Table of Contents
Children are one of the most vulnerable groups in the society, and they depend on their parents and caregivers for protection and care right from their birth. Like other individuals in the community, children have specific human rights that seek to ensure their well-being; these rights safeguard them from abuse, violence, and neglect. Some countries incorporate the civil rights of children in their constitution and have a legal system to address the violations of these rights. On the international scale, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children (UNCROC) advocates for the respect and implementation of children’s rights. Despite the high awareness of children’s civil rights, numerous cases of abuse and neglects like physical violence child labor, and sexual crimes against kids are still reported in different parts of the world today (Archard 15). The identification of children’s rights and risk factors of the human rights violation are critical to guarantee the safety of children across the globe.
Children’s Civil Rights
Primarily, children have the right to an identity. It is the role of the state to ensure proper registration of children immediately after birth, and this includes giving a name or identity to each baby. The children should also receive a birth certificate as a formal recognition of their citizenship status in a nation. This document plays an integral role in a child’s life as it is the gateway for future health services like vaccination and educational advancement (Brems, Desmet and Vandenhole 28). Moreover, registering children helps to reduce the high rates of child trafficking, child prostitution, prosecution of minors, or the premature enlistment of kids into the armed forces.
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Secondly, children have a right to parental care. The state gives parents the sole custody of the children, and there is a minimal interruption in the upbringing of the child. It is the role and responsibility of the parents to provide a happy, free, and safe environment for their children that allows them to grow and develop with societally acceptable right behavior. Although the parents have the right to make numerous decisions on behalf of the minors, it is vital for them to take into consideration the thoughts and opinions of the child. In incidences where the children lack parental care, the state should make alternative arrangements by searching for alternative care or placement into specialized institutions (Freeman 48). Before taking a child into foster care, it is vital to exhaust all other available alternatives, which may allow the baby to live a better life.
Another fundamental civil right is the access to education. Legally, all the students in the United States have an equal opportunity to pursue a free education in any part of the country irrespective of their race, religion, social status, culture, gender, and language (Ogden 26). Besides, it is unlawful to discriminate against students because of their disability, marital status, or pregnancy. Through the elimination of all the above forms of discrimination, children can now pursue their education without facing any significant limitation.
Children also need to be protected from any violence, physical harm, or neglect. Child abuse remains a significant problem in the 21st century. By contextual definition, child abuse refers to a situation where the kids are forced to participate in various economic activities to raise money for their families (Becker 7). Working from a young age denies children the chance of education, play, and proper development. On the other hand, physical violence occurs when parents or guardians intentionally use force to harm a child; it includes hitting, spanking, caning, burning, or killing a child. Research indicates that children suffering from physical violence are often subjected to sexual and psychological abuse from a young age (Zajda and Ozdowski 44). Prevalence of neglect occurs when the parents fail to provide their children with the basic needs including, food, water, education, shelter, and clothing. It is essential to keep children away from the above dangers to protect their developmental phase and prepare them for a better future.
Children also have the right to equal access to healthcare services; there should be no discrimination in the health sector. Unlike adults, the children’s immune system is not well developed to protect them from different types of illnesses in their environment. Therefore, their parents should pay close attention to their mental, physical, and psychological well-being for the timely identification of any health challenges, and subsequent receipt of medical care. Moreover, it is vital for parents to take young babies for routine vaccinations that help to protect them from everyday illnesses like pneumonia, meningitis, and tuberculosis among other diseases. For children with disabilities, the government should provide adequate help to enable them to acquire necessary capabilities to communicate with other people like the provision of interpreters, and modern technology to aid in the communication process. Lastly, parents should participate in disease awareness campaigns, where they acquire essential knowledge of health conditions, and how to protect their children’s health.
Children have the civil right to participate in different community programs and practices. Provision of a safe environment is not enough for kids throughout the world; it is crucial to allow the children to develop their cognitive and decision-making processes. Therefore, children should be given an opportunity to voice their opinions particularly on issues that have a direct impact on their lives. For instance, children should be actively engaged in family decision making or court processes that seek to alter their custodial arrangements with parents or the state (Freeman 43). Besides, children should also give their input in the education sector, where they can support or oppose curriculum changes among other issues. However, it is imperative to avoid any form of pressure or negative influence on the children’s participation rights. The focus should be to encourage the kids to express their independent opinion and to appreciate their passion for contributing towards a better society.
Minors also have a right to fair hearing in a court of law. Due to the high vulnerability of children, the government has a comprehensive legal system that seeks to evaluate violation of any of their civil rights. The primary role of the state is to uphold the best interest of the kids. In support of the children’s right of participation, courts are required to listen to cases affecting the welfare of a child in an objective manner (Ogden 20). For example, decisions by the legal authorities to remove a child from his parental care should only be taken if the guardians are incompetent of providing adequate attention to the kid. Moreover, it is essential to avail legal help for children facing juvenile charges in an American court, hence ensure that the kids can understand and follow all the procedures of the court. Children should be given a chance to show their innocence or present arguments that are likely to have an integral effect on the final decision of a court. As such, the sentencing of juveniles should be done by the limitations placed in law. Although some crimes like murder, rape, and robbery with violence allow family courts to sentence juveniles to a prison sentence, it is illegal for a judge to incarcerate a minor into an adult prison center.
Nutrition is another important aspect for children across the world. Every child has the right to adequate nutrition, which refers to the intake of a balanced and sufficient food diet. Biologically, various food substances found on earth play a specific function in the human body. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that children consume carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, proteins, and salts in the right quantities. Consequently, their immune system grows strong, and they can fight against the communicable and non-communicable illnesses.
Factors that contribute to violation of Children’s Civil Rights
Several risk factors lead to the breach of the fundamental civil rights of children. The first factor is the lack of appropriate legal remedies to protect the children’s interests. Although the United States is an avid campaigner of children’s right, the country is yet to ratify the provisions of the United Nations laws on children. As a result, numerous loopholes may lead to the denial of some of the most basic rights to this group of people.
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Secondly, the high rate of poverty may lead to the non-observance of children’s rights. Many illegal immigrants in the country live in extreme poverty; they depend on social welfare programs for their survival. Although not all the poor people neglect or mistreat their children, their low economic status increases the likelihood of child abuse, mainly when perpetual health problems like depression and stress occur.
Thirdly, some of the children factors may also contribute to the violation of their rights. One is disabilities, where kids born with special needs require round the clock constant care from their guardians. Frustrations from the high dependability of these children may lead to mistreatment, neglect or denial of core needs like education and healthcare. Two is age, children between the ages of 0-3 years are vulnerable to most forms of physical violence like shaking and hitting. Moreover, their parents are more likely to curtail their freedom of expression, as they make decisions without taking into consideration their feelings or their best interest.
It is essential for each country to ensure the strict observance of children’s civil rights. Minors require the special care and protection by their families as well as the community to meet their need for education, health, nutrition, identity, and safety. Besides, it is imperative to establish a comprehensive legal system that provides adequate remedies for the violation of any of the rights outlined in this paper.
- Archard, David. Children : rights and childhood. Abingdon: Routledge, 2015. Print Book.
- Becker, Jo. Campaigning for children : strategies for advancing children’s rights. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2017. Print Book.
- Brems, Eva, Ellen Desmet and Wouter Vandenhole. Children’s rights law in the global human rights landscape : isolation, inspiration, integration? New York: Routledge, 2017. Print Book.
- Freeman, Michael D A. A Magna Carta for children? : rethinking children’s rights. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017. Print Book.
- Ogden, Charlie. Human rights & liberty. New York: Crabtree Publishing Company, 2017. Print Book.
- Zajda, Joseph I and Seweryn Ozdowski. Globalisation, human rights education and reforms. Dordrecht: Springer, 2017. Print Book.