1.5 The interconnected and indivisible nature of rights

Children’s rights are interconnected and indivisible. This may sound complicated but it means that they are all linked together and all equally important. Together they create a complete framework of rights that, if fully respected, would promote the health, welfare, development and active participation of all children.

To give two examples of this:

  1. It is not possible to tackle violence and sexual exploitation against children without also addressing the violation or neglect of rights that expose children to:
    • violence
    • poverty
    • lack of access to education
    • discrimination
    • racism
    • prejudice
    • failure to listen directly to and take seriously what children say about their lives.
  2. Children’s right to optimum health and development cannot be fulfilled without a commitment to address their rights to:
    • an adequate standard of living
    • decent housing
    • protection from economic exploitation
    • protection from exposure to harmful work
    • information to help them make informed choices
    • information to help them protect themselves.

The fulfilment of all rights is essential for children’s optimum health and development. There is often a tendency to view physical needs as having priority. Clearly, at one level it is true that without food children will die. However, it is also true that without education or play, children’s potential cannot be realised. And without respect and freedom from discrimination, their psychological and emotional well-being will be impaired. Children’s rights are mutually interdependent: none takes precedence over another.

1.6 Duties and responsibilities