Children's Rights: Allow Them To Grow Up Healthy & Free
Updated: Apr 10, 2022
The 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) defines a child as "any human being below the age of eighteen years, unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier." Scholarly study generally focuses children's rights by identifying individual rights. The rights "allow children to grow up healthy and free": Freedom of speech, thought, choice, right to make decisions, ownership over one's body and freedom from fear.
Children's rights are the human rights of children with particular attention to the rights of special protection and care afforded to minors. As minors by law, children do not have autonomy or the right to make decisions on their own for themselves in any known jurisdiction of the world. Instead their adult caregivers, including parents, social workers, teachers, youth workers, and others, are vested with that authority, depending on the circumstances.
Children's rights includes their right to association with both parents, human identity as well as the basic needs for physical protection, food, universal state-paid education, health care, and criminal laws appropriate for the age and development of the child, equal protection of the child's civil rights, and freedom from discrimination on the basis of the child's race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, disability, color, ethnicity, or other characteristics.
Sir William Blackstone (1765-9) recognized three parental duties to the child: maintenance, protection, and education. In modern language, the child has a right to receive these from the parent. United Nations educational guides for children classify the rights outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child as the "3 Ps": Provision, Protection, and Participation. They may be elaborated as follows:
Provision: Children have the right to an adequate standard of living, health care, education and services, and to play and recreation. These include a balanced diet, a warm bed to sleep in, and access to schooling.
Protection: Children have the right to protection from abuse, neglect, exploitation and discrimination. This includes the right to safe places for children to play; constructive child rearing behavior, and acknowledgment of the evolving capacities of children.
Participation: Children have the right to participate in communities and have programs and services for themselves. This includes children's involvement in libraries and community programs, youth voice activities, and involving children as decision-makers.
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