Who is a Child?
Article 1 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child says, a child means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.
What is the Convention on the Rights of the Child?
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, often referred to as CRC or UNCRC, is an international convention setting out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of children. Nations that ratify this international convention are bound by it by international law.
The Convention- on the Rights of the Child defines basic rights of children covering multiple needs and issues. India endorsed it on December 11, 1992. Following are a few rights in the immediate purview.
The right to Education: 50% of Indian children aged 6-18 do not go to school Dropout rates increase alarmingly in class III to V, its 50% for boys, 58% for girls.
The right to Expression: Every child has a right to express himself freely in which ever way he likes. Majority of children however are exploited by their elders and not allowed to express.
The right to Information: Every child has a right to know his basic rights and his position in the society. High incidence of illiteracy and ignorance among the deprived and underprivileged children prevents them from having access to information about them and their society.
The right to Nutrition: More than 50% of India's children are malnourished. While one in every five adolescent boys is malnourished, one in every two girls in India is undernourished.
The right to Health and Care: 58% of India's children below the age of 2 years are not fully vaccinated. And 24% of these children do not receive any form of vaccination. Over 60% of children in India are anemic. 95 in every 1000 children born in India, do not see their fifth birthday. 70 in every 1000 children born in India, do not see their first birthday.
The right to protection from Abuse: There are approximately 2 million child commercial sex workers between the age of 5 and 15 years and about 3.3 million between 15 and 18 years. They form 40% of the total population of commercial sex workers in India. 500,000 children are forced into this trade every year.
The right to protection from Exploitation: 17 million children in India work as per official estimates. A study found that children were sent to work by compulsion and not by choice, mostly by parents, but with recruiter playing a crucial role in influencing decision. When working outside the family, children put in an average of 21 hours of labour per week. Poor and bonded families often "sell" their children to contractors who promise lucrative jobs in the cities and the children end up being employed in brothels, hotels and domestic work. Many run away and find a life on the streets.
The right to protection from Neglect: Every child has a right to lead a well protected and secure life away from neglect. However, children working under exploitative and inhuman conditions get neglected badly.
The right to Development: Every child has the right to development that lets the child explore her/his full potential. Unfavourable living conditions of underprivileged children prevents them from growing in a free and uninhibited way.
The right to Recreation: Every child has a right to spend some time on recreational pursuits like sports, entertainment and hobbies to explore and develop. Majority of poor children in India do not get time to spend on recreational activities.
The right to Name & Nationality: Every child has a right to identify himself with a nation. A vast majority of underprivileged children in India are treated like commodities and exported to other countries as labour or prostitutes.
The right to Survival: Of the 12 million girls born in India. 3 million do not see their fifteenth birthday, and a million of them are unable to survive even their first birthday. Every sixth girl child's death is due to gender discrimination.