What are children's rights?
Children's rights concern all children. They are based on the following principles:
- Children may not be discriminated against.
- Adults should do what is best for a child.
- A child has the right to life and development.
- Children’s opinions must be listened to.
Protected by the Convention and laws
Children's rights are protected by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and Finnish laws, including the Child Welfare Act.
For example, the Constitution of Finland says:
"Children shall be treated equally and as individuals and they shall be allowed to influence matters pertaining to themselves to a degree corresponding to their level of development.”
You are a child until you turn 18
Children's rights in short
No-one may be discriminated against.
The child’s best interest should be considered when making all decisions.
The state must support guardians in bringing up children.
Right to the highest possible level of health and to receive treatment when needed.
Right to an identity in official registers.
Right to a family and right to stay in touch with your family if you are happy with them.
Right to say your opinion, as long as it does not violate other people's rights.
Right to freedom of thought and conscience as well as to freedom of religion, taking your age into account.
Right to play and free time and right to privacy.
You have the right to receive information that is suitable for your age.
Right to social security and a sufficient standard of living.
Right to education and good quality teaching.
Right to your own language and culture and right to join an association.
Children must be protected from drugs and alcohol, abuse, trafficking and work that harms their development.
Right to help that supports your recovery if you have been abused.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child explains a child’s human rights
The most important document in the world for children's rights is the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child.
This convention is a human rights agreement that applies to all children under the age of 18. It lists the human rights that belong to children and says that the first responsibility for protecting them belongs to the state.
Almost all countries in the world have joined this convention. The convention entered into force in Finland in 1991.
Parliamentary Ombudsman supervises children’s rights
The Parliamentary Ombudsman, and also the Children's Ombudsman, supervise that children's rights are implemented in Finland.
You can complain to the Ombudsman if your rights have been violated.
The Ombudsman carries out inspections in such institutions as schools, children's homes, youth homes and care institutions for children.