Human rights are those rights which are
essential to live as human
beings' basic standards without which people cannot survive and
develop in dignity. They are inherent to the human person, inalienable
and universal. As part of the framework of human rights law, all human
rights are indivisible, interrelated and interdependent. Understanding
this framework is important to promoting, protecting and realizing children's rights. Despite significant efforts to improve rights of the child, vulnerable
and marginalized children are being forgotten. Children who are victims
of abuse, exploitation and discrimination, and suffer exclusion from
education, healthcare and other vital services, are being largely
overlooked by international development efforts that could dramatically
improve their lives and prospects.
Children who lack protection are often invisible. Millions of children
are invisible to the world because their plight is hidden,
under-reported, or openly neglected. Children who are most likely to
become invisible have no formal identity, grow up without the loving
care of parents or family, are pressed too early into adult
responsibilities, and exploited for profit.
The world cannot afford to let children slip from view. By allowing
children to disappear from view and failing to reach and protect them,
societies condemn children to more neglect and abuse, with lasting
consequences for their well-being and for the development of their
communities and countries. Children need a protective environment to shield them from harm. All
levels of society ¡V from families and governments to teachers and the
media have a part to play individually and collectively to prevent
abuse and to ensure that children are not made invisible or forgotten. Children deserve to live in safety and with dignity. Abuse and
exploitation are an affront to every child's dignity and an intolerable
violation of their rights. Protecting children is essential to their
physical and emotional health, their general well-being, and their
ability to develop to their fullest potential. It is therefore essential
to the human and economic development of nations.
UNICEF's mission is to advocate for the protection of children's
rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities
to reach their full potential. UNICEF is guided in doing this by the
provisions and principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Built on varied legal systems and cultural traditions, the Convention is
a universally agreed set of non-negotiable standards and obligations.
These basic standards also called human rights' set minimum
entitlements and freedoms that should be respected by governments. They
are founded on respect for the dignity and worth of each individual,
regardless of race, colour, gender, language, religion, opinions,
origins, wealth, birth status or ability and therefore apply to every
human being everywhere.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first legally binding
international instrument to incorporate the full range of human
rights' civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. In 1989,
world leaders decided that children needed a special convention just for
them because people under 18 years old often need special care and
protection that adults do not.
The four core principles of the Convention are non-discrimination;
devotion to the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival
and development; and respect for the views of the child. Every right
spelled out in the Convention is inherent to the human dignity and
harmonious development of every child. The Convention protects
children's rights by setting standards in health care; education; and
legal, civil and social services. The principles outlined in the international human rights framework
apply both to children and adults. Children are mentioned explicitly in
many of the human rights instruments; standards are specifically
modified or adapted where the needs and concerns surrounding a right are
distinct for children.
All children have the same rights. All rights are interconnected and of
equal importance. The Convention stresses these principles and refers to
the responsibility of children to respect the rights of others,
especially their parents. By the same token, children's understanding
of the issues raised in the Convention will vary depending on the age of
the child. Helping children to understand their rights does not mean
parents should push them to make choices with consequences they are too
young to handle. The Convention expressly recognizes that parents have
the most important role in the bringing up children.
The Juvenile Justice (Care And Protection Of Children) ACT, 2000
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000,
which has replaced the earlier Juvenile Justice Act, 1986, has been
enforced in the entire country except the State of Jammu & Kashmir w.e.f
1st April 2001. The new law is friendlier and provides for proper care
and protection. A clear distinction has been made in this Act between
the juvenile offender and neglected child. It also prescribes a uniform
age of 18 years below which both boys and girls are to be treated as
children. It also aims to enable increased accessibility to a juvenile
or the child by establishing Juvenile Justice Boards and Child Welfare
Committees and Homes in each district or group of districts.
A Programme for Juvenile Justice
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 lays down the
primary law for not only the care and protection of the children but also for
the adjudication and disposition of matters relating to children in conflict
with law. For the implementation of the Act, the Ministry is implementing a plan
Scheme called, Programme for Juvenile Justice.
The objectives of the Programme for Juvenile Justice are:
i. To extend help to State Governments to bear the cost of
infrastructure and services development under the Juvenile Justice Act
in order to ensure that in no circumstances the child in conflict with
law is lodged in a regular prison.
ii. To ensure minimum quality standards in the juvenile justice
iii. To provide adequate services for prevention of social
mal-adjustment and rehabilitation of socially mal-adjusted juveniles.
iv. Ensure participation of community and other organizations into the
care and protection of children in conflict with law who are perhaps
more vulnerable than other groups of children.
Judicial system for the juvenile and children are somewhat different. As
a matter of fact, children lack maturity, they are in formative years,
and can be reformed easily. So capital punishment or life imprisonment,
committed to prison in default of payment of fine or in default of
furnishing security cannot be awarded to them. Although the act
constituting offences prescribed for the adults and the juvenile are the
same, there is grate deal of difference as regard to the jurisdiction of
the courts and procedure to be followed. The accused juvenile is not to
be tried by ordinary criminal courts. Juvenile justice board deals them.
These boards are to function in accordance with the special procedure
laid down in the act.
Our Commitments toward Children
The children who are hardest to reach include those living in the
poorest countries and most deprived communities; children facing
discrimination on the basis of gender, ethnicity, disability or
membership of an indigenous group; children caught up in armed conflict
or affected by HIV/AIDS; and children who lack a formal identity, who
suffer child protection abuses or who are not treated as children.
Tackling these factors requires swift and decisive action in four key
1) Poverty and inequality. Adjusting poverty-reduction strategies and
expanding budgets or reallocating resources to social investment would
assist millions of children in the poorest countries and communities.?
conflict and 'fragile' States. The international community must seek to prevent
and resolve armed conflict and engage with countries with weak
policy/institutional framework to protect children and women and provide
essential services. Emergency responses for children caught up in conflict
should include services for education, child protection and the prevention of
HIV/AIDS and children. Greater attention should be given to the impact of
HIV/AIDS on children and adolescents and to ways of protecting them from both
infection and exclusion. The Global Campaign on Children and HIV/AIDS will play
a significant role in this regard.
Discrimination. Governments and societies must openly confront discrimination,
introduce and enforce legislation prohibiting it and implement initiatives to
address exclusion faced by women and girls, ethnic and indigenous groups and the
Conclusion: - They say, it is easier to mould a child than to mend a
man and that the child of today is the citizen of tomorrow. It is,
therefore essential that the criminal traits in youngsters be timely
curbed, so that they do not turn in to habitual offenders in their
forthcoming life. It is with this view in end that the problem of
juvenile delinquency is presently being handled in India with grate
significance. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, also, brings
together the children's human rights articulated in other international
instruments. The Convention, thus articulates the rights more completely
and provides a set of guiding principles that fundamentally shapes the
way in which we view children.
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