The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child ( UNCRC ) emerged in 1989 as a consensus consequence among assorted Fieldss and states by series of audience procedure for more than decennary. This convention was emerge as a consensus among assorted interest holders including authoritiess, community leaders, non-governmental organisations ( NGOs ) , kids ‘s development expertness every bit good as human rights expertness all over the world..
The preamble of UNCRC mentioned that “ Remembering that, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations has proclaimed that childhood is entitled to particular attention and aid ” ( United-Nations, 1989 ) which clearly mentioned that the kids are the specific group of human existences with specific right to have particular attention and protection in order to have the proper development.
This UNCRC respects both cultural value every bit good as single traditions in fostering kids. It besides acknowledges the cardinal rights towards all kids with no favoritism for their proper development in their life. This UNCRC do it implementable by taking into history of all the states all over the universe whether the kids are from developing or developed universe as they may possess different legal systems.
The convention itself is besides cosmopolitan in footings of the rights it ensures to all immature people. This is non to state that it ignores issues that are more prevailing in the underdeveloped universe ( as in the instance of kid soldiers ) , but its linguistic communication is cosmopolitan and can be loosely applied.
Many would state that this is the ground why the convention has been so widely accepted on the international scene. The UNCRC is, already ratified by 193 states and in fact, it is the most widely ratified UN papers of all time. Harmonizing to United Nations Children Funds ( UNICEF ) , the UN specialized designated bureau for implementing and monitoring of kids rights, mentioned that the confirmation of the UNCRC means that states
“accept an duty to esteem, protect, promote and carry through the enumerated rights— including by following or altering Torahs and policies that implement the commissariats of the Convention” ( UNICEF, 1989b ; United-Nations, 1989 ) .
Understanding UNCRC and Child Rights
UNCRC contain four chief subdivisions: the Preamble puting out the major implicit in rules and context of UNCRC ; the 2nd one, substantial articles ( Part I ) puting out all the kids ‘s rights and the authoritiess ‘ duties ( Articles 1-41 ) ; the execution commissariats ( Part II ) specifying the mechanism for monitoring and fosterage of good to conformity with the UNCRC ( Articles 42-45 ) ; and the last one, the conditions ( Part III ) under which the UNCRC comes into force ( Articles 46-54 ) ( UNICEF, 1989a ; United-Nations, 1989 ) .
The Preamble of the UNCRC mentioned that when sing the well being and growing of kids, the household is a cardinal unit of society every bit good as the natural environment.
Hence, the preamble stated that the necessary protection and aid should supply to the household as a cardinal duties within the community. ( UNICEF, 1989a ) .
The Substantive Articles
The substantial articles i.e. , from Articles 1-41, mentioned a item different type of right. And these different types of right mentioned in UNCRC are group into similar articles together under the undermentioned subjects:
- Survival rights: Every kid ‘s has a right to life. It includes shelter, nutrition, an equal life criterion, and entree to indispensable medical services which are needed as the most basic to existence as human being.
- Development rights: including the right to play, leisure, instruction, entree to information, cultural activities, freedom of ideas and looks, scruples and faith.
- Protection rights: including safeguarding from all signifiers of force, maltreatment, disregard and development and to guarantee the protective environment for kids, including refugee kids, kids in the condemnable justness system, protection from child labors ; protection and rehabilitation for kids who are victims of development or maltreatment of any sort ( physical, psychological, sexual maltreatments ) .
- Engagement rights: including the kids ‘s freedom or chance to show their ain sentiments in many ways, particularly when related to their ain lives and being, to piece peacefully and besides chance to organize associations. The ultimate end of this engagement right is for readying of kids to go responsible maturity by practising their abilities to develop and supply increased chances in assorted activities of their society during their childhood. ( UNICEF, 1989a ) .
General Principles or Steering Principles
Within the UNCRC, there are four basic basicss to the execution of all other rights and these are normally referred to as ‘general rules ‘ or ‘guiding rules ‘ ( UNICEF, 1989a ) . These are:
- Non favoritism – All the rights guaranteed by the UNCRC must be available without favoritism of any sort to all kids ( Article 2 ) ;
- Best involvement of the kid – All actions refering kids should be done with the best involvement of the kid as primary consideration ( Article 3 ) ;
- Survival and development – Every kid has the right to their life, their being and endurance and their normal biological and psychological development ( Article 6 ) ; and
- Participation – Previously known as taking into history of “ Child ‘s position ” , and now called “ Child Participation ” must besides be considered and taken into history, every bit good as pattern by affecting the kid determination every bit much as possible in all affairs impacting him or her ( Article 12 ) .
As economic, societal and cultural rights are ever covering together with civil and political rights, the UNCRC has designed and adopted in an incorporate and holistic attack towards the rights of the kid by sing all these rights. One of import thing to understand is that, the ranking of rights mentioned in UNCRC are non in order of importance ; alternatively it is an incorporate papers to organize dynamic parts because they are interacting one another ( UNICEF, 1989a ) .
UNCRC and Hong Kong
In 1991, the Government of the United Kingdom ratified the UNCRC with certain reserves and declarations. Again in 1994, the United Kingdom extended its confirmation of UNCRC to Hong Kong as Hong Kong is under the British Colonial up to twelvemonth 1997. The current authorities of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region ( HKSAR ) , the People ‘s Republic of China had ratified this UNCRC in 1991.
Any authoritiess that ratify the UNCRC must describe to the Committee on the Rights of the Child as one of the duty under the Convention of the Rights of the Child. Within two old ages of confirmation, the sanctioned authorities demands to describe on the state of affairs of kids ‘s rights in their state are made, followed by every five old ages describing on the state of affairs of kids ‘s rights.
Once the Hong Kong entered into the China authorities, the UNCRC study for Hong Kong is combined with and reported under the mainland China UNCRC study. The Hong Kong first study, as portion of China ‘s 2nd study, was submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in June 2003.
Current Child Right Situation and Challenges in Hong Kong
In this chapter, I will seek to analyse the state of affairs and challenges of kid right in Hong Kong based upon the four chief classs of rights identified by UNCRC, endurance, development, protection and engagement rights.
Presently, the figure of kids age below 14 old ages is 12.3 % of the entire population. The figure of kids population under 18 old ages of age, which is defined by UNCRC, there is no authorities functionary informations ( Census and Statistics Department, 2009 ) . But it is estimated that 1.3 million of kids aged under 18 old ages of age accounting for around 20 % of the entire local population ( CHOW, 2009 ) .
The Department of Health of Hong Kong Government provides a comprehensive wellness attention services every bit good as disease bar services for kids. These services are delivered through maternal and child-health ( MCH ) centres. These services include wellness and developmental surveillance services including immunisation, supplying counsel on kid attention and parenting for parents and care-givers ( Global Institute For Tomorrow, 2006 ) . Antenatal ( AN Care ) , postpartum ( PN Care ) and household planning services are besides provided for all pregnant adult females. These all resulted that the infant mortality rate ( decease under 1 twelvemonth of age ) is 2.92 which is 5th least infant mortality rate all over the universe of 220 states ( Cardinal Intelligence Agency, 2009 ) bespeaking that there is no really much overall job upon the survival rights of the kids of Hong Kong.
But still there are many challenges and room for betterment such as fifth part of Hong Kong-born kids do non hold occupant position. And besides there is authorities policy taking to the favoritism towards non-resident position kids towards lodging, societal security and wellness attention every bit good as household integrity ( COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD, 2005 ) . The primary or preventive health-care plan can non supply the benefits towards these kids which phenomenon is against the cardinal guiding rule of non-discrimination of UNCRC. These all might take to long-run result of the kids non merely in the failure in endurance of the kids but besides in development or behaviour or in growing. Health attention sector of the Hong Kong authorities put big attempts towards the paediatric attention for kid endurance but it was chiefly in the signifier of in-patient by increasing figure of beds, cut downing the figure of yearss stay in the infirmaries etc. But another yet of import portion of kid endurance, the psycho-social attention for these kids are neglected. Due to this deficiency of psycho-social attention towards kids, there is important increasing of new diseases or morbidities such as substance and drug maltreatment, intoxicant maltreatment, eating upsets and fleshiness, psychosomatic upsets, calculated self-harm, kid maltreatment and disregard, and school force. There is an increasing tendency of kids who are committed or involved in self-destruction which is in danger of disputing the survival right of kid. There are 17 school kids suicide instance in twelvemonth 2004 due to the ground that there is a force per unit area from their school or academic work burden every bit good as unmanageable emotional jobs. A Chinese University research study conducted in twelvemonth 2003 besides resulted that about 11 % of secondary school pupils expressed that they have suicide ideas which was a shocking information ( “ Four per cent of adolescents repeatedly attempt self-destruction, ” 13 April 2004 ) . This determination was once more confirmed by the Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention, the University of Hong Kong, adverting that approximately 28 to 42 per cents of secondary school pupils have suicide ideas ( “ Teachers to assist undertake pupil self-destructions, ” 21 September 2006 ) . It besides mentioned that one out of five striplings had experienced moderate to strong depressive symptoms whereas up to 2.8 % of them had attempted suicide in the old two months ( Global Institute For Tomorrow, 2006 ) .
In Hong Kong, as it is economically really vivacious environment, most of the parents including female parent demand to work and they usually left their kid at place entirely particularly when the kids finished their school clip. And besides the figure of single-parent households is increasing which once more lead to go forthing child entirely at place which all favour more kids and stripling to hold clip to believe and see for this suicide ideas and ideations and even efforts ( Global Institute For Tomorrow, 2006 ) .
There is besides addition in tendency for household violencein Hong Kong. When detecting the homicide instances including kid homicides, there found out that these were chiefly caused by household differences. And kids from the household force terminal up with victims of kid maltreatment. Most of the married womans of these households mentioned that that their hubby had abused their kids whenever there is struggle either by physically maltreatment or mentally or psychologically abused, and some even the worst, sexually abused. There is besides increased in the figure of instances in the Child Protection Registry of Hong Kong with 481 reported child-abuse instances in 2003 and, 763 instances in 2005 ( Global Institute For Tomorrow, 2006 ) .
The spread between rich and poorinHong Kong is alsoone of the biggest among the universe ‘s developed metropoliss. And now one of the major concerns in Hong Kong is Children in poorness, because about around 11 % of the child population is now having and lasting with the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance ( CSSA ) . Many of these kids are populating unhealthily with really crowded, polluted and unhygienic environment. Some kids are making as roll uping and selling rubbish and discarded points particularly paper box or sketch to supply and back up their household income. As their parents and households are the receivers of CSSA, their life opportunities are really low comparison to the other kids of their same age. This can independently impact the development of the kid both in biologically and psychologically.
One of themajor factors for kids development is the leisure and drama. It is really important for kids to hold a pleasant drama environments, every bit good as safety resort area. But in Hong Kong, most of the public resort areas are either within the public Parkss or inside the same lodging estates or inside the shopping promenades. This type of resort areas can non supply the demands of kids where the focal point of drama should be for escapade, assortment, drama aspirations, handiness and different picks and merely these can ensue in the developmental value for kids.
When looking at the policy doing flat by policy shapers and legislators, the kids ‘s positions are ne’er considered nor accounted. In instruction reforms, there are series of audience was done but chiefly concentrate on instructors, school direction and parents but did non account the kids who are in fact the focal and direct receivers of this reform. And besides in most of the divorce instances, determinations are made upon sing of parents ‘ fiscal conditions to take of the kids and wholly pretermiting the kids ‘s positions for their ain kid detention and attention agreements determinations. The legal system and procedure in Hong Kong did non supply a room or chance for kids to do audience and/or engagement. There are besides some issues sing the changing of family name for kids when their female parent remarries. The kids might non be in psychologically prepared to alter or to construct the relationship with their measure father but there is any legal protection for such sort of instances.
It is besides surprise to establish out that there is no comprehensive Plan of Action for the execution of the UNCRC even though Hong Kong is ratified it and it is one of the national commission out of 36 national commissions of UNICEF all over the universe. And the coordination of bing plan and policies with the sanctioned UNCRC are instead really much in the signifier of sectoral and disconnected.
There is a deficiency of consciousness and apprehension of UNCRC among the general public even though it has been translated even to minority linguistic communications demoing that the policy protagonism towards conventions is still missing.
Discussion for why Children Commission is needed
When looking at the different states, there are different theoretical accounts to implement the sanctioned convention. For illustration, Norway has an independent “ Ombudsman ” within the Ministry of Children where as in Scotland, they has Commissioner for Children which promotes the protagonism of kids ‘s rights. In UK and Canada, there is a Children ‘s Commission which has an independent officer who is runing outside of the authorities organic structures for reexamining, mensurating and supervising the effectivity of authorities child-related steps. In Australia and New Zealand, they established kids ‘s committee that carries out assorted study and research towards kids rights state of affairss every bit good every bit moving as a monitoring mechanism towards the kids rights. Even in China and India, they follow national plan through organizing bureaus ( Global Institute For Tomorrow, 2006 ) .
But in “ Third Hong Kong UNCRC Report ” in 2005, the Government still considered and expressed that “ bing agreements were effectual, enabling us to do flexible and speedy responses to turn to concerns of the populace on kids. ” In reacting to that Hong Kong Government sentiment, UNCRC in the concluding observation recommended that Hong Kong should set up an independent kid committee to implement and supervise the execution of UNCRC foregrounding at that place a demand for that ( COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD, 2005 ) . Even though many bookmans and professionals who are working upon kids rights repeatedly mentioned, the authorities ne’er considered or supply proper acknowledgment of the rights of the kid as an single despite confirmation of UNCRC.
In 2006, an Alliance on Children ‘s Commission was formed by 23 NGOs to recommend, ground, persuade, anteroom if non pressurized the Government for puting up of a Children Commission to safeguard and advance the rights and wellbeing for the benefit of kids of Hong Kong but alternatively of a kids committee, the authorities formed merely a Family Council was formed in December 2007 ( CHOW, 2009 ) . Many committees such as Youth Commission, Elderly Commission and Women ‘s Commission and even household council contain no footings of mention for kids.
Even though Hong Kong authorities has claimed repeatedly that the current societal protection for kids is equal but as discussed above, there are many countries or suites to better for the execution and promoting of the rights of the kids even in four chief classs of kid rights, endurance, development, protection and engagement.
There is no “ State of the Child Report in Hong Kong ” , which should be published yearly for all the states who ratified UNCRC. Without that, the holistic and comprehensive image of the state of affairs of kids every bit good as the policies to react and an appraisal of what plants can non be seen in when mensurating with the sanctioned convention. And besides in the Population Census every bit good as Facts about Hong Kong, the Theme studies chiefly focus on adult females, young person, and elderly but non on the Children.
Children are “ unseeable ” or “ neglected ” in many countries of Hong Kong policies ensuing that their experiences remain concealed. The kids are informed or consulted during the procedure of determination doing which may hold far making deductions.
The authorities may reason that whether the formation of Children Commission can truly works or non. Even though there are rather a few surveies upon effectivity of Children ‘s Commission but all these surveies showed promising consequences that it does assist back up for policy development, answerability and coordination, execution and monitoring, advancing greater promotion on policy on kids and their rights ( CHOW, 2009 ) .
As mentioned above, many states ‘ experiences show the strong grounds support that there is a despairing demand to put up a child-focused organisation such as kids committee to stand for, talk out, program and proctor on the best involvement of kids for the improvement of the kids in Hong Kong for the state hereafter.
Census and Statistics Department. ( 2009 ) . Hong Kong – The Fact.
Cardinal Intelligence Agency. ( 2009 ) . The World Fact Book.
CHOW, C. ( 2009 ) . Asia ‘s World City Deserves a Child Commission. Hong Kong Journal of Paediatrics ( new series ) ( 14 ) , 70-73.
Committee ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD. ( 2005 ) . CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 44 OF THE CONVENTION-Concluding Observation.
Four per cent of adolescents repeatedly attempt self-destruction. ( 13 April 2004 ) . South China Morning Post.
Global Institute For Tomorrow. ( 2006 ) . A Children ‘s Commission for Hong Kong- Determining the Future. Hong Kong.
Teachers to assist undertake pupil self-destructions. ( 21 September 2006 ) . South China Morning Post, .
UNICEF. ( 1989a ) . Convention on the Rights of the Child. from hypertext transfer protocol: //www.unicef.org/crc/
UNICEF. ( 1989b ) . Definition of cardinal footings.
United-Nations. ( 1989 ) . Convention on the Rights of the Child.