The Awakening: Convention on the Rights of the Child

September 22, 2017 HUMAN RIGHTS , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , Pakistan

By

Zeeshan A. Shah

 

This is the time of the Awakening- a time for change. Here, we must move ahead by directing our actions to support mankind to remain sustainable. Amongst citizens around the world, one such citizen is unaware of the rights and is underrated across the world that we live in today. The child, the ‘forgotten citizen’, must be appreciated in accordance with his true value. His right as a human being who shapes all of mankind must become sacred, and the secret laws of his normal psychic development must light the way for civilization.

 

On 20th November 1989, world leaders adopted the CRC- Convention on the Rights of Children at the historic UN General Assembly. Twenty five years later, the CRC has become the most-widely ratified human rights treaty in history. This is testament to the common understanding among countries and communities that children have the right to survive and develop; to be protected from violence, abuse and exploitation; and for their right to participate in their own communities. The CRC incorporates the full range of human rights – civil, cultural, economic, political and social – into one text that promotes and protects the wellbeing of the world’s children and their families. The need to develop the Convention of the Child’s Rights is directly linked with the fact that children are the most neglected being.

Pakistan is a signatory to the CRC. Despite the fact that it ratified the Convention, it failed to harmonize the national legislative framework with the United Nations Child Rights Convention (UNCRC) to design enabling laws, instrumental in the convention’s implementation to help create a child-friendly environment in the country. Pakistan has failed to ensure reasonable progress in terms of child protection and care and is marked way down the order, when it comes to rights of the child and education rights for the majority of the underprivileged. Although there are many fundamental rights which have been violated in Pakistan there are certain rights badly ignored and not even recognized as a right. Such severe nature of things need to be addressed by the lawmakers and the government who are busy with other less critical issues; the absence of morality demands the Awakening.

 

Looking closely, we find a lot more value through the CRC.

 

According to Article 12 “States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.”

Elsewhere, Article 16 states: “No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honor and reputation.”

Article 19 states, “States Parties shall 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, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.”

Article 29 states, “States Parties agree that the education of the child shall be directed to: (a) The development of the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential.”

Article 31 states, “States Parties recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.”

Article 37 states, “No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

 

These laws remain non-implemented and abandoned in the most highly populated and undernourished countries posing a huge risk to future populations on this planet. Lack of studies on the prevalence and effective measures to combat this problem, especially when it occurs within the family, social gatherings and educational institutes aggravate the problem. The civil society needs to play an effective role in pursuing the government for CRC’s implementation as the coordination between civil society and government is vital to improve the situation of children in the country.

 

It is therefore proposed that the following agenda points should be implemented immediately across provinces and districts where we protect women and children:

 

1). Where all children, regardless of race, class, age, nationality, religion, or ability can be guaranteed life, health, safety education, development and freedom from discrimination;

2). Where the system recognizes children and youth as its most precious resource and acknowledges their healthy development as one of its priorities;

3). Where the rights of children and their families are ensured and protected – where governments and communities around the globe fulfill their leadership responsibilities by partnering with parents to provide them with policies, resources, and tools that will help them fulfill their crucial childrearing responsibilities;

4). Where children are prepared to meaningfully participate in a democratic society and are free to offer their talents in the service of humanity.

 

 

It is the time of the Awakening- a time for reflection and implementation.

 

 

 

 

Zeeshan A. Shah

The writer is a Director at CNNA Pakistan – a leading advocacy institute and is an expert on International Relations and Education Policy.

With over 150 publications in major local and global social media & newspapers, he has been instrumental in producing over 5000 radio broadcasts aired globally.

A thought leader, environmental journalist, media broadcaster and a change maker with an acute focus on development affairs & education for Pakistan.

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