Surely every child on Earth should be loved. That seems obvious. But is that a human right? Many international declarations adopt this view. The 1989 Declaration on the Rights of the Child in Israel, for instance, states that every child has ‘the right to a family life – to nourishment, suitable housing, protection, love and understanding’; the 1979 Declaration of the Rights of Mozambican Children claims that they have ‘the right to grow up in a climate of peace and security, surrounded by love and understanding’; and the 1951 Children’s Charter of Japan asserts that they shall be ‘entitled to be brought up in their own homes with proper love’.
Human rights should protect our fundamental conditions for pursuing a good life. There is strong evidence that all children need to be loved in order to develop and flourish, which means that being loved is one of those fundamental conditions. This suggests that a right to be loved should be up there with rights to other pre-requisites of pursuing a good life such as the right to food, safe drinking water, shelter, health care, education, and the like.