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Child Rights: A Gist

The Convention on the Rights of the Child defines basic rights of children covering multiple needs and issues. India endorsed it on December 11, 1992.

Following are a few rights in the immediate purview of Smile Foundation as well as India.

An awareness campaign sensitizing privileged citizens to act for the benefit of children employed as domestic servents and labours

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Ms. Puja Trisal
General Manager – Programmes | Smile Foundation

“Whose children we are talking about? Are they not our children? If yes, can we leave them to fend for themselves- defenseless, with out care, devoid of any right and privileges? Are not WE, the society (men and women) responsible for introducing them to world? Then, why such apathy? Is it not a crime?

Does it not stir our conscience and provoke to safeguard our children's well being- according appropriate status?

Child rights and its accordance is the pillar for national construction, a brighter tomorrow.”

You may write to her at:
info@smilefoundationindia.org


The right to Education: 50% of Indian children aged 6-18 do not go to school
Dropout rates increase alarmingly in class III to V, its 50% for boys, 58% for girls.

The right to Expression: Every child has a right to express himself freely in which ever way he likes. Majority of children however are exploited by their elders and not allowed to express.

The right to Information: Every child has a right to know his basic rights and his position in the society. High incidence of illiteracy and ignorance among the deprived and underprivileged children prevents them from having access to information about them and their society.

The right to Nutrition: More than 50% of India's children are malnourished. While one in every five adolescent boys is malnourished, one in every two girls in India is undernourished.

The right to Health & Care: 58% of India's children below the age of 2 years are not fully vaccinated. And 24% of these children do not receive any form of vaccination. Over 60% of children in India are anemic. 95 in every 1000 children born in India, do not see their fifth birthday. 70 in every 1000 children born in India, do not see their first birthday.

The right to protection from Abuse: There are approximately 2 million child commercial sex workers between the age of 5 and 15 years and about 3.3 million between 15 and 18 years. They form 40% of the total population of commercial sex workers in India. 500,000 children are forced into this trade every year.

The right to protection from Exploitation: 17 million children in India work as per official estimates. A study found that children were sent to work by compulsion and not by choice, mostly by parents, but with recruiter playing a crucial role in influencing decision. When working outside the family, children put in an average of 21 hours of labour per week. Poor and bonded families often "sell" their children to contractors who promise lucrative jobs in the cities and the children end up being employed in brothels, hotels and domestic work. Many run away and find a life on the streets.

The right to protection from Neglect: Every child has a right to lead a well protected and secure life away from neglect. However, children working under exploitative and inhuman conditions get neglected badly.

The right to Development: Every child has the right to development that lets the child explore her/his full potential. Unfavourable living conditions of underprivileged children prevents them from growing in a free and uninhibited way.

The right to Recreation: Every child has a right to spend some time on recreational pursuits like sports, entertainment and hobbies to explore and develop. Majority of poor children in India do not get time to spend on recreational activities.

The right to Name & Nationality: Every child has a right to identify himself with a nation. A vast majority of underprivileged children in India are treated like commodities and exported to other countries as labour or prostitutes.

The right to Survival: Of the 12 million girls born in India, 3 million do not see their fifteenth birthday, and a million of them are unable to survive even their first birthday. Every sixth girl child's death is due to gender discrimination.

Child Rights in India: An Introduction

India is a party to the UN declaration on the Rights of the Child 1959. Accordingly, it adopted a National Policy on Children in 1974. The policy reaffirmed the constitutional provisions for adequate services to children, both before and after birth and through the period of growth to ensure their full physical, mental and social development.

Accordingly, the government is taking action to review the national and state legislation and bring it in line with the provisions of the Convention. It has also developed appropriate monitoring procedures to assess progress in implementing the Convention-involving various stake holders in the society.

India is also a signatory to the World Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children. In pursuance of the commitment made at the World Summit, the Department of Women and Child Development under the Ministry of Human Resource Development has formulated a National Plan of Action for Children. Most of the recommendations of the World Summit Action Plan are reflected in India's National Plan of Action- keeping in mind the needs, rights and aspirations of 300 million children in the country.
The priority areas in the Plan are health, nutrition, education, water, sanitation and environment. The Plan gives special consideration to children in difficult circumstances and aims at providing a framework, for actualization of the objectives of the Convention in the Indian context.

Status of Children in India

Recent UNICEF (2005) report on the state of the world’s children under the title “Childhood Under Threat” , speaking about India, states that millions of Indian children are equally deprived of their rights to survival, health, nutrition, education and safe drinking water. It is reported that 63 per cent of them go to bed hungry and 53 per cent suffer from chronic malnutrition.

The report says that 147 million children live in kuchcha houses, 77 million do not use drinking water from a tap, 85 million are not being immunized, 27 million are severely underweight and 33 million have never been to school. It estimates that 72 million children in India between five and 14 years do not have access to basic education. A girl child is the worst victim as she is often neglected and is discriminated against because of the preference for a boy child.

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights

In order to ensure child rights practices and in response to India’s commitment to UN declaration to this effect, the government of India set up a National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

The Commission is a statutory body notified under an Act of the Parliament on December 29, 2006. Besides the chairperson, it will have six members from the fields of child health, education, childcare and development, juvenile justice, children with disabilities, elimination of child labour, child psychology or sociology and laws relating to children.
The Commission has the power to inquire into complaints and take suo motu notice of matters relating to deprivation of child's rights and non-implementation of laws providing for protection and development of children among other things.
Aimed at examining and reviewing the safeguards provided by the law to protect child rights, the Commission will recommend measures for their effective implementation. It will suggest amendments, if needed, and look into complaints or take suo motu notice of cases of violation of the constitutional and legal rights of children.

The Commission is to ensure proper enforcement of child rights and effective implementation of laws and programmes relating to children- enquiring into complaints and take suo motu cognizance of matters relating to deprivation of child rights; non-implementation of laws providing for protection and development of children and non-compliance of policy decisions, guidelines or instructions aimed at their welfare and announcing relief for children and issuing remedial measures to the state governments.

Child Rights Articles & Preamble

Convention on the Rights of the Child

Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989

entry into force 2 September 1990, in accordance with article 49

[Credited to Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights]