1.4 The ‘3 Ps’

To help understand the UN Convention more easily, it is often divided into what are commonly called the ‘3 Ps’: these are the rights to Provision, Protection and Participation.

The Right to Provision

These are the rights to services, skills and resources: the ‘inputs’ that are necessary to ensure children's survival and development to their full potential; for example:

  • health care (Article 24)
  • education (Article 28)
  • the right to play (Article 31).

The Right to Protection

These are the rights that ensure children are protected from acts of exploitation or abuse, in the main by adults or institutions, that threaten their dignity, their survival or their development; for example:

  • protection from abuse and neglect (Article 19)
  • the regulation of child labour (Article 32)
  • protection and care in the best interests of the child (Article 3).

The Right to Participation

These are the rights that provide children with the means by which they can engage in those processes of change that will bring about the realisation of their rights, and prepare them for an active part in society. They include, for example:

  • the right to express their views and to be heard in legal proceedings (Article 12)
  • freedom of expression and the right to information (Article 13).

Activity 1.2: The 3 Ps

Look through the summary of the UN Convention, which you will find in the resources section of this website. Find two examples of a child’s right for each of the 3 Ps, other than the ones listed below.

ProvisionFor example: Health care24

ProtectionFor example: Protection from abuse and neglect19

ParticipationFor example: Right to information13



Compare your answer with the one given at the end of the study session.

Activity 1.3: Health workers and a child’s rights

Look again at the list of Articles in the UN Convention. Identify three that you think are particularly important to the role of health workers, other than the right to health. Why are these Articles relevant?

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There are some very obvious rights that are relevant to the role of the health worker. Article 24, the right to the best possible health, is immediately relevant, as is Article 6, the right to life and development. However, there are other rights that are also very important:

Perhaps you noted in Article 7 that children ‘shall be registered immediately after birth’. Health workers can play an important part in informing mothers about a child’s right to birth registration, and why it is necessary. Birth registration ensures the identity of the child, which may be needed to get a place in school, to access health care or to get a passport. Registration is also important for governments: it gives them information about every child born so that they can plan services properly, taking into account accurate information on the size of the population.

Article 12 is also relevant as it says:

the child who is capable of forming his or her own views has the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

This is clearly very important when you are discussing and considering health treatments. Children need to be involved in those matters and to be helped to make decisions about their own health care.

You may have thought Article 31 concerning engaging in play was not directly relevant to you. However, if we recognise play as important in children’s lives, we need to think about how a hospital or a clinic could provide a simple play area for children who have to stay there.

You may have identified lots of other examples, such as the rights of children with disabilities, the rights of children to protection from violence, the rights of children to have their best interests as a primary consideration. Many of these rights are relevant to all areas of a health worker’s role, not just the right to health, and they can help you to view all the different aspects of a child's life. You will learn more about the specific rights that are relevant for health workers in the next study session.

1.3 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

1.5 The interconnected and indivisible nature of rights