Discrimination means that a child is being treated different than others because of his or his parent’s/legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, nationality, ethnicity, disability, birth or other status. If a child is discriminated then all his other rights are also under serious threat. Imagine that you go to school and your colleagues laugh at you because of your religion; this means that you will not enjoy going to school anymore so your right to education is also being violated. It can also happen that children stare at you or approach on the street because of, for example, your ethnicity, and in this way your right to privacy is being violated. Therefore, not only that you are treated in a different manner but you also cannot enjoy other rights because of this situation.
What is the problem with discrimination?Discrimination can result in anxiety, depression or guilt. It can also lead to loss of interest or eating disorders. Children with special educational needs (SEN) are twice as likely to be bullied regularly than children with no SEN . Stigma and discrimination can become internalized in people with a learning disability resulting in ‘self-stigma’. This is associated with higher levels of psychological distress and lower quality of life.
Why is discrimination important for children?Discrimination can seriously affect a child for life. Being treated in a different manner compared to others, without justification, can impact a child’s emotions and mental health which can then even lead to physical health problems. Non-discrimination is a particularly important right because discrimination can impact all the other rights a child has under the UN CRC and put under serious threat his normal and healthy development. The prohibition of non-discrimination is therefore essential for children to enjoy all their other rights written down in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
What can you do?