What are Child Rights?
A right is as an agreement or contract established between the persons who hold a right (often
referred to as the "rights-holders") and the persons or institutions which then have obligations and
responsibilities in relation to the realization of that right (often referred to as the "duty-bearers".) Child
rights are specialized human rights that apply to all human beings
below the age of 18.
Universally child rights are defined by the United Nations and United
Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). According to
the UNCRC Child Rights are minimum entitlements and freedoms that
should be afforded to all persons below the age of 18 regardless of
race, colour, gender, language, religion, opinions, origins, wealth, birth
status or ability and therefore apply to all people everywhere. The UN
finds these rights interdependent and indivisible, meaning that a right
can’t be fulfilled at the expense of another right.
The purpose of the UNCRC is to outline the basic human rights that
should be afforded to children. There are four broad classifications of these rights. These four
categories cover all civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights of every child.
Right to Survival
A child's right to survival begins before a child is born. According to Government of India, a child life begins
after twenty weeks of conception. Hence the right to survival is inclusive of the child rights to be born, right
to minimum standards of food, shelter and clothing, and the right to live with dignity.
Right to Protection: A child has the right to be protected from neglect, exploitation and abuse at home, and
Right to Participation
A child has a right to participate in any decision making that involves him/her directly or indirectly. There are
varying degrees of participation as per the age and maturity of the child.
Right to Development: Children have the right to all forms of development: Emotional, Mental and Physical.
Emotional development is fulfilled by proper care and love of a support system, mental development through
education and learning and physical development through recreation, play and nutrition.
What is Child Protection?
UNICEF considers child protection as the prevention of or responding to the incidence of abuse,
exploitation, violence and neglect of children. This includes commercial sexual exploitation,
trafficking, child labour and harmful traditional practices, such as female genital mutilation/cutting
and child marriage. Protection also allows children to have access to their other rights of survival,
development, growth and participation. UNICEF maintains that when child protection fails or is
absent children have a higher risk of death, poor physical and mental health, HIV/AIDS infection,
educational problems, displacement, homelessness, vagrancy and poor parenting skills later in life.
According to the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) Child Protection is about keeping
children safe from a risk or perceived risk to their lives or childhood. It is about recognizing that
children are vulnerable and hence reducing their vulnerability by protecting them from harm and
harmful situations. Child protection is about ensuring that children have a security net to depend on,
and if they happen to fall through the holes in the system, the system has the responsibility to
provide the child with the necessary care and rehabilitation to bring them back into the safety net.
|Law and Policies
||Laws and Policies
||Laws and Policies
|Processes and Protocols
||Access and Assistance
||Long term care until age 18
|Mechanisms and Systems
||Immediate Relief (SOS attention)
||Skills and Training
|| Restoration of rights/Status Quo
|Sensitization and Awareness
|| Punish violators
Understanding the Difference
It is important to understand the difference between these two concepts. Child rights are a set of
principles or ideals. They are entitlements and some of them are justifiable in a court of law, but they
are not tangible. Protection is one of these rights. But Child Protection is more than a right. It is a
framework or system by which the rights of a child can come to be. The framework consists of
various duty bearers such as the departments of the government, police, school, civil society, who all
have roles to play to ensure that a child's rights are met, and in the case that a child's rights are
violated that the violator be brought to justice and care be provided to the child. Child protection is
not only treatment, but should also be preventive. Risk management needs to take place to reduce
the risk of violation of child rights in any given circumstance or space.
Child protection is hence the means through which all other rights of a child can be upheld. For
example a child has a right to live a normal childhood in a family environment. The child protection
framework need to first take steps to ensure families are able to survive by providing them when
health, education, and food for free or at minimal cost. The next step is to address the needs of
children who have fallen through the cracks such as destitute, abandoned, and orphan children. The
framework includes the mechanisms to relocate these children into caring families either through
adoption or foster care and provide these children with access to health and education services.
Hence the framework is not a single ministry or single government body it is the interlinking functions
of all ministries and sectors.