Children’s rights in Australia: a scorecard

Human rights Children's rights Australia

2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC), the most complete statement of children’s rights ever produced. The CRC sets out all the basic rights that children need to do well: like having a home and a family, getting a good education, being able to access quality health care, being safe from harm, and having a voice. It covers all aspects of a child’s life, and makes clear that every child has rights, irrespective of their circumstances, and that as a society we must work together to make sure all children can enjoy them.

Australia ratified this treaty in 1990, meaning that Australia has agreed to take action to make sure all children in Australia can enjoy their rights.

In September 2019, Australia appeared before the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (the Committee) to answer questions about how it is working to advance the rights of children in Australia. The Committee provided Australia with a range of recommendations, called Concluding Observations, to improve its performance in relation to children’s rights. The Concluding Observations (2019) called for urgent measures to be taken in order to protect children:

  • from violence
  • in alternative care
  • in relation to mental health
  • from environmental damage and climate change
  • who are refugees, seeking asylum and in situations of migration, and
  • in the administration of justice.

A summary of the observations made by the Committee on the Rights of the Child is included in the appendix.

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