The United Nations (UN) defines human rights as “the basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled”.
It’s important to recognise your rights as a young person – being aware of them will help you to understand your place in society. The UN uses the Convention on the Rights of the Child as a guide to these rights. This convention is not a law, but it sets out standards which should apply to everyone under the age of 18.
The Government must follow these rights when they make any decisions that affect a young person's life.
Important points from this document:
- every young person has the right to be treated fairly and to live in a safe environment
- parents or guardians should ensure you have the support to enable you to lead a fulfilling life
- every young person has the right to free, primary education
- if you decide to take a weekend job, your employer must ensure that you have been given a safe and hazard-free working environment, minimum wage requirements and acceptable working hours.
An important right is the right to be heard. If you think something that affects you or your family is wrong, you are allowed to voice your concerns and know that you can make a difference.
Local and national support:
Wirral Citizens Advice Bureau is a source of local help - you can call them on 0344 477 2121 or visit them at one of their locations across Wirral.
The website also covers a number of young person’s rights issues: including discrimination, nationality and immigration, personal records, punishment, and religion.
Participation Works is a partnership of a number of agencies and enables organisations to effectively involve children and young people in the development, delivery and evaluation of services that affect their lives.
The leaflets they provide may also be useful:
- your rights to be heard when you are in contact with the police and the courts
- your rights to be heard in school
- your rights to be heard when you are in contact with health services
- your rights to be heard when you are in contact with Children's Services
The Childline website also covers your rights as a young person: including crime, leaving school, work, money, benefits and driving.