NAPCAN's work is underpinned by its commitment to the Rights of the Child.
Human rights are children's rights too. International human rights instruments recognise that children as well as adults have basic human rights.
Children also have the right to special protection because of their vulnerability to exploitation and abuse.
In November 1989 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (the CRC). The CRC is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world. (Only two countries have not signed the CRC; the United States of America and Somalia).
Australia ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in December 1990, but it has not yet been incorporated into Australian law.
The CRC incorporates the whole spectrum of human rights - civil, political, economic, social and cultural - and sets out the specific ways these rights should be ensured for children and young people. The CRC recognises that the degree to which children can exercise these rights independently is influenced by their evolving maturity. It also emphasises the rights and responsibilities of parents where applicable.
Some of the core principles in the CRC are:
• the right to survival and development;
• respect for the best interests of the child as a primary consideration;
• the right of all children to express their views freely on all matters affecting them; and
• the right of all children to enjoy all the rights of the CRC without discrimination of any kind.
Article 19 of the treaty protects children from all forms of violence. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child published a General Comment on what article 19 means in February 2011.