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Young people's rights

Speaker at the Break the Stereotype conferenceYoung people have rights too.

Human rights are defined by the United Nations (UN) as 'the basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled'.

The freedoms of young people need to be defined on their own terms, and the UN uses the Convention on the Rights of the Child as a guide to these rights.

The 54 articles of this convention apply to all children below the age of 18. 

Some of the most important points are worth summarising:

  • every young person has the right to be treated fairly and to live in a safe environment
  • parents or guardians should ensure you have the support to enable you to lead a fulfilling life
  • every young person has the right to free, primary education
  • if you decide to take a weekend job, your employer must ensure that you have been given a safe and hazard-free working environment, minimum wage requirements and acceptable working hours.

Although this convention is not a law, it sets out standards which should apply to everyone under the age of 18.

The government must follow these rights when they make any decisions that affect a young person's life.

View a full summary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child.

For further information about young people's rights, see: