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Declaration of the Rights
of the Child
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Proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 1386(XIV)
of 20 November 1959
Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have, in the Charter,
reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights and in the dignity
and worth of the human person, and have determined to promote social
progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
Whereas the United Nations has, in the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, proclaimed that everyone is entitled to all the rights
and freedoms set forth therein, without distinction of any kind,
such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other
opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status,
Whereas the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity,
needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection,
before as well as after birth,
Whereas the need for such special safeguards has been stated in
the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child of 1924, and recognized
in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the statutes
of specialized agencies and international organizations concerned
with the welfare of children,
Whereas mankind owes to the child the best it has to give,
The General Assembly
Proclaims this Declaration of the Rights of the Child to the end
that he may have a happy childhood and enjoy for his own good and
for the good of society the rights and freedoms herein set forth,
and calls upon parents, upon men and women as individuals, and upon
voluntary organizations, local authorities and national Governments
to recognize these rights and strive for their observance by legislative
and other measures progressively taken in accordance with the following
The child shall enjoy all the rights set forth in this Declaration.
Every child, without any exception whatsoever, shall be entitled
to these rights, without distinction or discrimination on account
of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion,
national or social origin, property, birth or other status, whether
of himself or of his family.
The child shall enjoy special protection, and shall be given opportunities
and facilities, by law and by other means, to enable him to develop
physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy
and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity. In the
enactment of laws for this purpose, the best interests of the child
shall be the paramount consideration.
The child shall be entitled from his birth to a name and a nationality.
The child shall enjoy the benefits of social security. He shall
be entitled to grow and develop in health; to this end, special
care and protection shall be provided both to him and to his mother,
including adequate pre-natal and post-natal care. The child shall
have the right to adequate nutrition, housing, recreation and medical
The child who is physically, mentally or socially handicapped shall
be given the special treatment, education and care required by his
The child, for the full and harmonious development of his personality,
needs love and understanding. He shall, wherever possible, grow
up in the care and under the responsibility of his parents, and,
in any case, in an atmosphere of affection and of moral and material
security; a child of tender years shall not, save in exceptional
circumstances, be separated from his mother. Society and the public
authorities shall have the duty to extend particular care to children
without a family and to those without adequate means of support.
Payment of State and other assistance towards the maintenance of
children of large families is desirable.
The child is entitled to receive education, which shall be free
and compulsory, at least in the elementary stages. He shall be given
an education which will promote his general culture and enable him,
on a basis of equal opportunity, to develop his abilities, his individual
judgement, and his sense of moral and social responsibility, and
to become a useful member of society.
The best interests of the child shall be the guiding principle of
those responsible for his education and guidance; that responsibility
lies in the first place with his parents.
The child shall have full opportunity for play and recreation, which
should be directed to the same purposes as education; society and
the public authorities shall endeavour to promote the enjoyment
of this right.
The child shall in all circumstances be among the first to receive
protection and relief.
The child shall be protected against all forms of neglect, cruelty
and exploitation. He shall not be the subject of traffic, in any
The child shall not be admitted to employment before an appropriate
minimum age; he shall in no case be caused or permitted to engage
in any occupation or employment which would prejudice his health
or education, or interfere with his physical, mental or moral development.
The child shall be protected from practices which may foster racial,
religious and any other form of discrimination. He shall be brought
up in a spirit of understanding, tolerance, friendship among peoples,
peace and universal brotherhood, and in full consciousness that
his energy and talents should be devoted to the service of his fellow