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Childhood rights

The Convention on the Rights of the Child significantly increases the international standards applicable to children: it introduces the idea of the child as a subject of rights, suggesting a new awareness corcerning the value of childhood.
This section wants to highlight the importance of this document for the protection of children: we will tell the main milestones that led to its origin, in order to get to the complete text with all the articles, together with the additional protocols.

The history of the Fundamental Rights of Men has been marked by struggles and hard battles and, even today, some rights are not respected all over the world.

The acknowledgement about the Rights of Children is a recent success, only in 1948, with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it was stated that:

“…the child, because of his lack of physical and intellectual maturity, needs special protection and care, both before and after his birth…”

Over the years, focus has grown towards the importance of having laws that cloud protect minors. The proposal for a new charter so as to recognise children’s rights was born in 1979 and, for this reason, that year was declared the International Year of the Child.

“Landscape at dawn”
Francesca, 9 years-old
Levata (Mantova)
National drawing competition 2007


And that is how, on November 20, 1989, after ten years of work, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously approved the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Convention is undoubtedly the most important international act in the field of juvenile law. This Act became law of the Italian State on May 27, 1991, which means that our Government must ensure that every child or teenager, whether Italian or foreign, has all the rights listed in the Convention.

In the Convention, a central topic is the international protection of children.
Children must possess all their rights at any time and everywhere.
Article 42 expressly states that all adults and children must have the right to know what their rights are.

Nowdays, almost every country in the world retified the Convention, except for the United States and Somalia.

The United Nations General Assembly, in order to be more effective in countering new and very serious situations of exploitation and abuse of of children, approved in 2000 two Optional Protocols of the Convention (1. Involvement of children in armed conflict; 2. Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography), which have been ratified by Italy on March 11, 2002.

“An unforgettable day” Matteo G. 10 years-old
Policoro (Matera)
National drawing competition 2006.

    • expression (art. 12);
    • search, receive and disclose information (artt. 13,17);
    • thought, of conscience and of religion (art. 14);
    • association (art. 15);
    • participation in cultural and artistic life (art. 31).
    • a family (art. 20,21);
    • special care if disabled (art. 23);
    • an adequate standard of living (artt. 3,27);
    • a safe and healthy life (arts. 6,27);
    • education (art. 28)
    • to express talents and potential (art. 29);
    • respect for language, religion and culture (art. 30);
    • to play and rest (art. 31).
    • special treatment in case of arrest (arts. 37.40);
    • special protection in case of war (art. 39);
    • protection against exploitation, ill-treatment and abuse (arts. 19,32, 34).

“The right to play in the open air”
International Drawing Competition 2008
Kindergarten of  Pinzolo (Trento)
1st prize nursery school
National Drawing Competition 2008
Size: 93 x 92 cm
Technique: Marker
Support: Cardboard

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The convention is the of origin of many works, writings and publications made by people who work for the world of childhood: we decided to give them a voice, collecting the tastements of those who engage with “Diritti a Colori” to promote children’s rights.

Rosaria Zammataro

The 1989 Convention was appointed by prof.  Van Bueren  also as the Convention o the 4 “P” in which this consonant stands for:

  • Participation of children in the decisions concerning their fate;
  • Protection against any discrimination and all forms of abandonment and exploitation;
  • Prevention from physical and moral harm;
  • Provisions of assistance for their basic needs.
Professor Van Bueren

Education is an art, a particularly difficult art.

Education at the crossroads

Jacques Maritain

Those children’s words, their dreams, their thoughts are messages of truth: I entrust them to the inhabitants of the earth, often tired and sick, so that they know how to draw a lesson from it.

Serenade to the world

Romano Battaglia

All adults were children once. But few of them remember it.

The Little Prince

Antoine De Saint-Exupéry

“Happiness is only real if it is shared.”

Into the Wild

Sean Penn

It is hard to do difficult things:
speak to the deaf, show the rose to the blind.
Children, learn to do the difficult things:
Give the blind man the blind, sing for the deaf,
Free slaves who believe they are free.

A Letter to Children

Gianni Rodari

Be polite to all; friendly to many; intimate with a few people; friend with only one person; enemy to none.

Autobiography, 1763

Benjamin Franklin

Only children know what they are looking for.

The Little Prince

Antoine De Saint-Exupéry

A child can always teach an adult three things: to be happy without reason, to be always busy with something, and firmly aspire to what he wants.

The fifth mountain

Paulo Coelho

“Every serious work in social legislation always begins with the protection of children.”



Albert Thomas

(First director of the ILO)

With Mr. Bernard, the lessons were always interesting, for the simple reason that he passionately loved his job… he knew an even more essential thirst for the boy than for the adult, the thirst for discovery. Of course, even in the other classes they taught many things, but a bit like when you feed geese. They presented boys prepackeged food and they exhorted them to swallow it. In Mr. Bernard’s class, for the first time in their lives, instead , they felt they existed and were the object of the highest consideration, they deserved to discover the world…

The First Man

A. Camus

If there is something we want to change in the child, we should first examine it well and see if it is not something that we should better change in ourselves.

Integration of the personality

Carl Gustav Jung

The child is entitled to the greatest respect.

Satire, XIV, 47

Decimus Junius Juvenalis

A child is the most perfect form of human being.


Vladimir Nabokov

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