Child Rights - UNCRC

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) was adopted in UN General Assembly on 20th November 1989 and acceded by Government of India on 11th December 1992.

The four core principles of the Convention are

  • Non-discrimination (art.2);
  • Devotion to the best interests of the child (art.3);
  • The right to life, survival and development (art.6);
  • Respect for the views of the child (art.12).

The Convention contains:

  • 1. Preamble
  • It states the main sources and principles for agreements to follow in the convention.

  • 2. Part I
  • It contains 41 articles (Article 1 to Article 41) to define responsibilities of the state parties towards the rights of the child. The implied rights of the child are as follows:

  • 1. Definition of a child
  • All people under the age of 18, unless by law, majority is attained at an earlier age.

  • 2. Non-discrimination
  • All rights apply to all children without exception, and the State is obliged to protect children from any form of discrimination. The State must not violate any right and must take positive action to promote all rights.

  • 3. Best interests of the child
  • All actions concerning the child should take full account of his or her best interests. The State is to provide adequate care when parents or others responsible fail to do so.

  • 4. Implementation of rights
  • The state is obliged to translate the rights in UNCRC into reality.

  • 5. Parental guidance and the child's evolving capacities
  • The State has a duty to respect the rights and responsibilities of parents or the extended family to provide appropriate direction and guidance to children in the exercise of their rights.

  • 6. Survival and development
  • The child has an inherent right to life, and the state must ensure the maximum survival and development of the child.

  • 7. Name and nationality
  • Every child has the right to have a name from birth and to be granted a nationality.

  • 8. Preservation of identity
  • The State is obliged to protect and, if necessary, re-establish the basics of a child's identity (name, nationality and family ties).

  • 9. Separation from parents
  • Children have the right to live with their parents unless this is incompatible with their best interests; to maintain contact with both parents if separated from one or both; and the right to be informed by the State of the whereabouts of their parents if such separation is the result of action by the State.

  •  
  • 10. Family re-unification
  • Children and their parents have the right to leave any country and to enter their own in order to be reunited or to maintain the child/ parent relationship.

  • 11. Illicit transfer and non-return
  • The State is obliged to try to prevent and remedy the kidnapping or retention of children in another country by a parent or third party.

  • 12. The child's opinion
  • The child has the right to express an opinion and to have that opinion taken into account in any matter or procedure affecting the child.

  • 13. Freedom of expression
  • Children have the right to obtain and make known information and to express their views, unless this would violate the rights of others.

  • 14. Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
  • The child has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, subject to appropriate parental guidance and national law.

  • 15. Freedom of association
  • The child has the right to meet with others and to join or set up associations, unless doing so violates the rights of others.

  • 16. Protection of privacy
  • Children have the right to protection from interference with their privacy, family, home and correspondence and from libel/ slander.

  • 17. Access to appropriate information
  • The media has a duty to disseminate information to children that is of social, moral, educational and cultural benefit to them, and which respects their cultural background. The State is to take measures to encourage the publication of material of value to children and to protect children from harmful material.

  • 18. Parental responsibilities
  • Both parents jointly have primary responsibility for bringing up their children and the State should support them in the task.

  • 19. Protection from abuse and neglect
  • The State is obliged to protect children from all forms of physical or mental violence perpetrated by parents or others responsible for their care, and to undertake preventative and treatment programmes in this regard.

  • 20. Protection of children without families
  • The State is obliged to provide special protection for children deprived of their family environment and to ensure that appropriate alternative family care or institutional placement is made available to them, taking into account the child's cultural background.

  • 21. Adoption
  • In countries where adoption is recognized and/ or allowed, it shall only be carried out in the best interests of the child, with all necessary safeguards for a given child and authorization by the competent authorities.

  • 22. Refugee children
  • Special protection is to be granted to children who are refugees or seeking refugee status and the State is obliged to cooperate with competent organizations providing such protection and assistance.

  •  
  • 23. Disabled children
  • Disabled children have the right to special care, education and training, designed to help them to achieve greatest possible self- reliance and participation to lead a full and active life.

  • 24. Health and health services
  • The child has the right to the highest level of health and access to health and medical services, with special emphasis on primary and preventive health care, public health education and the reduction of infant mortality. The State is obliged to work towards the abolition of harmful traditional practices. Emphasis is laid on the need for international cooperation to ensure this right.

  • 25. Periodic review of placement
  • A child placed by the State for reasons of care, protection or treatment, has the right to have all aspects of that placement evaluated regularly.

  • 26. Social security
  • Children have the right to benefit from social security.

  • 27. Standard of living
  • Children have the right to benefit from an adequate standard of living. It is the primary responsibility of parents to provide this and the State's duty to ensure that parents are able to fulfill that responsibility. The State may provide material support in case of need, and may seek to ensure recovery of child maintenance costs from absent parents or guardians.

  • 28. Education
  • The child has the right to education and the State has a duty to ensure that primary education, at least, is made free and compulsory. Administration of school discipline is to reflect the child's human dignity. Emphasis is laid on the need for international co-operation to ensure this right.

  • 29. Aims of education
  • The State must recognise that education should be directed at developing the child's personality and talents, preparing the child for active life as an adult, fostering respect for basic human rights and developing respect for the child's own cultural and national values and those of others.

  • 30. Children of minorities or indigenous people
  • Children of minority communities and indigenous people have the right to enjoy their own culture and to practice their own religion and language.

  • 31. Leisure, recreation, and cultural activities
  • Children have the right to leisure, play and participation in cultural and artistic activities.

  • 32. Child labour
  • The State is obliged to protect children from engaging in work that constitutes a threat to their health, education or development, to set minimum ages for employment, and to regulate conditions of employment.

  • 33. Drug abuse
  • The child has the right to protection from the use of narcotic and psychotropic drugs and from being involved in their production or distribution.

  • 34. Sexual exploitation
  • The child has the right to protection from sexual exploitation and abuse, including prostitution and involvement in pornography.

  • 35. Sale, trafficking and abduction
  • The State is obliged to make every effort to prevent the sale, trafficking and abduction of children.

  • 36. Other forms of exploitation
  • The child has the right to protection from all other forms of exploitation not covered in Articles 32, 33, 34 and 35.

  • 37. Torture and deprivation of liberty
  • The prohibition of torture, cruel treatment or punishment, capital punishment and life imprisonment. Arrest and any form of restriction of liberty must be used only as a last resort and for the shortest appropriate time. Children have the right to appropriate treatment, separation from detained adults, contact with their family and access to legal and other assistance.

  • 38. Armed conflicts
  • States are obliged to respect and ensure respect for humanitarian law as it applies to children. No child under 15 years of age should take a direct part in hostilities or be recruited into the armed forces, and all children affected by armed conflict should benefit from protection and care.

  • 39. Rehabilitative care
  • The State is obliged to ensure that children damaged by armed conflict, torture, neglect, maltreatment or exploitation receive appropriate treatment for their recovery and social reintegration.

  • 40. Administration of juvenile justice
  • Children alleged or recognized as having committed an offence have the right to respect for their human rights and, in particular, to benefit from all aspects of the due process of law, including legal or other assistance in preparing and presenting their defence. Recourse to judicial proceedings and institutional placements should be avoided wherever possible and appropriate.

  • 41. Respect for existing standards
  • If any standards set by international law or other applicable international instruments are higher than those of this Convention, it is the higher standard that applies.

    3. Part II

    It contains 4 articles (Article 42 to Article 45) to require the state parties to establish a Committee on the Rights of the Child for monitoring and coordinating the work required by the Convention in each state party.

    4. Part III

    It contains 9 articles (Article 46 to Article 54) to define the procedures and instruments for state parties to have ratifications on the Convention.