Children’s rights

Norway is at the forefront of international efforts to protect children’s rights and ensure compliance with the UN conventions and other international instruments relating to children.

Norway strongly advocates that children and young people should be heard in matters that affect them. This means that it is important to establish and maintain independent institutions that children can turn to and that speak out for them.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child sets out that all children have fundamental rights relating to survival, participation, development, and protection against discrimination. The Convention has been ratified by almost every country in the world, but a number of countries have made extensive reservations. There has been a positive development in recent years in key areas such as education and survival. However, the fact remains that 25 years after the Convention was adopted, a huge number of children are still living in conditions that are far below the standards set.

The authorities in each country must be held accountable for realising children's rights through legislation and by establishing the necessary institutions. They must ensure that children and young people are protected against violence, abuse, exploitation, and recruitment to armed forces, and they must give priority to safeguarding children’s right to survival, development, health and education when allocating resources. It is important that measures target the poorest and most marginalised children, and that children and young people have the opportunity to participate, to express their opinions and to organise themselves in order to promote their interests and define their needs.

Empowering children and young people is a good investment, as it fosters the development of active citizens who can assert their social, economic and political rights. The Government's intensified efforts to promote education will improve the realisation of children’s rights, such as their opportunity to participate, and will increase children’s awareness of human rights. When children are kept out of school or when schools fail to achieve adequate learning outcomes, this is a fundamental violation of children’s rights with far-reaching social and economic impacts. In order to ensure that our efforts reach all children who are still out of school or not learning enough in school, the Government is giving particular priority to girls, children with disabilities and children in crisis and conflict situations. These groups account for most of those who do not have opportunities for personal development through education.

Norway’s priorities:

  • help to strengthen the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, for example by supporting organisations that promote children’s rights, incorporating the Convention into our national legislation and establishing effective national mechanisms to ensure compliance with the convention, and increasing our support for global education.
  • seek to ensure that children are protected in armed conflict, and combat violence against children;
  • help to ensure that all children have the same opportunity to start and complete school, and that all children and young people learn basic skills and are equipped to tackle adult life through our global education efforts.