History of Child Rights

Children’s Rights

Long and ever evolving is the History of Child Rights. This Children’s Week, we explore this history. 

The need for change

Children, like adults, have basic human rights. However, prior to the early twenty-first century, there were no legal safeguards to protect them. Children often worked alongside adults in dangerous, unsanitary and unethical conditions.

Child Rights were ignored in slavery practices. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Greater awareness of this injustice, along with growing understanding of the vulnerability and developmental needs of children, led to the start of many policies and treaties – paving the way for better child protections around the world and in Australia.


Child rights have evolved throughout the years. Here are some key events in the History of Child Rights.


Following World War One, The League of Nations convened to adopt the Declaration on the Rights of the Child in response to the need for peace and justice in a world recently torn apart by war. It prescribes all people give special attention to the needs of children.


Years later, The United Nations General Assembly announce the Declaration of the Rights of the Child  and in the same year, declare International Children’s Day to promote justice and awareness of global Child Rights.


Back home, Meerilinga convened the first Children’s Week in Australia. It has since proudly contributed to furthering WA’s understanding of the Rights of the Children.


This year marked an important milestone on the path to greater child protections. As a result, the Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted by the UN General Assembly. This famous decision recognised the rights of children in the social, economic, political, cultural and civic spheres of society. Consequently, it set minimum international standard of protection for children.


Australia takes on the Convention on the Rights of the Child to ensure the safety, health and happiness of all children.

Meerilinga Children’s Week 2019

Today, Meerilinga once again celebrate the Rights of the Child with a special focus on Health, Safety and Happiness in early childhood education. Join us this Children’s Week as we continue to promote the well being of young children in Western Australia and beyond!