Knowing your rights

The right to know your rights 

Your rights under the UNCRC

UNCRC Article 42: It’s your right to know your rights! Adults should know about these rights too and help you learn about them.

Your rights under Irish law

Under the Citizen Information Act 2007, it’s your right to get information about your rights and entitlements.

You have the right to know your rights! Adults should know about these rights and help you learn about them, too.

 

Do you know?

  • If you don’t know what your rights are, you can’t know if they are being respected, protected and made real. That’s why article 42 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)  says that children’s rights under the Convention need to be made widely known to adults and children alike.
  • Under a law called the Ombudsman for Children Act 2002, one of the things that the Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO) is obliged to do is raise awareness of children’s rights among children and young people, and to let them know about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • In 2016, the OCO asked 2,148 young people how they would like to learn about their rights. The Tune In consultation found that 74 out of 94 groups said they would like to learn about their rights at school or on the internet.  50/94 groups said they would like to see more videos about their rights.
  • UNCRC25 is a year-long programme run by the OCO that hopes to raise awareness of children’s rights. It aims to start conversations about children’s rights, to see how well Ireland has been doing at protecting children’s rights in the last 25 years, and what more can be done.
  • In 2016, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that Ireland should make sure that more children and young people know about the UNCRC, especially children with disabilities, or children seeking asylum. They also said that Ireland should do more to make sure that professionals working with or for children receive education and training about children’s rights.
  • Learning about children’s rights is part of the Irish curriculum. In school you can learn about your rights in Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) in primary school and in Civic Social and Political Education (CSPE) in secondary school.
  • Citizen Information Online has information about your rights and entitlements. The Children’s Rights Alliance and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties have a helpful booklet that explains what your rights are in Ireland.

You have the right to know your rights! Adults should know about these rights and help you learn about them, too.

Hear your right – read by Evanne Kilgallon


As Gaelige

Tá sé de cheart agat a bheith ar an eolas faoi do chearta! Ba chóir go mbeadh daoine fásta in iúl ar na cearta seo agus cuidiú leat foghlaim fúthu.

Éist le do chearta – léite ag Caoimhe Ní Scolaí

 

What children and young people have to say

  • “I think it’s important that young people know their rights because they can be denied very easily your rights and if you know your rights then you can stop them from being denied.” – Jack (14)

    “I think it’s very important that we have rights and that we know them because of that we know when our rights are being met and not and then we can do something about it.” – Wonu (12)

    “It is important for children to know their rights ‘cause if they don’t know they’ll be scared to tell everyone, they’ll be scared to tell their parents, I don’t want that!” – Laura (9)

    “There definitely is a right to know your rights. I mean, people go through life not knowing them. I think you really need to and see if yours, maybe yours are being ignored or something. I think they’re really important.” – Eva (14)

    “I think children should become more aware about their rights as I didn’t really know my rights until I was in secondary school with SPHE and I think we should be more aware from a younger age.” – 16 year old girl

    Very few young people are educated properly about their rights. – 15 year old girl, Kerry

  • The 4th class students of St.Francis of Assisi Primary School, Belmayne, Dublin, visit the Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO) and learn about their rights for the first time.

    Jack, 9, gives his views on the rights of the child while visiting the Ombudsman for Children’s office.

Find out more

  • Visiting the OCO – Find out how you can visit the Ombudsman for Children’s Office with your class to take part in a workshop about children’s rights
  • Express Yourself – Express Yourself! is a project by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission that encourages young people to get involved in promoting human rights and equality in Ireland.
  • Young Social Innovators – Children’s rights are among the issues that young people have worked on through Young Social Innovators.

Explore More – Resource materials for Teachers & Educators

  • UNICEF Australia - ‘What are children’s rights?’ A short animation (03:04 mins) to introduce children to children’s rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • UNICEF - ‘The rights of the child’. Photo essays of children’s rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • EQUITAS - ‘I have the right to …’. An activity to support 9-10 year old children to explore how people need to work collaboratively and collectively to realise human rights. In Play It Fair! Human Rights Education Toolkit for Children (2009), p.12.
  • UNICEF UK - Thinking Rights. What happens when rights seem to conflict? A resource for 11-16 year olds to develop their understanding of the concept of rights and explore how conflicts between rights can be resolved (2009).
  • OHCHR – ‘What is a human right?’ Short animation (01:44 mins) by the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to explain what human rights are.
  • OHCHR– ‘What is a human rights treaty body?’ Short animation (01:22 mins) by the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights explaining what a UN human rights treaty body is.
  • United Nations – ‘History of the United Nations’. Information about the UN, including an audio clip of the preamble to the Charter of the UN Charter.
  • IHREC – Charts that can support work to introduce young people to human rights structures and mechanisms at European level.