Discrimination is the unequal treatment of different categories of people when this treatment cannot be justified on the basis of objective and reasonable criteria. Children are more vulnerable to discrimination than adults as they are often disadvantaged in terms of social power. Children experience discrimination both as a group and as individuals on various grounds, such as their national, ethnic or social origin, gender, language, religion, disability, sexual orientation or other status.


The European Convention of Human Rights confirms that all individuals have the right to enjoy equal protection of their human rights. Article 14 of the Convention guarantees that the enjoyment of the rights contained therein shall be secured without discrimination on any ground.


Children also enjoy the protection guaranteed in Article 14 of the Convention and thus require special attention if their right to non-discrimination is to be realised. The Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child attributes special attention to the needs of discriminated and marginalised groups of children.