Children and international Conventions:
The welfare of the entire community, its growth and development, depends on the health and well-being of its children. Children are a “supremely important national asset” and the future well-being of the nation depends on how its children grow and develop. That is the main reason , there has been great concern for the welfare of children at the international level.
The problems relating to children are basically a gift of poverty and illiteracy but there are certain other causative dimensions of the proble, including, at some places, the social structure. Besides these, child labour is profitable as the wages of children are small, their complaints few and they accomplish in some industries and occupations as much as adults. Employers, therefore, exploit children in their own interest without any consideration to their needs for growth and development. This exceptional vulnerability of children to exploitation has gained international attention and led to the adopting of various Conventions and protocols to the rights of children.
- Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child of 1924 was Adopted on 26 September, 1924, by League of Nations. The declaration establishes children’s rights to means for material, moral and spiritual development; special help when hungry, sick, disabled or orphaned; first call on relief when in distress; freedom from economic exploitation; and an upbringing that instils a sense of social responsibility.
- Declaration of the Rights of the Child,(1959) was adopted by the UN General Assembly, which recognizes rights such as freedom from discrimination and the rights to a name and nationality. It also specifically enshrines children’s rights to education, health care and special protection.
- Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 20 November 1989, it encompassing a full range of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights to children. The Convention aims at protecting children from discrimination, neglect and abuse. It grants and provides for the implementation of rights for children both in times of peace and during armed conflict.
- Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of children in armed conflict was adopted by UN General Assembly on 25 May 2000, which came into force on 12 February 2002. The Protocol requires States who ratify it to “take all feasible measures” to ensure that members of their armed forces under the age of 18 do not take a direct part in hostilities.
- Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Pornography was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2000 and entered into force on 18 January 2002. It requires states to prohibit the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. Source: www.unhcr.org/refworld/pdfid/3ae6b38bc.pdf
An extraordinary impetus now exists for the application of international standards and norms that demonstrates the remarkable commitment of the international community to child protection in armed conflict. It is imperative to maintain that momentum in order to further advance the agenda and to better protect our children from war.