Rights denied

The impact of discrimination on children



All children everywhere have the right to a full childhood with dignity, respect and worth. The right to a childhood free from discrimination and exclusion is crucial to child well-being and accessing the services needed to survive and thrive.

Yet racism and discrimination against children based on their nationality, ethnicity, language religion and other grounds are rife in countries across the world. Systemic and institutional racism and discrimination prevent children from accessing their rights and puts them at risk of a lifetime of deprivation.

Rights denied: The impact of discrimination on children focuses on discrimination against children based on their ethnicity, language, religion, or nationality along with racial discrimination, based on the United Nations’ definitions and categories of minorities. It provides a wide range of examples from a diverse set of countries to show how children from minority or marginalized backgrounds continue to be left behind.

This report includes case studies on how children are combating discrimination, data on disparities for a range of critical services including education, birth registration, water and sanitation and immunization, evidence on how discrimination affects children, and results of a U-Report on discrimination with responses from over 400,000 young people.

The hope, vision and commitment of world leaders in 1989 led to the Convention on the Rights of the Child that has upheld child rights for over 30 years. This World Children’s Day, UNICEF is calling on governments, international partners, the private sector, and communities around the world to stand up for children everywhere – and commit to building a world free from discrimination, for every child.

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