Children Rights

A child is any human being below the age of eighteen years, unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier." According to Cornell University, a child is a person, not a sub person, and the parent has absolute interest and possession of the child. There are no definitions of other terms used to describe young people such as "adolescents", "teenagers," or "youth" in international law, but the children's rights movement is considered distinct from the youth rights movement.

Children's rights are the human rights of children with particular attention to the rights of special protection and care afforded to the young, including their right to association with both biological parents, human identity as well as the basic needs for food, universal state-paid education, health care and criminal laws appropriate for the age and development of the child. Interpretations of children's rights range from allowing children the capacity for autonomous action to the enforcement of children being physically, mentally and emotionally free from abuse, though what constitutes "abuse" is a matter of debate. Other definitions include the rights to care and nurturing.

The field of children's rights spans the fields of law, politics, religion, and morality. (ii) Types of children rights: Children's rights are defined in numerous ways, including a wide spectrum of civil, cultural, economic, social and political rights. Rights tend to be of two general types: those advocating for children as autonomous persons under the law and those placing a claim on society for protection from harms perpetrated on children because of their dependency. These have been labeled as the right of empowerment and as the right to protection. One Canadian organization categorizes children's rights into three categories:

• Provision: Children have the right to an adequate standard of living, health care, education and services, and to play and recreation. These include a balanced diet, a warm bed to sleep in, and access to schooling. • Protection: Children have the right to protection from abuse, neglect, exploitation and discrimination. This includes the right to safe places for children to play; constructive child rearing behavior, and acknowledgment of the evolving capacities of children. • Participation: Children have the right to participate in communities and have programs and services for themselves. This includes children's involvement in libraries and community programs, youth voice activities, and involving children as decision-makers. In a similar fashion, the Child Rights Information Network, or CRIN for short, categorizes rights into two groups: Economic, social and cultural rights, related to the conditions necessary to meet basic human needs such as food, shelter, education, health care, and gainful employment. Included are rights to education, adequate housing, food, water, the highest attainable standard of health, the right to work and rights at work, as well as the cultural rights of minorities and indigenous people.

• Environmental, cultural and developmental rights, which are sometimes called "third generation rights," and including the right to live in safe and healthy environments and that groups of people have the right to cultural, political, and economic development. Amnesty International openly advocates four particular children's rights, including the end to juvenile incarceration without parole, an end to the recruitment of military use of children, ending the death penalty for people under 21, and raising awareness of human rights in the classroom. Human Rights Watch, an international advocacy organization, includes child labor, juvenile justice, orphans and abandoned children, refugees, street children and corporal punishment.

Scholarly study generally focuses children's rights by identifying individual rights. The following rights "allow children to grow up healthy and free".

• Freedom of speech
• Freedom of thought
• Freedom from fear
• Freedom of choice and the right to make decisions
• Ownership over one's body

Other issues affecting children's rights include the military use of children, sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

(iii) Situation of Children in India: The children of India continue to be the most vulnerable section of the society and their growth and development remains a major concern. In India, the population of children below 18 is as high as 41%. A large proportion of these children languish in the quagmire of apathy and alienation, suffering from the worst forms of deprivation and abject poverty and are victims of various forms of exploitation and abuse.

Some Facts
• With a population of over 1 billion, India is home to 400 million children, the largest number in any country in the world.
• One third of the world’s children living in poverty are in India.
• A staggering 10,000 babies die every single Day from easily preventable causes such as malnutrition and diarrhea.
• More than 2 million babies die each year before they celebrate their first birthday.
• Every 6th girl-child’s death is due to gender discrimination, also known as female infanticide.
• Over 10 million children go to sleep on the pavement each night hungry and unprotected.
• Over 40% of children live in poverty and extreme hardship.

• Nearly half of India’s children are deprived of their fundamental right to education each Day.
• A startling two-thirds of girl-children cannot read or write.
Exploitation of Children
• India is home to the largest population of working children in the world with an estimated 111 million children struggling as child labours - most often working in hazardous and degrading conditions, for an average of 12 hours a Day and earning extremely small wages.
• The third largest crime in India after drugs and gun smuggling is child trafficking – over 45,000 children go missing each year.
• Over 2 million children, mainly girls aged 5-15, are forced into prostitution and sexual slavery.
• Each year 500,000+ children are forced into the sex trade with an annual increase of 10%
Children are the future of a nation. Yet they have been neglected a lot in India, which is evident from the existence of infant mortality, child morbidity, child malnutrition, childhood disability, child abuse, child labor, child prostitution, street children, child beggary, child marriage, juvenile delinquency, drug addiction and illiteracy.