The UN Convention of the rights of the child
The Convention of the Rights of the Child is the first international legally binding instrument to include the full range of human rights. Including civil, economic, cultural, social and political rights. World leaders, in 1989 decided that a special convention needed drawing up for the children. Purely because, people under 18 years old, often need special care and protection, whereas adults do not. The leaders wanted the world to realize that children also have human rights too.
The Convention sets out these rights in 54 articles and two Optional Protocols. I??™ve extracted the following articles from UNICEF.
Article 1. Definition of the Child. A ??™child??™ is defined as a person under the age of 18 – unless the country where the child lives set the legal age for adulthood younger.
Article 2. Non-discrimination. All children, whatever their race, religion or abilities, whatever they think or say, whatever type of family they come from, where they live, what language they speak, what their parents do, whether they are boys or girls, what their culture is, if they are rich or poor, whether they have a disability or not – all children are protection by the convention. Under any circumstances, no child should be treated unfairly.
Article 3. Best interests of the child. The main concern in making decisions for the child, should be the best interests of the child. When adults make decisions involving children, they need to think about how the decisions will affect the children. This especially applied to budget, policy and law makers.
Article 4. Protection of rights. Governments have a responsibility to take all measures to ensure that the children??™s rights are respected, protected and fulfilled.
Article 5. Parental guidance. Governments should respect the rights and responsibilities of families to direct and guide their children. So, that as they grow up – they learn to use their rights properly.
Article 6. Survival and development. Governments should ensure that children, both survive and develop healthily.
Article 7. Registration, name, nationality, care. All children have the right to a legally registered name. They also have the right to a nationality. Finally, they have the right to know and, as far as possible, to be cared for by their parents.
Article 8. Preservation of identity. All children have the right to an identity. They have the right to an official record of who they are.
Article 9. Separation from parents. Unless it is bad for the child, he/she have a right to live with their parents.
Article 10. Family reunification. If families who??™s family members live in different countries they have the right to move between these countries so that children and parents can stay in contact – or reunite as a family.
Article 11. Kidnapping. Steps should be taken to stop children being taken out of their own country illegally.
Article 12. Respect for the views of the child. When decisions are being made, parents should involve their children with decision making. Depending on the child??™s age and level of maturity, depends on what decision is being made. Adults are encouraged to let their children freely express their opinions.
Article 13. Freedom of expression. children have the right the find out information and share information, as long as it??™s not damaging to others. The children are given the right to freedom of expression, they also have the responsibility to respect the rights, freedoms and reputations of others.
Article 14. Freedom of thought, conscience and religion. all children have the right to believe and think what they want, and to practise their religion – so long as they aren??™t stopping other people from enjoying their rights. Parents should help guide their children in what they believe in.
Article 15. Freedom of association. All children have the right to join any groups or organizations they would like to join, as long as they aren??™t preventing others from enjoying their rights. In exercising these rights, children have the responsibility to respect the rights, freedoms and reputations of others.
Article 16. Right to privacy. Children have a right to privacy. They should be protected by the law against attacks against their way of life, their good names, their families and their homes.
Article 17. Access to information; mass media. Children have the right to find out information important to their health and well being. Radio, Television, newspaper and internet sources, should be encouraged by the media. To provide information, which children can understand and to not promote any information which could harm children. Children should also have access to children??™s books.
Article 18. Parental responsibilities, state assistance. Both parents share responsibility for bring up their children, and should always consider what is better for the child. The convention doesn??™t take responsibility for the children away from the parents and give more to the government, but that the government should be able to provide support and guidance to parents.
Article 19. Protection from all forms of violence. Children have the right to be protected from being hurt, mistreated – physically or mentally. Governments should ensure that all children are properly cared for and protect them from violence, abuse and neglect by either their parents, or anybody else who takes care of them. The Convention, in terms of discipline doesn??™t state what forms of punishment parents should use. Any form of discipline involving violence however is unacceptable.
Article 20. Children deprived of a family environment. Children who can??™t be cared for by their own family, have a right to special care and must be taken care of properly – by people who respect their ethnic group, religion, culture and language.
Article 21. Adoption. All children have the right to care and protection if they are adopted or in foster care. The main concern is what is best for them. The same rules apply if they are adopted in the country which they were born in, or if they are living in another country.
Article 22. Refugee children. If children are in refugees, they have the right to special care and support.
Article 23. Children with disabilities. Children with any form of disability, have the right to special care and support – so that they can live full and independent lives.
Article 24. Health and Health services. Children have the right to good quality health care – to safe drinking water, nutritious food, a clean and safe environment, and information to help them keep health. The richer countries should help the poorer countries to achieve this.
Article 25. Review of treatment in care. Regular check ups of a child who lives within care of the local authorities, to maintain that the child is receiving the best level of care.
Article 26. Social Security. Children, whether it be through their guardians or whether it be directly – have the right to help from the government if they are in need or poor.
Article 27. Adequate standard of living. All children have the right to a standard of living which is good enough to meet both their mental and physical needs. Families and guardians should be helped by the government if they can??™t afford it – particular with regard to food, clothing and housing.
Article 28. Right to education. Free education should be provided to all children. Wealthy countries should help poorer countries to receive this right. Within school, discipline should respect children??™s dignity. Schools should run in an orderly way, without the use of violence. Young people should be encouraged to reach the highest level of education of which they are capable.
Article 29. Goals of education. A child??™s education should develop each child??™s personality, talents and abilities to their fullest. It should also encourage children to respect others, human rights and their own and other cultures. Also, it should help them to live peacefully, to respect the environment and also to respect other people.
Article 30. Children of minorities/indigenous groups. Minority or indigenous children all have the right to learn about and to practice their own culture, language and religion.
Article 31. Leisure, play and culture. Children have the right to relax, play, and to join in a wide range of cultural, artistic and other recreational activities.
Article 33. Drug abuse. Children should be protected by the government from the use of harmful drugs, or being used in the drug trade.
Article 34. Sexual exploitation. Children should be protected by the government, with regards to sexual exploitation and abuse. The provision in the Convention is augmented by the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
Article 35. Abduction, sale and trafficking. All measure should be taken by the government to protect children from being abducted, sold or trafficked.
Article 36. Other forms of exploitation. Any activity that takes advantage of the children or could harm their welfare and development they should be protected against.
Article 37. Detention and punishment. Children aren??™t allowed to be punished in a cruel or harmful way. If a child breaks the law, they should not be treated cruelly. They should not be imprisoned with adults, should be kept in contact with their families. And finally, should not be given life imprisonment without the possibility of release.
Article 38. War and armed conflicts. Children of war, should be protected by the government. Children under 15, shouldn??™t be forced or recruited to take part in a war, or join the Armed Forces. There is a ban on anybody being recruited under the age of 18.
Article 39. Rehabilitation of child victims. Children who have been abused, neglected or exploited, should receive special help to both physically and psychologically recover and reintegrate back into society. Special attention should be given to restoring the health, self respect and the dignity of the child.
Article 40. Juvenile justice. Children who are accused of breaking the law have the right to legal help, and fair treatment, in a justice system which respects their rights.
Article 41. Respect for superior national standards. If in a country, their laws provide better protection of children??™s rights than the ones listed in this convention – those laws should apply.
Article 42. Knowledge of rights. Governments should make the Convention known to all adults and children. Adults should also make their children aware of their rights.
Article 43- 54. Implementation measures. These articles, discuss how governments and international organizations like UNICEF should work, to ensure children are protected in their rights.