Children whose basic needs and fundamental rights are denied can not be expected to mature into caring, productive adults who will respect the rights of others. Violations of rights are not only the cause of personal suffering, they also sow the seeds for political and social unrest, even for violent conflicts.
For the sake of both individual and global development, children around the world need to understand the concept of rights.
WHAT IS THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
The convention on the rights of the child is a United Nations agreement that spells out the range of rights that children everywhere are entitled to. This convention is the first Universal legally binding code of Child Rights in history. It brings together in one treaty all the relevant Child Rights issues, rather than having them scattered in a number of international treaties. Countries that ratify the convention (thereby becoming “State Parties” to it) agree to be legally bound by its provisions.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child contains 54 articles, each of which details a different type of Right.
Four broad categories of the document are as follows.
1. Survival Rights
2. Development Rights
3. Protection Rights
4. Participation Rights
HOW DID THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD COME ABOUT?
In 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This document includes Children’s Rights.
In 1959, a declaration of the Rights of the Child was adopted by the United Nations. It consisted of 10 rights, and was not a legal binding on the countries that signed it. In 1978, a draft convention on Children’s Rights was submitted to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights by the Government of Poland.
During the International Year of the Child in1979, the Commission set up a working group to coordinate the range of ideas on the draft convention being submitted by governments around the world.
On 20 November 1989, the Convention on the Rights of the Child was completed and adopted by the General Assembly. The convention entered into force in 1990, after being ratified by 20 countries.
As of 1 December 1993,153 countries have demonstrated their commitment to the future of their children by ratifying the convention on the Rights of the Child.
CHILDREN’S RIGHTS AND PARENTS
While the Convention on the Rights of the Child upholds a number of basic rights, it dose not in fringe on the rights of parents to decide what is best for their children. Instead it specifically states that government shall make every effort to keep families intact, and shall provide support and assistance to parents in fulfilling their primary responsibilities with regard to the upbringing and development of their children.
The promotion of Children’s Rights is not a matter of placing children in conflict with adult authorities in their lives, but of encouraging all citizens to work together for a safe, healthy and productive future for children.
To commemorate the occasion Pakistan Post Office is issuing a commemorative postage stamp of Rs 2 denomination on November 20, 1999.