Dear Editor,

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child highlights the need for a few things with regards to children. These include the right to health, education, family life, play and recreation, an adequate standard of living and to be protected from abuse and harm. The reason that these were made into legal framework was because the collective countries in the world understood that children were being exploited at most, and these rights were being withheld from them at the least. In order to rectify this issue, the global collectivity decided it best to guide each nation, household and person, in the ways of ensuring the global future, by protecting the societal privileges of our children.

In the vast majority of cases, the cultural, structural and even social barriers that prevent parents and other persons who care for children (even older siblings in some cases) are so prevalent that children’s rights are unknowingly neglected. In other cases, the dissemination of information means nothing since all the guidelines on how to properly care for children is ignored anyway. In both cases, however, the development of the society is negatively affected.

Some parents and guardians have expressed displeasure at having international organizations and external bodies tell them how to treat children. Some people stick to traditional methods that infringe on the developmental process of children simply because their own developmental process was negatively affected by certain ‘upbringing’ techniques. This frequent disregard for the effective development of our society is often overlooked; but destructive all the same. If the needs of children are of such importance that various countries (including our own) have made it a global priority then it should be a matter of great importance (and address) for us, the people, also. If children are to have a safe space to live and to play, to have an education and sufficient healthcare plus food, protection from harm etc. then there is no justification for keeping these things from them. Giving the child the things that the child needs to grow and be successful does not take any power away from any person, but instead, ensures that the child is raised to recognize that the society they live in affords them their needs strictly through hard work that was employed to do so.

Many adults walk around without knowing their rights even in workplaces or in society. They are unaware of how to handle a situation where they are pulled over by the traffic police or how to safely oppose a specific piece of legislature that they deem harmful. There is a myriad of situations where even adults’ rights are ignored or abused. Even though these privileges are afforded to them by the fact that they live in a society. This usually happens because such people were never introduced to the concept of children’s rights during the time when they were children, leading to them being unaware of the concept of rights even in adulthood.
Society itself has developed over a long and difficult process of trial and error that was supplemented by the efforts of the collective. We see issues and we work together to solve them. So, when that police officer tries to arrest you without giving you a reason, you should know that you have the right to ask for a reason. If you were never taught about these rights then you would grow up to think that you don’t have any when the truth is: that, society affords citizens privileges, based on the efforts of past citizens to fix a particular problem or meet a specific need.

Children have curious minds and if they are taught that they have the right to education, play, safety, care and all of these other things then they recognized how these rights will support them and their peers to grow up in a much safer society.

By educating children on their rights we are ensuring a future where people are aware of their rights and work together to ensure it is afforded to everyone. Parents and children alike will benefit from such a process since parents will also develop a greater sense of responsibility and pride, knowing that they are not just raising their child, but also investing into the future of this green planet. A better tomorrow starts with the children of today.

Yours sincerely,
Khadidja Ba
Communications Associate


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