November 2019 is the 30th anniversary of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child. According to UNICEF, it is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history, in which world leaders “made a promise to every child to protect and fulfil their rights, by adopting [this] international legal framework.”

Here are some of the Convention’s highlights, along with some photos of children in Compassion’s program around the world!

Article 6: Every child has the inherent right to life.

A group of Sri Lankan mothers with their babies.

These moms and babies are part of a Survival program in Sri Lanka. Each year, Compassion’s Survival program ensures that thousands of babies beat the odds and make it past their first birthday—and beyond.

Article 7: The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name [and] the right to acquire a nationality.

Maria Belen holds up her identity card.

María Belén’s parents weren’t able to register her when she was born. Today, with the help of the director of her Compassion centre, she has an official identity.

Article 13: The child shall have the right to freedom of expression.

A child painting.

Hector expresses himself through his paintings. For children living in poverty, artistic expression can help them find hope and healing.

Article 19: Protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation.

A young woman teaching a class of young children.

Angelica grew up in an abusive home. Now, she works at a Compassion centre, working to end the cycle of poverty and abuse in her community.

Article 23: A mentally or physically disabled child should enjoy a full and decent life.

A portrait of Karunia in a red skirt and white shirt.

“When my friends mocked me because I don’t have normal fingers, my mom taught me to say back to them that this is what Jesus gave me.” – Karunia, a Compassion child in Indonesia who was born with Apert syndrome

Article 24: The right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health.

A doctor examines a child, taking her blood pressure.

A huge part of Compassion’s child development program is ensuring that children know how to stay healthy and have access to medical care!

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Article 27: The right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.

A mother stands in the door of her home, watching her two young children jump.

Berekey watches her children play in front of their new and safe home—provided by Compassion after the family’s former home collapsed.

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Article 28: The right of the child to education.

A young man writes on a green chalkboard.

Another significant part of Compassion’s child development program is ensuring that children are equipped and supported in pursuing an education and achieving their dreams!

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Article 30: A child belonging to such a minority or who is indigenous shall not be denied the right, to enjoy his or her own culture, to profess and practise his or her own religion, or to use his or her own language.

A portrait of a group of children in traditional Shawi clothing.

These children are part of the Shawi tribe in Peru. The Shawi people are working hard to pass their culture and language to the next generation, despite experiencing severe discrimination.

Article 31: The right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities.

Children playing on a playground in Togo.

Article 32: The right of the child to be protected from … performing any work that is likely to be hazardous … [or] harmful to the child.

A child draped in fishing net.

Ebenezer was trafficked and forced into slavery on Ghana’s infamous Lake Volta. He was later rescued when his grandmother reached out to the local Compassion centre for help.

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Quotes from the Convention on the Rights of the Child are taken from

Alyssa Esparaz

Alyssa Esparaz

Alyssa is Compassion Canada's Manager of Content and Public Relations, telling stories that inspire and equip compassionate people to take action on behalf of children in poverty. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto, where she studied International Development, and a current Master of Communications Management student at McMaster University.