Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

Children's Rights and Protection

Development assistance has improved the lives of many children through programs in health, education, nutrition, access to water and sanitation, and family incomes. However, some children continue to be marginalized by armed conflict, natural disasters, sexual exploitation and trafficking, and HIV/AIDS.

Children in the world's poorest countries face many risks. Many also run households, earn income, and have children themselves. They are holders of human rights and are key actors in their own development. They have the greatest potential to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty-given the right tools and the right opportunities.

A girl smiling © ACDI-CIDA/David Barbour
A student in grade 6 at Cesario Fernandes primary school in Cuba uses books printed with Canadian technology. Canada works with children and partner countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education.

The world has made strong commitments to the rights of children through the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Millennium Development Goals, most of which involve the fulfilment of the rights of children.

To help give children and youth safe and secure futures, Canada will work toward:

  • Strengthening and implementing national frameworks to better protect the human rights of children and youth, particularly girls, who are at increased risk of violence, exploitation, and abuse
  • Ensuring that schools are free from violence and abuse and are child-friendly learning environments
  • Supporting efforts for youth at risk to engage as productive members of their societies and to find alternatives to violence and crime

As Canada works with countries to develop the necessary legal frameworks, more children and youth, especially girls, will be protected from violence, exploitation and abuse. They will have more opportunities to participate in and contribute to their communities. Further, schools will provide safe learning environments where students can develop the skills they need to become productive young women and men.