What Are Youth Rights?

Freechild Institute Youth Rights Toolkit

This is an introduction to the specific rights of youth around the world.

Youth rights are the unique, equitable freedoms, responsibilities and opportunities for people not seen as adults or children. They are every basic human right and more. They include:

  • the right to being alive
  • the right to freedom and liberty
  • freedom from slavery and torture
  • freedom of opinion and expression
  • the right to work and use money
  • the right to education and learning
  • the right to healthy minds and bodies
  • freedom from discrimination
  • the right to association
  • plus more

Depending on where they are, youth have other rights too. At schools, youth have the right engage, disengage and re-engage as learners; make decisions about learning, teaching and leadership; express themselves; and more. In healthcare, youth have rights to cost-free care, decision-making and information, and more. In law, youth have the right to be informed, to representation, to freedom from self-incrimination, and more.

Youth have different rights around the world, too. Youth have the right to employment and self-sufficiency in some places; in others, youth have the freedom to cultural preservation, innovation and sustainability; in others still, youth have the right to democratic representation, civic engagement and social change.

Youth everywhere have the right to social justice.

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