Child Right


Samuel Olomu

Child rights are fundamental freedoms and the inherent right of all human beings below the age of 18. This right applies to all children, irrespective of the background, race, color, parents/guardian, creed and gender. Children are innocent and of full hope. Children are trustworthy, naïve and hopeful. Their childhood should be filled with joy and love. To some children life is blissful because they live with joy. But for many children, the reality of childhood is altogether different. Children have the same right as adults in the society. Children are neither the property of their parents; they are human being and are the object of their own rights. Kahlil Gibran said in one of his novel, The Prophet that:

“Your children are not your children

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you yet they belong not to you

You may give them your words but not your thoughts

For they have their own thoughts,

You may house their bodies, but not their souls

For their soul dwells in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams,

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you”

Down memory lane, children have been abused and exploited. They suffered among other things, poverty, and homelessness, and high infant mortality, deficient health care and limited opportunities for basic education.  Childhood should be preserved as they should not be made to suffer through severe and excruciating conditions. Children have the right to survive, develop, be protected and participate in decisions that impact their lives. There are four basic rights a child should not be deprived of as provided for in 1989 by the United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child. The League of Nations adopts the Geneva Declaration of Rights of the Child, drafted by Eglantyne Jebb. The declaration articulates that all people owe children the right to: means for their development; special help in times of need; priority of relief; economic freedom and protection from exploitation; and an upbringing that instills social consciousness and duty. This charter is built on the principle that “ALL children are born with fundamental freedoms and ALL human beings have some inherent rights”. The four basic right of child as entrenched in the declaration are;

1.       Survival

2.       Development

3.       Protection, and

4.       Participation

Firstly, the child or the young people are entitled to a right to survival, right to life, nutrition, name and nationality. The right to survival of the child entails the right to a healthy life. Children have the right to live, be safe, and have a say in how their lives are formed. Children nutrition should be of utmost concern to the government. The children should be assured of adequate safety. They should also be assured of adequate nutrition and quality healthcare services.

Furthermore, the right to development that is right to education, innovation, care. Every child has the right to education and innovation which will give him or her insight into the world and make the child explore his/her full potential. Education is virtually what we can use to change the world therefore if children are given these rights they are being given the mandate to change the world in the future and also in the smallest possible way they can in this present time. Such right if deprived of children will therefore be illegal and unconstitutional. Aside from learning, the children should also be given positive education of tolerance, understanding, perseverance and friendship among all nations which is free from racial discrimination and will as a result contribute to maintenance of peace in the world. If the children are given the right to education and innovation and are instilled with positive orientation and sensitization at this early stage of their life then they will be a veritable tool for national/world development as well as inclusion in the nearest future.

Moreover, the children have the right to protection that is right from exploitation, abuse, torture and any form of intimidation. This right oversees that all children are nurtured, protected and guided from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation in any form. This is the reason why their needs are to be provided for by their parents and families and not subjecting them to work or having them face any kind of physical or mental abuse. They are also to be shielded by their parents and the state from any external factors that may hamper their life. They are to be nurtured with love and they should not be subjected to torture of any form though they stand to be corrected.

Another basic Right of the Child is the right to participation. The children have the right to participation, to expression, to information, thought, association and religion. Since children are impacted by almost every aspect of government policy they should be included in the thought process of their immediate societies. Any policy that ignores the needs of children has a negative effect on the future of all members of the society. Children are seen as citizens with little or no knowledge; they are excluded from political meetings and some other gathering of reason that concerns them.  Children’s voices go unheard on several crucial topics that concern them now or may affect them in the future if particular attention is not paid for their viewpoints. Children do not vote and do not participate in democratic process. Children’s opinions should be respected and taking into account during election process. Many societal changes have negative consequences on children. Globalization, mass migration, climate change, digitization and diminishing social safety and if the children are included in the thought process to decide against these changes, I think things will work out well.

In conclusion, all citizens must be held accountable for ensuring child rights for every child in the country. And hopefully, some world organizations and movements’ United Nations International Children Emergency Fund, UNICEF works to ensure these rights are discharged to all underprivileged children, girl child, street children, children enslaved in labor, physically and mentally challenged children, children used for commercial sex, and children in juvenile institutions. Aside from the institutions that provides for this right, the citizens also have a role to play in this regard by ensuring they do not abdicate their own part of responsible parenthood and the governments of states should also maintain the status quo. Violating a child’s right is tantamount to violating the right of the entire world.