Did you know that children have rights? This means they are protected by special laws because they are vulnerable (not able to look after themselves).Every country has Child Rights laws.  Here is an example of South African Constitution’s Bill of Rights (Section 28) says that you have the right:

  • be given a name when you are born;
  • to be looked after and become part of a family;
  • not to have to work whilst you are small as this could make you tired and sick (this includes being made to beg on the side of the road);
  • to go to school and learn;
  • not to be put in jail with adults – even if you have done something very bad and the police need to arrest you;
  • to have shelter (somewhere dry and comfortable to sleep);
  • to be able to see a doctor and get medicine if you are sick;
  • to have food to eat so that you aren’t hungry;
  • to live – nobody is allowed to kill you and if they do, they must be punished;
  • to be protected from neglect, abuse or degradation – nobody should hit you or hurt you in any way;
  • to privacy – if you want to be left alone or keep some things to yourself;
  • to think and say what you want. But this does not mean that you can say horrible things about other people!

Having these rights means that if they are not respected, it is against the law. But remember, other people have the same rights and you also need to respect other people’s rights.

Children also have responsibilities:

  • to respect other people, no matter what age, race or religion they are;
  • to go to school and learn;
  • to respect the law – that means you mustn’t steal, cheat, vandalise other people’s property or take drugs. And you are not allowed to drink or smoke until you are 18 years old;
  • not to litter, waste food or water;
  • to take responsibility for your actions.


Know your rights

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