What is The Convention on the Rights of the Child?
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC) is an international human rights agreement. Since its adoption in 1989 by 196 signatory parties, it has been widely accepted as the defining standard and principle for the treatment of children around the world.
The agreement sets out a promise that all children be treated with the utmost dignity and respect. It falls under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which are the rights and freedoms everyone should be afforded, regardless of “race, color, sex language, religion, political or other opinions, national or social origin, property, birth or other status”. Under these rights, a child’s life is especially sacred and should be entitled to special care and assistance. Children should be protected and have the ability to grow up in a safe, happy, and loving home environment.
Within the UNCROC, and with respect to different cultural practices, there are four child’s rights everyone must know.
- The Right to Life: Once born, all children have the right to life. This means having all the necessary requirements to survive and thrive, including clean water, food, and shelter. It is up to caregivers to provide children with a loving, supportive and safe environment without risk of separation. The role of the government is to supply essentials such as healthcare, education, and opportunities for their future.
- The Right to Development: Every child has the right to education and development. This starts from an early age with childhood learning and guidance from caregivers. Children with special needs must receive the necessary resources so they may actively participate. Additionally, all children have the right to learn and gain skills that will open opportunities to reach their goals.
- The Right to Protection: Children must be protected from all forms of violence – be that domestic, physical, or psychological intimidation. At the government level, this means having laws that protect children from child labor, trafficking, sexual abuse, and all forms of exploitation. Governments must also protect them from duties that impede their right to education. Moreover, children are to be protected during times of warfare, and in the legal system. And if children get separated from their families they must be cared for and protected, no matter their background or political affiliations.
- The Right to Participation: With youth comes change and progress. Therefore, it is up to governments and caregivers to facilitate young people’s participation in society. This includes supporting them as they grow into young adults so they can reach their full potential.
Consider the enormous cost of neglecting any one of these principles. Adhering to them should be a necessity, not just an idea. You can view the full rights here.
Why are These 4 Principles Important?
Children are often left out when we think of human rights. Not every child gets to enjoy the same rights as others. However, what is important about the UNCROC is that it outlines rights for all children, not just a few. They are people too (just smaller versions), and therefore should be treated equally and with as much dignity as any other.
Fostering a healthy childhood helps families, communities, and nations prosper. While childhood should come without any expectations on behalf of their parents or caregivers, part of childhood is getting them ready for adulthood. Therefore, it is vital we uphold their rights so they can become healthy, productive adults that positively contribute to society.
How Do They Help Children Around the World?
Children are vulnerable members of society. They are more likely to suffer when exposed to malnutrition, poverty, unsafe water, poor living conditions, domestic violence, and inadequate health care. Rights are there to protect all children, helping to ensure they lead full and happy lives.
Protecting a child’s rights helps create a safer world. For example, many cases of child abuse go unreported, but when a child is aware of their rights, they are more likely to speak out against injustices.
How Can We Promote Child’s Rights?
All children deserve a life surrounded by caring family members, a supportive community, and a government that enacts laws to protect them. We can promote the rights of the child through our awareness, and by standing up and supporting children.
You can also donate to organizations such as CFG which are dedicated to empowering children to reach their full potential.
– Kristen Rive-Thomson
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