In 1989, governments worldwide promised all children the same rights by adopting the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. These rights are based on what a child needs to survive, grow, participate and fulfil their potential. They apply equally to every child, regardless of who they are, or where they are from.
Every day these rights are denied. Millions of children are dying from preventable diseases. Millions more don’t go to school, or have food, shelter and clean water. Children are subjected to violence, abuse and discrimination, and go unheard. This is wrong.
Working for children
UNICEF works with families, communities and governments in more than 190 countries to put it right. We protect and promote the rights of all children to an education, to be healthy, to a childhood, to be treated fairly and to be heard. UNICEF has more than 60 years' experience working for children. We are the only organisation specifically named in the Convention on the Rights of the Child as a source of expert assistance and advice.
Our staff and partners on the ground distribute lifesaving supplies such as water kits and mosquito nets, and provide support and training for parents, professionals and community volunteers. We create opportunities for young people to participate and make their voices heard. We use our influence at the highest levels of government to ensure that laws and policies work in the best interests of children.
Reaching every child
Today, more children than ever before are immunised against killer diseases and growing numbers are enrolled in school. However, we must do more to reach the most remote and marginalised to ensure that every child has the best possible start in life. Fulfilling the rights of every child means ensuring that neither HIV and AIDS, global recession, nor the growing threat of climate change reverse the progress we have already made for children.