Children and their rights

Schoolgirl at a boarding school in Nampo, DPR Korea.

Overall, 61 per cent of respondents said children, like adults, have rights; this is highest in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Philippines and the Republic of Korea and least accepted in Malaysia, Mongolia and Thailand, all below 40 per cent.

Awareness of child's rights is limited with only one respondent out of five claiming to know a lot about the issue. Awareness is higher older age groups, high income groups and urban areas. There are significant regional differences with awareness about rights highest in Australia, Philippines and Viet Nam, and lowest in Lao PDR and Myanmar.

Click below to view the responses to the questions related to this issue:

• Do you think children, like adults, have rights? (total) [view]
• Children, like adults, have rights (by country of 62% of total) [view]
• About children's rights, I know… (total) [view]
• About children's rights, I know… (total by demographics) [view]
• Children's rights: I know a lot… (by country of 20% of total) [view]
• Children's rights: I know just the name/nothing… (by country of 25% of total) [view]

Four rights were mentioned without prompting by at least 20 per cent of respondents: the right to education, the right to express ideas or opinions, the right to play and the right not to be hurt or mistreated. The right to express ideas/opinions was expressed most frequently in Australia, Hong Kong, Macau and Thailand, and least frequently in East Timor, Indonesia, Myanmar and Viet Nam.

Click below to view the responses to the questions related to this issue:

• The specific rights of children which I know are… (total of 6,196) [view]
• The specific rights of children which I know are… (by country of 6,196) [view]

UNICEF/HQ97-0943/ JEREMY HORNER
Two girls harvest rice in Culasian on the island of Leyte, Philippines.

The right to information, to express ideas and opinions and to not be hurt/mistreated had a lower level of prompted (mentioned by the interviewer) awareness. Awareness is significantly higher among older children, in the high income group and in urban areas. It is higher in Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Philippines and Viet Nam in comparison to Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar in which rights awareness in general is low. In Cambodia and Lao PDR, the right to education is the only one known by a majority of respondents and in Myanmar, awareness of all rights is less than 30 per cent.

Click below to view the responses to the questions related to this issue:

• I know a lot about… (total) [view]
• I know a lot about… (by demographics) [view]
• I know a lot about… (by country) [view]

Overall, access to information, the right not to be hurt or mistreated, and the right to express ideas and opinions are perceived as less respected, compared with other rights. In Australia, East Timor, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore, the perception that rights are respected is above average, whereas the perception is below average in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Mongolia, PNG and Myanmar.

Click below to view the responses to the questions related to this issue:

• Those rights are respected in this country… (total) [view]
• Those rights are respected in this country … (by demographics) [view]
• Those rights are respected in this country … (by country) [view]

This information is provided as a contribution to discussion on important issues affecting children. UNICEF Regional offices conducted the polls, analysis and interpretations of the findings. For more information, please contact the regional poll contact person directly.

About the survey
Feelings of well-being and outlook on life
Children and their rights
Information, knowledge and life skills
Threats to the well-being of children
Participation, communication and decision-making
Values, aspirations and expectations