Understanding Children’s Rights
The right to life means that each child must be able to live his or her own life. Children have the right not to be killed. They have the right to survive and to grow up in proper conditions.
The right to education allows each child to receive instruction, to enjoy a social life, and to build his or her own future. This right is essential for economic, social and cultural development.
The right to food is the right of each child to eat. It is the right to not die of hunger and to not suffer from malnutrition. Every five seconds, a child dies of hunger somewhere in the world.
The right to health means that children must be protected against illness. They must be allowed to grow and become healthy adults. This contributes to developing an active society.
The right to water means children have the right to safe drinking water and proper sanitary conditions. The right to water is essential for good health, survival and proper growth.
Each child has the right to have a surname, a firstname, a nationality, and to know who his or her relatives are. The right to identity also means that each child’s existence and rights must be officially recognised.
The right to liberty is the child’s right to express him or herself, to have opinions, to have access to information, and to participate in decisions which affect his or her life. Children also have the right to religious freedom.
The right to protection is the right to live in a secure and protective environment which preserves the child’s well-being. Each child has the right to be protected from all forms of mistreatment, discrimination, and exploitation.
Rights of the Child
The meaning of the child and the rights of the children
Definition of the child
Etymologically, the term “child” comes from the Latin which means ” the one who does not speak “. For the Roman, this term designates the child from its birth, up to the age of 7 years.
This notion evolved a lot through centuries and cultures to finally designate human being from birth until adulthood. But this conception of the child was wide and the age of the majority varied from a culture to an another.
“[…] a child is any human being below the age of eighteen years, unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier”
The idea, through this definition and all the texts concerning child welfare, is that the child is a human being with rights and dignity.
What characterizes the child, it is his youth and vulnerability. Indeed, the child is growing, a future adult, who has no means to protect himself.
So, the child has to be the object of a particular interest and a specific protection. In this perspective, texts proclaiming the protection of the child and his rights were adopted.
Definition of the rights of the child
The recognition of the rights of the children
Children’s rights were recognised after the 1st World war, with the adoption of the in 1924. The process of recognition of children’s rights continued thanks to the UN, with the adoption of thein 1959.
The recognition of the child’s interest and his rights becomes real on 20 November 1989 with the adoption of the which is the first international legally binding text recognizing all the fundamental rights of the child.
Children’s rights: human rights
Children’s rights are human rights. They protect the child as a human being. As human rights, children’s rights are constituted by fundamental guarantees and essential human rights:
§ Children’s rights recognize : the right to life, the non-discrimination principle, the right to dignity through the protection of physical and mental integrity (protection against slavery, torture and bad treatments, etc.)
§ Children’s rights are , such as the right to identity, the right to a nationality, etc.
§ Children’s rights are, such as the right to education, the right to a decent standard of living, the right to health, etc.
§ Children’s rights include : lthe right to live with his parents, the right to education, the right to benefit from a protection, etc.
§ Children’s rights include rights of refugee and disabled childrens, of minority children or from autochtonous groups.
Children’s rights: rights adapted to children
Children’s rights are human rights specifically adapted to the child because they take into account his fragility, specificities and age-appropriate needs.
. The children thus have the right to live and to develop suitably physically and intellectually.
Children’s rights plan to satisfy the essential needs for a good development of the child, such as the access to an appropriate alimentation, to necessary care, to education, etc.
. They imply the necessity to protect them. It means to grant a particular assistance to them, and to give a protection adapted to their age and to their degree of maturity.
So, the children have to be helped and supported and must be protected against labour exploitation, kidnapping, and ill-treatment, etc.