Rights Denied | UNICEF


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 children’s well-being and access to the services they need to survive and thrive.

Yet racism and discrimination against children based on their nationality, ethnicity, language, religion and other grounds are commonplace in countries around the world. Systemic and institutional racism and discrimination prevent children from accessing their rights and put them at risk of deprivation for life.

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 offers a wide range of examples from a diverse range of countries to show how children from minority or marginalized backgrounds are still left to fend for themselves.

This report includes case studies on how children fight discrimination, data on inequities for a range of critical services including education, birth registration, water and sanitation and immunization, evidence on how discrimination affects children, and the results of a U report on discrimination with responses of more than 400,000 young people.

The hope, vision and commitment of world leaders led to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has upheld children’s rights for more than 30 years. On 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 to work for a world without discrimination, for every child.

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