Children too have rights...
All human beings have and enjoy basic rights. You are also entitled
to all these rights, but being children, you are especially vulnerable
and so have particular rights that recognize this special need for
protection. What exactly are these rights; are you aware of them?
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), adopted by the
United Nations General Assembly in 1989, is where you will find all
This Convention, which is an internationally accepted document, sets
out the rights that all children have, and comprises the full range of
rights that are necessary for the survival, development and protection
of children in society.
Its non-negotiable standards and obligations provide legal protection
for children against the worst forms of exploitation and support their
rights. It was the first instrument to incorporate the complete range of
international human rights - including civil, cultural, economic,
political and social rights, as well as aspects of humanitarian law.
Its basic premise is that children (those below the age of 18) are
born with fundamental freedoms and the inherent rights of all human
beings. According to this, every child is born with rights; each has the
right to an education, to be free from hunger and want, health and
proper healthcare, the right to a name and nationality, the right to
participate in matters that affect them and to be treated equally and
the right to be protected from harm and child labour.
The Convention has been ratified more quickly and by more governments
than any other human rights instrument. As at December 2005, nearly all
states including Sri Lanka were party to it, except the USA and Somalia.
Although these two countries haven't yet ratified the Convention, they
have signed it, indicating support.
Many governments have taken additional steps, even enacting
legislation, creating mechanisms and putting into place a range of
creative measures to ensure the protection and realisation of the rights
of all children.
In 2000, the United Nations General Assembly adopted two Optional
Protocols to the Convention to increase the protection of children from
involvement in armed conflicts and from sexual exploitation.
UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) is the UN arm dedicated to
protect and contribute to the development of children everywhere. Its
objectives are to give children the best start in life, help them
survive and thrive, ensure children are in school and create a
protective environment for them especially in emergencies.