The United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is a human rights treaty setting out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the child. The United Nations General Assembly adopted the UNCRC in 1989.
The UNCRC presents children as human beings and subject of their own rights. It also offers a vision of the child as an individual as well as a member of a family and community; with rights and responsibilities appropriate to his or her age and the stage of developments.
The rights in the UNCRC can be divided into six categories:
Civil & Political Freedom
Family & Alternative Care
Education, Culture & Leisure
Health, Nutrition & Welfare
Special Protection Measures
The UNCRC is a very important statement that children have rights as individuals and are not just the property or subjects of their parents. At the same time, the UNCRC takes into account the fact that children have evolving capacities; as they grow they are able to take more and more responsibility for their own actions and decisions. Accordingly they should be given more and more say in how decisions affecting them are made.
Having rights is very important to ensure that all children are treated fairly and equally and to ensure that children can live happy and healthy lives where they are able to fulfill their potential and are given every opportunity to grow and develop.
At Bahay Tuluyan, we use a 'rainbow of rights' approach to help children remember the different categories of rights. Each category is assigned a particular color of the rainbow. When teaching children about rights we also recognise the corresponding responsibilities that go with rights. For example, while every child has the right to an education, they also have corresponding responsibilities; to get to school on time, to do their homework, be respectful to their teachers and classmates etc.
Having an understanding about rights helps children and adults ensure that rights are protected.
The UNCRC is monitored through reports. Each country that is a signatory to the UNCRC is required to submit a report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child every five years. This report should explain how children's rights are being fulfilled in their country. The Committee will then reply, giving the country recommendations on how the children's rights situation can be improved. As well as an official government report, most countries also submit an 'Alternative Report' expressing the views of those people and organizations not working with the government, such as NGOs. In the Philippines Bahay Tuluyan contributes to the preparation of the Alternative Report.
Bahay Tuluyan uses the UNCRC as a teaching tool in its programs and as a training tool for other community organisations and partners. To enquire about our UNCRC training please email firstname.lastname@example.org.