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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. Structures such as government policy have been held by some commentators to mask the ways adults abuse and exploit children, resulting in child poverty, lack of educational opportunities, and child labour. Researchers have identified children as needing to be recognized as participants in society whose rights and responsibilities need to be recognized at all ages.
In modern language, the child has a right to receive these from the parent. Consensus on defining children’s rights has become clearer in the last fifty years. Children’s rights law is defined as the point where the law intersects with a child’s life. Children have two types of human rights under international human rights law. They have the same fundamental general human rights as adults, although some human rights, such as the right to marry, are dormant until they are of age, Secondly, they have special human rights that are necessary to protect them during their minority.
Children’s rights are defined in numerous ways, including a wide spectrum of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. 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. Provision: Children have the right to an adequate standard of living, health care, education and services, and to play and recreation. Protection: Children have the right to protection from abuse, neglect, exploitation and discrimination. 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. Economic, social and cultural rights, related to the conditions necessary to meet basic human needs such as food, shelter, education, health care, and gainful employment.
Environmental, cultural and developmental rights, which are sometimes called “third generation rights,” and including the right to live in safe and healthy environments and that groups of people have the right to cultural, political, and economic development. Scholarly study generally focuses children’s rights by identifying individual rights. Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child enjoins parties to “take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation”. Other issues affecting children’s rights include the military use of children, sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. In the majority of jurisdictions, for instance, children are not allowed to vote, to marry, to buy alcohol, to have sex, or to engage in paid employment.
Parent are given sufficient powers to fulfill their duties to the child. Parents affect the lives of children in a unique way, and as such their role in children’s rights has to be distinguished in a particular way. A child’s rights to a relationship with both their parents is increasingly recognized as an important factor for determining the best interests of the child in divorce and child custody proceedings. Parents do not have absolute power over their children.
Parents are subject to criminal laws against abandonment, abuse, and neglect of children. International human rights law provides that manifestation of one’s religion may be limited in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. Courts have placed other limits on parental powers and acts. The United States Supreme Court, in the case of Prince v. Massachusetts, ruled that a parent’s religion does not permit a child to be placed at risk. While children undeniably benefit from the Charter, most notably in its protection of their rights to life and to the security of their person, they are unable to assert these rights, and our society accordingly presumes that parents will exercise their freedom of choice in a manner that does not offend the rights of their children.
The 1796 publication of Thomas Spence’s Rights of Infants is among the earliest English-language assertions of the rights of children. The opposition to children’s rights long predates any current trend in society, with recorded statements against the rights of children dating to the 13th century and earlier. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is seen as a basis for all international legal standards for children’s rights today. There are several conventions and laws that address children’s rights around the world. The ICCPR is a multilateral international covenant that has been ratified or acceded to by nearly all nations on Earth. Nations which have become state-parties to the Covenant are required to honor and enforce the rights enunciated by the Covenant. Article 24 codifies the right of the child to special protection due to his minority, the right to a name, and the right to a nationality.