Children rights refer to the rights of children and young people. These include rights to survival, development and protection. They include the right to education, health care and safe drinking water. They also include the right to play and sport, and opportunities for creativity and recreation. Children also have the right to protection from violence and exploitation, especially sexual abuse. Children are entitled to special attention and support if they are handicapped or orphaned.
A key principle of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is that children are equal to adults in terms of human rights. This doesn’t mean that children have the same rights as adults, but that they are equally important and should be treated fairly. It also means that the opinions of children should be taken seriously and their developing capacities acknowledged.
In a practical sense, this means that all countries that sign up to the CRC must make sure that they fulfil their obligations. It would mean that all children have access to the rights enshrined in the convention, such as the right to education, the right to healthcare, and the right to freedom from violence and exploitation. In the real world, though, one billion children experience some form of emotional or physical abuse each year and are denied their childhood, and there are still many places where violations of the rights enshrined in this treaty occur regularly.
One of the arguments against giving children equal rights to adults is that this would give them too much power. It would lead to them becoming more demanding and difficult. Children should be protected from abuse, but this shouldn’t lead to them having too much say in how they are treated. This is why the CRC outlines specific duties that should be taken to protect children and their rights.
A second argument is that children are not fully mature human beings and therefore should be treated with a kind of moral status that adult humans do not enjoy. This argument does have a point, but the fact that children are still undergoing a developmental process should be acknowledged when decisions are made that affect them.
The CRC says that “All states parties should, within their abilities and financial capacities, ensure the rights of all children, including those most in need.” This includes taking action to reduce infant mortality rates, illiteracy, malnutrition and poverty. It also urges them to combat devastating emergencies like natural disasters, armed conflict and severe poverty through national plans of action and international cooperation.
It also calls for effective measures to be taken against harmful practices – such as female infanticide, child labour, sale of children and organs, and the exploitation of children – in line with the principle that the rights of the child are superior to the interests of society as a whole.
Janna and many other children are being denied their rights every day, and they need your help to fight for them. Please support them by sharing this article.