20 May 2021

Children’s rights


Children’s rights (Rights of the child)


Topic by Ines

Essay by Lawrence



Children are human beings, and any children’s rights are human rights. Children’s rights should not be understood as being some special rights that people enjoy until they are eighteen years old. Human rights should apply throughout the life of a person irrespective of how old they are. The challenge is what should apply to younger human beings and what should apply to adults.


But rights established for children should not be a substitute for any other rights. And these rights might be as Declarations of Human Rights, Conventions of the rights of the Child, constitutions, legal and judicial system, religious theology, and of course ethics and morality.


For example, the first Article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN) starts with, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” (1) Compare this with the first Article of the Convention on the Rights of the Child:  Article 1: For the purposes of the present Convention, a child means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.


The Child convention is a diluted version of the Declaration because the Child convention (Article 1) ends with: unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier. Under the convention what is a child depends on what national governments decide what a child is. This means that children’s rights are not universal rights or objective ethical or legal rights. In other words children’s rights are not as solid and universal as we would like to thinks.


The implication of this wording is that a child maybe of majority when still young, but this would imply the child can be tried as an adult despite being immature; consent to sexual union despite their body not fully developed and so on.


The value of a right depends on whether they are enforced or not and maybe whether children and adults have to mean to pursue their rights. And as we know a large proportion of children today are deprived of their rights, and more likely to be abused or murdered by adults. Dictators have exposed the myth of human rights; and constitutions, although they mean well, are most times equally useless or just slightly better. A drawback of constitutions is that they are enforced after the damage has been done.


And this is demonstrated by the fact that many countries import large amounts of goods that are made in places where the rights of children and adults do not really exist, respected or enforced. It is very convenient to argue that as a country we should mind our own business and not interfere in the activities of other countries; in the meantime it is quite handy to buy goods cheap made by slave labour.


Even people whose duty and responsibility is to protect children and provide security for them are just as like to abuse children’s rights and safety as any dictatorship. For example the Westminster paedophile dossier (3) that allegedly identified associates of the British government who were involved in child abuse was eventually lost according to some ministers. On a more international level we have the Catholic Church sexual abuse cases that involved members of the clergy abusing children over many years(4). What is strange about the Catholic Church cases is the absence of cases from other religions or some countries. What is clear is that adults are the natural predators of children so it is very hard to believe that everyone else is without sin.


According to the United Nations, “Victims of domestic abuse may also include a child or other relative, or any other household member.” (5) Apart from being the subject of domestic violence, children are usually also key witnesses of acts of domestic violence on one of their parents. The WHO include a key fact (6) that, “Globally, it is estimated that up to 1 billion children aged 2–17 years, have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence or neglect in the past year.” (Information for 2015/6: see link).  


The list of child abuse is endless, and I haven’t even mentioned war crimes against children, which is evidence in my opinion that children’s rights are practically meaningless utterances by politicians and those in authority to impress people. Maybe one of the problems is that children do not vote. It is telling that the Convention on the Rights of the Child does not suggest that children of a reasonable age should be given a vote or at least a sort of vote to express their opinion.  



(1)  (1) Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN)

(2) (2) Convention on the Rights of the Child

(3)  (3) Westminster paedophile dossier

(4)  (4) Catholic Church sexual abuse cases

(5)  (5)What Is Domestic Abuse?

(6)  (6) Violence against children

Best Lawrence


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