- The devotion to the best interests of the child (Article 3.1) should be taken into primary consideration of the state, thus, every crucial decision that a government undertakes, the children’s welfare should always be a substantial factor.
- The child’s right to life and survival and development (Article 6) shall be protected by the state to the maximum extent possible to ensure that each and every child has the opportunity to develop to their utmost potential.
- To respect the views of the child (Article 12) states that any child capable of forming his or her own views has the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child and these views shall be given weight in accordance to the maturity level of the child in any judicial or administrative proceedings either directly or through a representative in accordance to the state’s protocols of law.
By adhering to undertake the principles specified by the convention, governments have committed themselves to the protection of the children’s rights and shall be held accountable for the commitment they’ve made before the international community.