The substantive articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child are contained within Articles 1 to 41.
These articles can generally be divided into different sub-categories:
Civil and Political Rights – these cover the freedom to form opinions and participate in decision-making and legal proceedings (article 12), freedom of expression (article 13), freedom of association (article 15), freedom of opinion, religion and conscience (article 14), freedom of access to information.
Economic Rights – Article 4 states in general terms that states parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative and other measures regarding economic, social and cultural rights. More specifically this involves, among other things, the right to be protected from exploitation (articles 32 and 36).
Social Rights – Again article 4. This heading also covers the right to education (articles 28 and 29), health care (article 24) and social security (article 26).
Cultural Rights – in addition to article 4, once again in this context we need to mention article 31, recognizing the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and to participate fully in cultural and artistic life.
While it is common for rights to be discussed in relation to such categories, it is also important to remember that all of the rights are interdependent and all of the obligations are binding upon the states.
The Convention can also be divided into what is commonly called the "three Ps", they are the rights to Provision, Protection and Participation.
- Rights to Provision: these are the rights to the resources, the skills, services; the "inputs" that are necessary to ensure children's survival and development to their full potential (e.g healthcare in Article 24).
- Rights to Protection: these are the rights that ensure children are protected from acts of exploitation or abuse, in the main by adults or institutions that threaten their dignity, their survival and development (eg protection and care in the best interests of the child in Article 3).
- Rights to Participation: these are the rights that provide children with the means by which they can engage in those processes of change that will bring about the realisation of their rights, and prepare them for an active part in society and change (eg the right express views and to be heard in legal proceedings in Article 12).
Grouping rights in this way helps us to understand the indivisibility of the rights and how the different rights interrelate with one another. For example:
- To be able to participate fully in society you need to possess an adequate standard of living and not be the victim of abuse.
- If you feel confident about expressing your opinion you are better able to protect yourself and speak out about the conditions that you live in.
Take a look at our Monitoring Progress section for more information on progress in implementing these rights in Wales.