The genesis of Child Rights was a document drafted by Eglantyne Jebb, founder of Save the Children, in 1923. The document was the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which was then adopted by the United Nations in 1959. After seeing millions of children reeling from the aftermath of World War I, she pioneered the formalization of child rights through the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which formed the base of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
- Jebb’s vision to see no child deprived of their childhood gave rise to Save the Children in 1919.
- The association between Save the Children and India, however, was forged when Mahatma Gandhi signed Jebb’s ‘Declaration of the Rights of the Child’ in 1931.
- Later, in 1991, to become an ethical labour market to international organizations, India formally consented the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Children in 1992.
The Convention originated from Jebb’s desire to end the suffering of children, by providing them with a healthy, happy, and safe environment that nurtured them physically, mentally,
What are Child Rights?
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) defines Child Rights as the minimum entitlements and freedoms that should be afforded to every citizen below the age of 18 regardless of race, national origin, colour, gender, language, religion, opinions, origin, wealth, birth status, disability, or other characteristics.
Child Rights and Save the Children
We are aware that many children, in India, are not able to access their basic rights. Formally established in India, in 2008, Save the Children has imbibed children’s rights at the core of its programmes, activities, and daily functioning, thus becoming India’s leading independent child rights NGO. Save the Children helps children exercise their rights; we anchor our programmes, advocacy, research and every undertaking so that every child is able to exercise his/her rights.
Save the Children continues to work on the front lines
- On-ground Activation
- Programmes and Campaigns
- Policy Influence
- Health and Nutrition
- Child Protection
- Emergency Relief
- Infrastructure for equal opportunities
- Through Temporary Learning Centres, Mobile Learning Centres, Distribution of Education Kits, Collaboration with local communities to form Children Groups and School Management Committees, Counseling Parents from Economically Weaker Sections, Training teachers to use child-friendly and interactive teaching-learning methods, and more.
- Through efforts on Child Survival, Newborn & Maternal Health, Health and Nutrition of Children affected by Emergencies and Natural Disaster, WASH – Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene, Collaboration with state and district-level government authorities, schools and Anganwadi centres, and more.
- Working with Children Groups; training them to identify and prevent themselves from mistreatment, Aiding underprivileged children’s enrollment into schools, Coordinating with district and state-level authorities to ensure implementation of laws protecting children, Setting up child-friendly spaces, and more.
- Implementing Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan to guide all Save the Children employees and implementing partners while preparing for and responding to emergencies. Responding to affected children & families with food, aid, water, and essential items, Rehabilitating affected children & families.
- Creating a framework for underprivileged children to not only survive but thrive.
Why are Child Rights important?
We are aware of various atrocities that take place against children; it is, therefore, imperative to legally safeguard them. Human Rights, at times, falls short wherein protection of children is concerned, worldwide; hence, children need more than just the basic Human Rights to protect their vulnerabilities.
The rights described in the Convention have been explained through the following fundamentals in reference to the articles. Articles cover all aspects of a child’s life and outline the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights that all children are entitled to. It also highlights the responsibility of adults and the government to ensure that all children can enjoy all their rights.
The Right to a IDENTITY
The Right TO HEALTH
The Right TO EDUCATION
The Right TO A FAMILY LIFE
The Right TO BE PROTECTED FROM VIOLENCE
The Right TO AN OPINION
The Right TO BE PROTECTED FROM ARMED CONFLICT
The Right TO BE PROTECTED FROM EXPLOITATION
India has seen the enforcement of various laws and policies, beginning with the 1890’s Guardians and Wards Act to 2017’s amendment of Standard Operating Procedure for Enforcement of the Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986. While children are bestowed with equal rights, not all their situations are similar, which is why there are several national laws and policies that specifically deal with different age-groups and segments of children.
Having stated all of the above, children, devoid of race, colour, religion, language, ethnicity, gender or abilities, are entitled to these rights. All children are equal, despite their difference.