The Convention on the Rights of a Child is an edict from the United Nations that legally binds member nations to honor the rights of children. In most nations, a child is a person under the age of eighteen, but in some nations, the legal age for adulthood may be younger. The articles of the convention state that the rights, as outlined, extend to all children, no matter their race, religion or nationality. It guarantees that all nations legally bound by the convention must insure that the rights of the child are protected using any means available. Considering that the human rights are being compromised the world over, this convention is extremely important to insure that children are protected against such injustices as torture, kidnapping, disfigurement, and exploitation, to name but a few.
Many nations are guilty of crimes against children, but there are nations where these abuses are committed with such frequency that the rest of the world cannot help but take notice. In Sudan, for example, thousands of children have been left orphaned and homeless by civil war. Many of these children have escaped to refugee camps, but they are often refused access because of overcrowding. Without any sort of sanctuary, the children are forcibly conscripted into armed militias.
Thousands of these children died in civil conflicts, and many more received devastating injuries, injuries for which they received no care. Under the U.N. Convention on the Rights of a Child, children injured or dislocated in times of war must be cared for to the fullest capability of their nation, and no child shall be forced to fight with or enlist in the armed forces. The Convention also states that the exploitation, abduction, kidnapping, and trafficking of children will be interrupted using all available means.
Under the convention, all children have the right to live, so governments should take reasonable means to foster the health and well-being of the children within their nation. The convention also allows families the right to retain authority over the child, unless they can be proven negligent or unfit. The use of corporal punishment in households is often considered unlawful in many of the nations covered under the convention, but whether or not it is prosecutable depends largely on the degree of corporal punishment. In Singapore, children are caned for being disobedient or breaking the law. Caning is an extremely violent form of corporal punishment that can cause permanent scarring and death. In the United States, this form of corporal punishment is unlawful and is considered assault.
According to the convention, not only is the health and welfare of the child to be taken into consideration, but there is also a financial component. The parents of a child or children will honor their familial obligations, including facilitating the care and feeding of the child. Also, each child has the right to an education in accordance with the standards of his/her nation. Children also have the right to social security and health care assistance from their government.
What makes the welfare of children so important is that the world's children represent a wealth of potential. To allow for a better tomorrow, nations of the world must promote the health and welfare of their children. Vital in protecting these rights is the role that family law attorneys can provide in all manner of cases that involve the rights of children.