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Concept Of Childrens Rights Emerged Children And Young People Essay

1. INTRODUCTION

"Children are the two eyes of a happy family. These children are invaluable future resources for society. These precious saplings are the giant oak trees of tomorrow and pillars of the nation‟s progress."

Children and childhood across the world, have broadly been construed in terms of a „golden age‟ that is synonymous with innocence, freedom, joy and play. It is the time when, spared the rigours of adult life, one hardly shoulders any kind of responsibility or obligations. But, then, it is also true that children are vulnerable, especially when they are very young, thereby they need to be cared and protected from „the harshness of the world outside‟ and around (Holt, 1975: 22). This being so, the adult-child relation and parents in particular, is said to provide „care and protection thereby serving the „best interests of the child‟ and meeting their day-to-day „needs of survival and development‟. The adult is presumed to be the guardian and in that respect expected to take the responsibility of child‟s welfare and development. The childhood „reality‟ on the whole is questionable, demanding critical evaluation. Accordingly, idealistic notions childhood have been challenged, especially in relation to poverty, childhood is that period during which children are subject to a set of rules and regulations unique to them, and one that does not apply to members of other social categories. It is indeed a period in a person‟s life during which she/he is neither expected nor allowed to fully participate in various domains of social life. It is thus not a world of freedom and opportunity but one of confinement and limitation in which children are „wholly subservient and dependent‟. This being so, 3

childhood is nothing world of isolation, sadness, exploitation, oppression, cruelty and abuse.1

According to UNICEF a child means every human being below the age of 18 years. It is often stated that, the children of today are the nation‟s future, so to build a strong and secure future; we need to protect our children.2

According to United Nations International Children Education Fund, there are 2.2 billion children in the world.2

Children are dependent on adults for everything. They are young and need help of others in almost every aspect and this put them in a position where they can be easily manipulated and abused. Human rights apply to all age groups; children too have rights but children are particularly vulnerable and so they have particular rights that recognize their special need for protection.3

Indians constitute 16 per cent of the world's population, occupying 2.42 percent of its land area. India has more working children than any other nation, as also among the lowest female-male ratios. Despite Constitutional guarantees of civil rights, children face discrimination on the basis of caste, religion, ethnicity and religion. Even the basic need for birth registration that will assure them a nationality and identity remains unaddressed, affecting children's rights to basic services.3

India has the largest child population in the world, with about 40% of the total population below the age of 15 years and 51.5% of these between the ages of 0 to 6 years. Right through the ages, care for children has been one of the causes to which Indian policy has remained committed. In the independent India, this commitment was 4

enshrined in our Constitutional provisions. Government of India adopted a National Policy for Children in 1974 which reaffirmed the Constitutional provisions and declared that "It shall be the policy of the State to provide adequate services to children, both before and after birth and through the period of growth of a child, to ensure their full physical, mental and social development.4

It is a common sight in the villagers to see children taking care of the younger siblings, drawing water from the well and transporting load. Additionally they forego their studies and diet to help their parents with agriculture, wood cutting or sawing. Small scale industries go unchecked for employing little children in fireworks assembling, silk weaving, paint and dye making and welding. Child labour is a common sight in India. Urban housings have several children employed as servants, hotels employ under aged kids to serve and clean the hotels. Maids and helpers are easily employed with cheap salaries in urban homes. This extols the about Indian child labour.5

It was only during the 20th century that the concept of children‟s rights emerged. This shift in focus from the „welfare‟ to the „rights‟ approach is significant. Rights are entitlements. They also imply obligations and goals. The rights approach is primarily concerned with issues of social justice, non-discrimination, equity and empowerment. The rights perspective is embodied in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).6

The Convention on the Rights of the child sets out the rights that must be realized for children to develop their full potential, free from hunger, neglect and abuse. It reflects a new vision of the child. Children are neither the property of adults nor helpless objects 5

of charity. They are human beings of their own rights. The Convention offers a vision of the child as an individual and as a member of a family and community, with rights and responsibilities appropriate to his or her age and stage of development.6

The Convention and its acceptance by so many countries have heightened recognition of the fundamental human dignity of all children and the urgency of ensuring their well-being and development. It defines child rights are the basic rights of children covering multiple needs and issues. India endorsed it on December 11, 1992.Following are the few children rights like, the right to education, the right to expression, the right to information, the right to nutrition, the right to health & care, the right to protection from abuse, the right to protection from exploitation, the right to protection from neglect, the right to development, the right to recreation and the right to name & nationality.6

The Convention makes clear idea that a basic quality of life should be the right of all children, rather than a privilege enjoyed by a few6

we believe that by respecting the child, society is respecting itself. Recently the Government of India has decided to constitute a National Commission for Children that would be a statutory body setup by an Act of Parliament to give further protection to the children. The task, however, must engage not just governments but all members of the society. The standards and principles articulated in the Convention can only become a reality when they are respected by everyone-within the family, in schools and other institutions that provide services for children. 6

NEED FOR THE STUDY:

In our country there are 3 million children lived without shelter and 17 million children working as bonded labour and 1 out of every 6 girl does not live to see her 15th birthday and 50% of the children not accessing proper education. It clearly shoes we have a lot to answer as concerned citizen do something about it; something meaningful, something concrete, something urgently.7

The international labour organization estimates that worldwide 110 million children aged 5-14 years are engaged in labour that can be described as hazardous or intolerable.8

According to 7th all Indian educational survey, 2002. There are 17 million children are working as per official estimates. When working outside the family, children put in an average of 21 hours of labour per week. 19% of children employed for domestic help. 90% of children are working in rural India. 85% of children are working in the unorganized sectors. About 80% of children are engaged in agricultural work. There are approximately 2 million children are working as commercial sex workers between the age of 5 to 15 years and about 3.3 million children aged between 15 to 18 years. Children form total 40% of the population of commercial sex workers in India and 80% of these children are found in the 5 metros and 71% of them are illiterate. Every year 5,00,000 children are forced into this trade. By these statistical values it shows adult treat the Children as their "property" so they are ordered around, threatened, coerced, silenced, with complete disregard of them as "persons" with rights and freedoms.9 7

All children have the right to be protected from work that interferes with their normal growth and development. Abandoned children, children without families and disabled children need special care and protection.

A study was conducted to understand the psychosocial environment, nature, extent and magnitude of the health problem and support systems for child labour and their expectations from the government and other agencies in Shillong, 2004. A sample of 501 boys belonging to school going age and working in Shillong was taken for the study, data was collected through interview. This study shows that many of the parents and children were unaware of the existing laws to protect children or child labour. It was recommended that awareness should be spread among exploited children, and employers should be sensitized regarding child rights and labour legislation.10

A study was conducted at 5 different states in India in 1997 among 1000girls showed that 50% of the girls reported that they had been abused when they are less than 12 years of age, 35% had been abused between the ages of 12- 16 years of age. There are at least 18 million children living on the streets in India. 11

In joint studies conducted by UNICEF and the Ministry of Labour, shows that 75% of the children reported treatment by staff as bad and 91.7% reported provisions of necessities as bad, Bangalore. In Mumbai 75.4 % reported bad treatment by staff and 53.2 reported that provisions were poor. 12

A micro survey on children view on their rights was carried out in 8 cities and 2 districts in 7 states of India, 2001. A total of 859 children were interviewed. The study 8

shows that children want to share their problems with everybody. They want to tell to others what they think about their present condition and what they want for themselves, not what adults consider as rights for them. The children wanted to be treated as human beings, people should not consider them as useless and should not see them with hatred or discriminate against them. People should show love and care towards them and give them a chance to prove themselves.13

In India there are 2.5 million Children dying every year, accounting for one in five deaths in the world, with girls being 50% more likely to die. The 2011 National Census recorded a female to male ratio of 940:1000 for all ages. The Government of India in its report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said, every year 12 million girls are born, out of which three million of them do not survive to see their 15th birthday and it is estimated that every sixth female death is directly due to gender discrimination. In India more than 50% of children are malnourished and one in every two girls is undernourished.14

In India, there are 35 million children aged 6 - 14 years who do not attend school, out of which, 53% of girls aged between 6 to 9 years are illiterate.14

The statistics released by the ministry of women and child development are no less appalling. It showed about 53.22 per cent of children in India have faced one or more forms of sexual abuse. Around 54.22 per cent of the boys and 22.54 per cent of girls from the city have faced severe forms of abuse like rape, sodomy, touching or fondling, being forced to exhibit private parts and photographed in the nude. Over 82.43 per cent boys and 58.69 per cent girls from the city have faced other forms of abuse like forcible 9

kissing, sexual advances during travel, family gatherings and being exposed to pornographic materials. These statistics not only shatter the age old myth of only girls being the victims but also brings to light the need for boys being given equal protection.15

In India alone, there are nearly 20 million children who do not get a chance to go to school. They have to work or beg in order to live. They are working in factories making fire crackers, bangles and carpets, the working conditions are so dangerous, that their health is spoilt or accidents occur and many of them die. Almost 63% of children in India do not get enough nutritious food. This leads to decrease of malnutrition – blindness, or deformed limbs. Two million children in India die before they are one year old because there are no proper health facilities like good doctors and medicines. The living conditions are so poor that they become victim of all kinds of disease, like typhoid and malaria; especially because they do not get clean drinking water. About 8 lakh children in India live on the streets. Almost every family living in the slums on the foot-paths is never sure when they would be forced to leave their homes – by governments, by landlords or trouble-makers. Most of the houses have no electricity, 25% do not have safe drinking water.16

A study was conducted on Sociological aspects of child labour in Madras city 2002. The sample size was 100 working children. It revealed that over half of these belonged to the age group of 13 and 14. 73% were males and 55 % belonged to the poor socio economic strata. In 46% cases, there was under employment or unemployment in the families. 40%, of the fathers were alcoholics. Non schooling of children was 14 % and drop outs from school were 64%. Reasons for employment of these children were 10

parental incapacitation, discontinuation of education because of bad performance at school, alcoholic fathers and poverty. 45% of these children worked for more than 8 hr. Their income was rupees 15 and less per month in 91%. Most of them were working in unorganized sectors.17

Since the rate of children rights violation is more and the people live in rural area have little knowledge about children rights. So the student investigator felt the need to study on children rights to prevent further violation of the children rights and to bring awareness about selected children rights. 11

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