A child is any human being below the age of eighteen and should be treated as a person not as a sub person. Children’s rights are the rights of children as human rights but they give special attention to the needs, care and protection of the children. Children need to be given their rights as children to do anything that help them develop physically, mentally, and socially. Under the United Nations convention of children’s rights, children rights also include care and nurturing.(Cornell University)
Children’s rights interpretation can be defined in different scopes depending on the social political, cultural and economic perspectives.
Comprehensive children’s rights should include three considerations;
- Provision: Children do not have the energy or resources to provide for themselves and therefore it is the responsibility of their caretakers, that is, parents, guardians, and social workers to provide them with basic needs as well as schooling.
- Protection: Children should be protected from abuse by their care takers since they know little about their rights and they cannot be able to make decisions on their own hence it is important for them to be given protection from abuse of any form regardless of their cultural, social, political and economic background.
- Participation: children’s rights should take into account the rights to participate in the community welfare, listening to their opinion and involve them in decision making of their own needs and rights. Children should be allowed to choose on what they want but not for them to be dictated on what they want.
The convention of children’s rights is affected by various factors that make the rights of children not to be met though they are universal under the human rights and children’s rights of the UN convention. These factors are:
Environmental and Social Factors
The environment can make the rights of children to differ from one place to the other; it is hard to satisfy the children’s rights. In countries of industrial development, the environments are polluted and have influenced the health of infants thus hindering their development. In the USSR for example, the process of industrialization has resulted to uncontrolled pollution that have adversely affected the health of children.
These affects the characteristics of children which differ significantly from other children according to a research conducted by Professor Martin McKee of European public health carried out in Moscow.
The social cultural factors of a community can also determine the rights of the children. In the African traditional setup for example, girls were not supposed to be educated and were taken as assets and thus their rights are not respected. The gender discrimination of children in a society determines the rights of a child.
The social economic status of a family might not allow the parents or the guardians to fully adhere to the children’s rights because some rights such as the right of provision require resources that may not be available to all. These factors therefore affect the provision of children’s basic needs since they are beyond their parents will. (Ammerman, 1990) Parent factors are also prominent in child abuse and in poor families where children are more prone to abuse than in well off families. These are basically determined by the parents. (Judith, 1998)
The political structures of a state also have a greater influence on the child’s rights. The poor political systems that influence the economic power of the citizens drastically affect the provision of children’s rights. This affects the health care for children, education, food and provision of good housing for children. The states are also responsible for the enacting laws that protect children’s rights. They are also responsible for ensuring that the rights are protected.
In war torn countries children’s rights are often abused with girls being raped, children suffer malnutrition, and are denied the right to education for example, in Sudan, Iraq, Somali and Sierra Leon during the period of wars. In Bangladesh, the law prohibits child labor but amazingly 21% of children work in the labor force. Physical abuse is also very high and children exploitation is on the increase despite being contrary to the laws. This is simply because the government does not emphasize on the protection of their rights. (Alhadi, 2000)
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David, A. (2004). Children’s Rights and childhood, (New York: Routledge).
Haldi, A. (2000). Research and Evaluation Division, BRAC Center, (Bangladesh: Mohakhali, Dhaka).
John, T. (2006). Children’s Rights: Policy and Practice, (London: Haworth Press).
Judith, T. (1998). Interpreting Pre- Quaternary Climate from Geologic Records, (Columbia: Columbia University Press).
Kate, D. (1993). Children’s Rights: A Book of Nursery Logic, (Boston: Houghton).
Marie, P. (1999). Sparing the Rod: School Discipline and Children’s Rights, (New York: Trentham Books).
Paul, L. (2001). Towards Liberation of the Child, (New York: Elek).