Homa Arjomand

February 18 and 19, 2005

 

Speech at the Conference of “Children Rights Now” in regards to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its alternative

 

      The Convention on the rights of the Child and its    

      alternatives

 

I have no doubt that the Convention on the Rights of the Child which was adopted by General Assembly resolution 44/25 on 20 November 1989 is one that promoted social progress and better standards of life of the Child globally. 

 

For sure some of its articles can be adopted by the Maxima list which is of course the highest level of attainment with respect to progressive organizations in defence of children’s rights. My intention is not to focus on those progressive articles but rather on the inadequacy, conflicts and contradictions to the rights of children.

 

      In here I will touch on some of the inadequacies:

1-     There lacks on article in relation to recognition of the rights of the girls in the family or society at large for example amendments are required with regards to the imposition of housework, such as prohibition of imposing housework or specifically housekeeping duties on girls in the family; prohibition of hejab (head cover) or prohibition any restrictive that prevents girls from social, art and sport activities; prohibiting discrimination against girls; prohibiting boys/men’s privileges; prohibiting of any form of degrading, male- chauvinistic and unequal treatment of girls in families, public places, schools, governmental and non governmental.

 

     The declaration should emphasize a harsh punishment for the ones who     

     mentally, physically, emotionally and financially abuse girls.

 

2-     The Declaration of the rights of the Child did not oppose the imposition of religion on life of the children globally it also did not protect children from violation of religious ceremonies that contravened laws and regulations regarding health and environment, such as child mutilation and early child birth; prohibition of any physical or psychological coercion for acceptance of religion; prohibition of drawing children to any religious activities, ceremonies or sects. Children under the age of 16 can not be protected from the violent and inhuman religious ceremonies and activities without Separation of Religion from State and education only then the society can ensure the well-being of every child in every aspect of their lives.

 

 

3-     The Declaration has serious conflicts with the well-being of a child regardless of her family’s means and circumstances. The Declaration has hardly mentioned anything about the following issues:

 

A.   Abolition of common courts for children, and abolition of trials for children under the    

      age of 18. Also no child should be kept in prison.

 

B.    abolition of man’s privileges as so called “ head of the household” and instead laying down of equal rights and obligations for woman and man regarding the care and upbringing of children, control and running of family’s finances, inheritance, choice of residence, divorce and many other issues that are directly effecting the children’s well being.

 

C.   Ensuring a uniform and highest possible standard of welfare and

         development opportunities for children, free medical, dental and   

         educational services and creating well-equipped, modern nurseries  

         regardless of family circumstances, ensuring a suitable affordable

         housing for residents with children.

 

D.   Ensuring the equal rights of immigrant children. Equal rights for all    

      children, whether born in or outside of marriage.

 

 

I  would also like to mention just a few contradictions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child:

The contradictions of the Declaration arises when the rights of the Child becomes conditional. This results in the reduction of progressiveness in such a way that the rights of the Child no longer take precedence over any national, racial, economic, political, ideological, and religious consideration or interest. One can easily distinguish that its principle is not consistent with the maxima list. As article #4 clearly states the rights of children has direct ties with economic, social and cultural   measures available within the framework of the state. No need to say that, this article will leave the life and well being of children in the hands of Neanderthal culture, religion and tradition. Or in articles 13 and 15 where children’s rights of freedom to seek, receive and impart information of all kinds; freedom of association are restricted with regards to national security and public order or morals. In article 27 #3 States parties recognize the right of every child to a standard of living in accordance with national conditions with regard to nutrition, clothing and housing.   

No wonder one can see free compulsory education for children up to age of 18 in some countries and in many other countries only up to elementary level. It is not surprising that in some countries families with children are eligible for affordable subsidized housing while in majority of countries we witness increases in child labour and street children... No need to say free health care for the children is provided in some countries while the rate of death is increasing by minutes in most countries due to lack of a heath care system. It should not come to your surprise that while the Convention clearly states that a child means every human being below the age of eighteen years but has no saying for children taking parts in war at the age of 15. (Article 38 #2). There is no definition on guardianship of children and that leaves the hand of states open for misinterpretation of guardianship. (Article 2 &3). The above mentioned critiques were some of our critiques to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. I am hoping that in the near future in our manifesto of “Children First Now”  which is the alternative to the Convention on the Rights of the Child that more issues in this regards will be covered.