Children have a right to health

Diabetes puzzle

If CLAN is going to try and raise international awareness of the plight of children who are living with chronic health conditions in resource-poor countries, it is important for us to ask ourselves some tough questions... "Why should the world care?"... "Does it matter that children are sick and dying of preventable disease and disability?"...

Thankfully, the international community has agreed on some basic concepts relating to human rights, and it is useful to review these in relation to the issues facing children living with chronic health conditions in resource-poor settings. Examples include:

  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) – Article 25 – All persons have the right to health; specifically, children have a right to special care and assistance
  • Article 3  of UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC) – “in all actions concerning children…the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration”
  • Article 6 of UNCROC and Article 6 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) – All children have a “right to life”
  • Article 12 of International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ECOSOC) – everyone has the right to “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health”.  State parties should create “conditions which would assure to all medical service and medical attention”.
  • Article 24(1) and 24(2)(b) of UNCROC – children specifically have the right to good quality health care and the best health care possible.  State parties have a duty “to ensure the provision of necessary medical assistance and health care to all children”.
  • “Access to medicine is a fundamental element in achieving progressively the full realization of the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health” (12th Session of Human Rights Council (HRC) in 2009; ECOSOC Committee and Millennium Development Goal 8)
  • HRC resolution (A/HRC/12/L.23) calls for expert consultation on the “realisation of access to medicine” to achieve right of all to “highest ascertainable standard of physical and mental health”. This is the first step to securing formal recognition of the right to medicine


We all have a role to play in effecting change.

CLAN has been working with partners from around the world to develop a series of Child-Friendly Rights Flyers, that help children and adolescents living with chronic health conditions learn more about their basic human rights to health and life. 

Diabetes Flyers


Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Flyers


Childhood Cancer Flyers


Asthma Flyer


Rheumatic Heart Disease Flyer


Next time you are reading a health policy, specifically look to see if the needs of children are considered fully... Chances are they won't be - what can YOU do to change that?