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Introduction to UNCRC
If you work as childminder, in a day care, a crèche or preschool, is a parent or just interested in the subject, join this free online course about Children’s rights. It is designed to provide an introduction to the UNCRC. The course is composed, as a short, self-paced e-learning course to use on your own or by groups or working teams. This e-learning course will help you to learn about children and young people’s rights.
The course is built up in five short lessons, one quiz and three of the lessons contains assignments. Free material are included in the course as PDFs. You can see a presentation of the the material in the brochure below.
Gunilla Holmberg is the founder of Playtime Seychelles, Playtime Seychelles blog and Playtime Seychelles Online Learning. She is a former preeschool teacher and an international vocational teacher that has been teaching and training becoming staff for daycare, crech and preeschool.
The lessons you will find in the sidebar under Introduction UNCRC- lessons or in categories lessons.
History of UNCRC
Content of UNCRC
Monitoring body, Optional protocols and General comment
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child often abbreviated as the CRC or UNCRC is a human rights treaty dedicated to children and was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989.
The idea that children should have rights goes much further back than 1989. Already in the beginning of 20th century some activist started to promote the idea that children should have rights.
In the aftermath of First World War, Eglantyne Jebb the founder of Save the Children wrote the draft of the declaration on the Rights of the Child and together with others she campaigned for the first Internationaldeclaration on the Rights of the Child adopted by the League of Nations in 1924.
The United Nation adopted an expanded version of the declaration 1959. None of these declaration was legally binding. During the International Year of the child 1979 Poland proposed, that it should be a convention for children. During the next 10 years countries around the world debated and negotiated, the text to what should become the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world. Every country in the world except one has ratified CRC.
*Ratify: sign or give formal consent to (a treaty, contract, or agreement), making it officially valid.
1924 Declaration was based on ideas of child welfare, rather than child rights, assuming that children require adult protection in order to ensure the exercise of their rights. Also in1959 UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child children continued to be seen as objects of international human rights law and not as subjects of rights. A charity approach responding to children’s ‘needs’ reinforces power imbalances, relies on sympathy and is not sustainable. CRC is an approach based on child ‘rights’ grounded in obligations and accountability, working with children, not just for them,
UNCRC is making it clear that, with respect to international human rights law, children are active subjects. They not only require certain forms of protection in addition to the entitlements of human rights law, they also require special forms of protection, because they are in a vulnerable position, both legally and developmentally. These entitlements include the right to have their opinion taken into consideration, when adults take decisions on their behalf, to express their views and to join or form associations that represent their own interests.
Everyone has human rights. As independent human beings, children have human rights. UNCRC is an international Human Rights agreement based on the three core principles of human rights Dignity, Equality and Respect. UNCRC sets a global rights agenda for every person under the age 18 years old. The Convention is the only treaty specifically designed for children to ensure their rights will be met as independent citizens
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is a legally-binding international agreement, setting out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of every child, regardless of their wealth, gender, ethnicity, religion, location, ability or any other factor.
Nations that ratifies UNCRC are bound to it by international law; ratifying states must act in the best interest of the child.
The UNCRC describes the obligation state parties have to all children living within its border. The convention is wide reaching and covers many aspects of children’s lives.
States have the responsibility to create the legislation and policy framework, and provide resources, so that UNCRC can be realized.
Rights are described as articles and there are 54 articles in the Convention. There are 4 articles that apply across all other rights in the Convention.
Rights are indivisible, interdependent and inalienable
The rights in CRC are indivisible and interdependent. Fulfilling one right helps to fulfil other rights, failure to provide for one right can affect the enjoyment of other rights. Rights are inalienable that means they can’t be rewoked, transferred or denied. They can’t be used as reward or punishments.
The principle of non-discrimination means that anyone, making decisions or taking actions about children must be fair for all children, with equal opportunities given to all children. The best interest of the child means that all adults should do what is best for children in all their decisions and actions which could affect children. The right to life, survival and development means that no one can take a child’s life away and must do their best so that children can develop to their full potential. Respect for the views of the child, means that people taking decisions about children should discuss them with children to get their opinion.
The other rights can be categorized into 5 categories.
Individuals and groups who benefit from human rights treaties are called rights holders.
Children under 18 years are Right Holders.
Parents are also Right Holders. They are entitled to assistance from the State in raising their children and they are entitled to provide their child with advice and guidance.
Duty bearers are those defined as having obligations under the CRC for respect, protection and fulfillment of children’s rights. The State and everybody that works or act on the behalf of the State such as teachers, police, social workers, judges, lawyers, health care workers etc. are duty bearers and are responsible for realizing the rights of allchildren.
That means that duty bearers must consider and apply the provision of the Convention in all aspects of their work that defect children, respect, protect and fulfill all the obligations that they have signed up for. For example if there is a culture of bullying on a school, the school have to take appropriate action so all children can feel safe and learn.
Monitoring body, Optional Protocol and General Comment
The monitoring body of the UNCRC is the Committee on the Rightsof the Child and was established by the UNCRC. The Committee is an independent body of 18 experts elected by the State Parties. State Parties must submit a progress report every five year and their assessments are supplemented with information from other organizations like NGOs and Children’s Commissioners and children can also submit evidence to the committee.
The Committee enters into “constructive dialogue” with states, and the output from the whole process is a report called the Concluding Observations and it summaries the Committees view on the status of UNCRC in the country. The report also contains recommended measures to be taken by the state and also includes implementation and improvement recommendation to each individual country, which will be reviewed next time the state is examined.
Click on the link below and search the Concluding Observation for your country.
The Committee has no way of enforcing its views, but the open reporting process makes states publicly and internationally accountable.
The committee suggests that an independent children’s ombudsman is one way to ensure that the convention is properly implemented. Countries must make sure that the Convention is widely known by both adults and children. Regular training of both adults and children contributes to awareness about the convention and respect for the rights of children.
Optional Protocols to the UNCRC
Like many other human rights treaties, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is followed by Optional Protocols. These are additional parts to a treaty that can:
further address something in the original treaty, or
address something the original treaty doesn’t mention, such as an issue that didn’t exist when it was first adopted.
Optional Protocols give more detail about the area they discuss, and expand a state’s obligations beyond those given in the original treaty.
A state that signs up to the UNCRC isn’t required to sign up to its Optional Protocols
Two optional protocols were adopted on 25 May 2000.
The first Optional Protocol restricts the involvement of children in military conflicts, and the Second Optional Protocol prohibits the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
Both protocols have been ratified by more than 160 states.
A third Optional Protocol relating to communication of complaints was adopted in December 2011 and opened for signature on 28 February 2012. It came into effect on 14 April 2014.
The purpose of a general comment is to widen and deepen understanding of a particular aspect of the Convention and to reflect the changing conditions under which children grow up. The General Comment is an official document that clarifies for the governments worldwide the meaning and importance of an article of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and clearly defines the responsibilities of governments that have signed the Convention. The General Comment will provide guidance to the States Parties and raise awareness.
Play is so important to optimal development of a child that it has an article (31) of its own in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
States Parties recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.
States Parties shall respect and promote the right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity.
General Comment on Article 31
The UN General Comment on article 31(General Comment 17) was adopted by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on Friday 1st February 2013. General comment puts the spotlight on article 31 and provides ammunitionto revisit and advocate for the child’s right to play.
The General comment was produced to address the concerns the Committee had over the poor recognition given by States to art.31 based on the reviews of the implementation of the UNCRC.International Play Association IPA took a lead role in the development of the General Comment.
To safeguard children’s rights it requires that we have a rights–based approach, it means that we must take account of children’s rights standards and principles in all our work. A rights–based approach consists in a set of values and standards and a comprehensive and inclusive manner that apply to all children and their best interest, and the development of their capacities.
As early years practitioners, health workers, teachers, social workers and parents you can ask yourself the following questions or discuss them together with your colleagues.
Is every child in this setting seen as equal? Do we treat all children equally and according to their needs whatever their race, colour, religion, sex or nationality?
Does every child have what he or she needs in order to promote their healthy mental, emotional and physical development?
Is every child respected here? Do I say and spell their name correctly? Do I make efforts to know and understand their background and nationality?
Do all children have sufficient nutritious food?
Are all children living in a home that is safe and secure and promotes their wellbeing?
Do all children have the medical treatment and care they need?
Are children’s diverse learning and development needs provided for?
Are all children loved, understood and cared for in ways which meet their needs?
Do all children have access to the play, learning, and recreation time and space they need?
Are all children given protection from cruelty, neglect and exploitation?
There has always been a long standing focus on protecting vulnerable children from suffering as a charitable response, with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child children no longer have to rely on charity or kindness to meet their needs. Full implementation of UNCRC ensures children the entitlement to that Equality, Dignity and Respect is upheld.
Make the mobile with your child group, your own children, or by yourself or with collegues, if you don’t have any children around. Download and read the guidance. Downlooad the mobile material 1 and 2 . Download the story books and the rabbit pictures. When the mobile is ready send a photo of the mobile to