Knowing your rights

Knowing your Rights

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

Do you know?

  • Knowing what children’s rights are is an essential first step in making sure that children’s rights are respected, protected and made real. That’s why the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has an article, which says that children’s rights under the Convention need to be made widely known to adults and children alike.
  • The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child is a group of experts on children’s rights. This Committee examines what countries, including Ireland, are doing to respect, protect and realise children’s rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In 2016, the UN Committee recommended that Ireland should promote awareness of the Convention as widely as possible, in particular among children who are in vulnerable situations. The Committee also recommended that Ireland should do more to ensure that professionals working with or for children receive education and training in relation to children’s rights.
  • Under a law called the Ombudsman for Children Act 2002, one of the things that the Ombudsman for Children’s Office is obliged to do is raise awareness of children’s rights, including among children and young people and including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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.