Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Why children’s rights are central to international child health
  1. T Waterston1,
  2. J Goldhagen2
  1. 1Newcastle General Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  2. 2University of Florida, Jacksonville, Florida, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
    Tony Waterston
    Department of Community Paediatrics, Newcastle General Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne NE46BE, UK;a.j.r.waterston{at}


The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child provides a framework for improving children's lives around the world. It covers both individual child health practice and public health and provides a unique and child-centred approach to paediatric problems. The Convention applies to most child health problems and the articles are grouped into protection, provision and participation. Examples of the first are the right to protection from abuse, from economic exploitation and from illicit drugs. We examine one particular problem in each of these categories, specifically child labour, services for children with a disability and violence against children. The role of the paedialrician in applying a children's rights approach is discussed. Children’s rights are increasingly being accepted around the world but still there is much more rhetoric paid to their value than genuine enforcement. Paediatricians can make a difference to the status of children worldwide by adopting a rights-based approach.

  • CRC, Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • Unicef, United Nations (International) Children’s (Emergency) Fund

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • i Act Now! Some highlights from children’s participation in the regional consultations for the UN Secretary General’s Study on Violence against Children. Save the Children 2005.

  • Competing interests: None declared.

  • Representing the Equity Project of the RCPCH and American Academy of Pediatrics

Linked Articles