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Young refugee child in Afghanistan stands outside, washing their hands with a pink towel and a bottle of water

Children's rights around the world

How children's rights are being threatened, and how you can help.

What are children's rights?

Since 1989, governments around the world have adopted the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which recognises that all children have the right to be treated with dignity and fairness, to be protected, to develop to their full potential and to participate. The full treaty contains 54 articles and covers rights including privacy, protection from violence, education, equality and the rights of refugee children. 

World Vision values every child and has been working for over 70 years to support the wellbeing of all children around the world, to protect them against their rights being infringed upon and to help address injustices when they occur.

How children's rights are threatened

There are many ways in which children's rights can be infringed upon in any country. However some of the most serious and devastating threats happen in places where there is a great deal of poverty, and in areas where disasters have occurred. Both of these situations can make children more vulnerable to grave violations like marriage, labour and being recruited as soldiers. That's why World Vision has specific protection programmes to tackle the most pressing children's rights issues.

Click below to find out more about our work in these areas.

How can I help to protect children's rights?

World Vision works with communities to support and promote children's rights around the world. We empower children to know their rights, and work to reduce the circumstances that can lead to rights infringements.

Supporters who choose to sponsor children help to address these circumstances, ensure that children can attend school, and empower us to work with communities and faith leaders to protect children's rights. Below are just some of the rights that sponsors help us to promote.

Our work, made possible by supporters, has transformed the lives of more than 200 million children.

Empowering children to use their voices

One of the most powerful ways we support children's rights is by teaching children themselves what these rights are, how to stand up for them and how to stand up for the rights of others. Many children go on to become impressive advocates and leaders, like Priscilla. 

12-year-old Priscillia (pictured below) fled from her home in the Central African Republic and now lives in a refugee camp in the Democratic Republic of Congo (classed as among the most fragile places in the world). Within the camp, this pre-teen has taken on a role as a ‘sensitiser’ – an advocate, talking with her peers and community about important issues. Here, she explains how her task has the potential to save her friends’ and neighbours’ lives.

Teenage girl from DRC stands in a field by a refugee camp in South Sudan, holding a megaphone

“Before coronavirus, I was a sensitiser against sexual and gender-based violence. A World Vision team visited our camp and they trained me. With this knowledge, I began to help my friends avoid risky situations that could ruin their present lives and affect their future.

I liked to remind them that their future was in their hands. It makes me sad to see girls my age leaving school because they got pregnant after being raped. It revolts me and gives me the courage to talk about child protection in the camp, to stand up for children's rights and make a difference.

Now coronavirus is stealing our childhood. My family and I became worried when it was described as a disease that kills rich and poor alike, across all continents without distinction of race, social class or age. Our life is no longer the same. Our childhood is suffocated because schools and churches are closed.

As part of the fight against coronavirus disease, World Vision has made us aware of the various prevention measures. I shared the message with my friends in the camp and asked my family to respect the rules of hygiene and social distancing to limit the spread."

I thank World Vision for training me. I am very proud when I see people change their behaviour based on my advice.


12, DRC

Empowering a child like Priscilla can transform not only her life, but the lives of countless around her. 

Centring children's voices in all we do

Accountability and empowerment are central to everything we do. We specifically make sure that children's voices are heard in our work, promoted and supported in their communities and that we're constantly working to improve based on their feedback. You can read our Annual Report detailing this work, and hear from children around the world in one of our many publications on the subject.

Centring children's voices is also about celebrating them! Every 20th November, World Vision offices around the world celebrate World Children's Day with local communities, promoting international togetherness, advocating to improve children's welfare and championing and raising children's voices.

Click below to find out more about our work in these areas.

We believe a world where all children's rights are respected is possible

With your support, we can be powerful advocates for girls' and boys' welfare. Together, we can amplify and support the voices of children to hold authorities to account and campaign for change. Sign up to emails for news from around the world, urgent requests to call for change, and other ways you can care for children.

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