The National Commission on the Rights of the Child

by Chitrayikha Dass
Guyana Chronicle
November 21, 2000

IF discrimination against children were eliminated all children would be recognised as human beings with basic rights as individuals rather than as property of their families and communities.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child outlines specifically the concept that children have human rights as individual human beings.

The definition of a child is any one below the age of 18 years, even though countries may set lower age of majority for criminal responsibility, marriage and for the purpose of voting.

Special focus on Articles 6, 24 and 27 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child relates to the survival of children.

Article 6 states that a child has the right to live. Everyone in our society should recognise that children have a right to live.

Article 24 states that a child has the right to good health. Every child has the right to healthy medical and physical development and should be given professional care and medicines when they are sick.

Article 27 states that a child has the right to a good standard of living. Children should be given adequate food, housing, clothing and should live around proper sanitation. They are entitled to the other basic amenities of life and have a special right to the provision of these needs.

These three concepts for survival will not conclude the rights and life cycle of our children.

Every child should be treated equally, regardless of race, colour, religion, nationality, political opinion, gender, ownership of property, physical or mental disability.

Every child has a right to a name and nationality and should know that he or she is being cared for by his or her parents.

Every child should be protected from physical or mental violence, abuse or injury and should be free from neglect and exploitation.

Every child should participate in cultural activities and artistic life because he or she has the right to play.

Every child with disabilities has the right to receive special care and attention and should enjoy a full life in society.

Every child has a right to education at least to primary level.

As parents we are all committed and obligated to the rights of our children. We have to remember always that they did not ask us to be here and we have to love and care for them.

Children must not only be seen, but must be heard. We have a duty to nurture and shape their views and opinions in order to prepare them for the realities of tomorrow.

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