Child Abuse and Human rights

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Human Rights and Child Abuse


1.0 Introduction 2

2.0 Human Rights as Child Rights: The meaning 2

3.0 The Categories of Human Rights 2

34.0 Civil and Political Rights

35.0 Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

6.0 Directive Principles of the State Policy 3

6.1 Child Abuse 3

46.2 Child Abuse and human rights

46.3Physical Abuse

56.4 Emotional Abuse and Neglect

56.5 Sexual Abuse and Child Prostitution

66.6 Child Labor

6.7 Child and human trafficking 8

6.8 Recruitment and use of children used in violence (Child soldiers) 9

6.9Violence against children 9

106.10Denial of Education

106.11Deprivation of Play

107.0 Conclusion



Human Rights and Child Abuse

1.0 Introduction

Children are vulnerable beings who need a lot of care and protection. This is because by virtue of being vulnerable and unable to take care of themselves, children are wholly depended on adults. It is unfortunate however that even in the 21st Century; some children across the world are exposed and suffer abuse (Smith & Caplan, 2012). It is also for these reasons that child rights are specifically adapted to the child in a way that incorporate his vulnerability as well as his needs given the age. Such rights also incorporate the aspects of growth on the part of the child. A child needs not only to be protected from harm but also to grow and develop. Hence, a child has a right to live as well as grow physically and intellectually. Child abuse however disrupts the enjoyment of child rights (U.S Department of Health and Human Services, 2013). Child abuse comes in various forms. This paper seeks to discuss child abuse within the context of Child rights. To begin with however, it is important to understand child rights before locating its prevalence over child abuse scenarios.

2.0 Human Rights as Child Rights: The meaning

Children are human beings. As such, they are entitled to all rights that are enjoyed by all humans. According to the International Covenant on the Rights of the Child (1989), a child is any person who is below the age of 18 years or unless the age of majority in attained earlier as the case may be. The main idea behind this definition is that the child is basically a human being entitled to all the guaranteed rights (Famularo, 2013). Children have among other rights; the right to life, right to be raised by both parents, right to provision of basic needs, right to be education, right to health care and medicine, right not to be discriminated against, right to dignity, right to a decent standard of living, right to a nationality,

3.0 The Categories of Human Rights

The ideological behind the understanding of human rights implies that human rights are indivisible and interdependent hence it is informative that there is no existence of different kinds of human rights based on the universal declaration (Manov & Lowther, 2012). As such, it advocates that all human rights are equal in importance and basically inherent in all human beings irrespective of gender or racial or culture differences. Based on the subsequent development, human rights are of two kind thus civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights.

4.0 Civil and Political Rights

Civil rights refers to an individual right to life and personal liberty. Civil rights advocates for a person to live a dignified life. Civil rights is generally applicable to security of persons, individual rights to privacy, the freedom of movement, freedom of thought and the right to own a property. Political rights, as a law, prescribe rights which allow persons to participate in the Government of state (Beougher, 2014). It implies the right to participate in voting process, right to be elected genuinely as per the constitution of a country and engaging in public affairs (U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, (2013). Arguably the nature of the civil and political rights tend to look different critically, both rights are interwoven and interrelation. As such, the civil and political rights are under one covenant, which is the international covenant on civil and political rights.

5.0 Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

The above right, as an administration, guarantees of minimum necessities of the life to the human beings within the society. Basically, the rights involves the availability of adequate foods to persons, clothing, housing, the right to work, persons rights to social security and the right to education (Invernizzi & Williams, 2013). For the effective performance of the stated rights, the approach requires active intervention and not abstentions as per the state.

6.0 Directive Principles of the State Policy

6.1 Child Abuse

Child Abuse consists of any act or omission that endangers or implies a child’s physical or emotional health and development (Lewis and Swica, 2012). Child abuse includes any damages done to a child which cannot be reasonably explained and which is often represented by an injury or services of injuries appearing to be non-accidental in nature. Child abuse is the misuse of power by adults over children that endangers or impairs a child’s physical or emotional health and development. It includes: Physical abuse Emotional abuse, Neglect and Sexual abuse and exploitation.

6.2 Child Abuse and human rights

Children all over the world suffer many forms of harms including starvation, infectious diseases, economic exploitation, and abandonment among others. Necessarily not all harms are children abuse, but harm that result from international human action. The basic attributes of child abuse is that it brings harm to the child and detrimental to their well-being (Fergusson, 2013). The most destructive child abuse compared to all forms of injury is the betrayal of the child’s trust. This creates a problem in socializing. Child abuse can be related to unemployment and poverty. The quality of life in different families and also at individual level can cause maltreatment but this can be viewed and symptoms rather than cause. 16.5million is such a large number for nation building if we’re looking at future prospects. 35,000 out of the 16.5 million kids were abducted, abused, mutilated and used as child soldiers (Hindman and Hindman, 2014).

6.3Physical Abuse

Research in different regions and counties worldwide have shown 80 to 98% of children are affected by physical punishment majorly in their home areas. Yearly also estimated that children under the age of 15 years that die due to physical abuse is approximately 57,000 (Silverman, 2014). Physical abuse ranges from shaking, beating, and minor bruises to severe fractures or even death due to punching or even harming a child in any way
(Beougher, 2014). Fabricated or induced illness is a form of physical abuse. This is where the child is given an unnecessary medication that in turn makes them ill. Occasionally this can lead to poisoning and even death. Effects of physical abuse are seen by the naked eye, and add up to a serious human right violation.

6.4 Emotional Abuse and Neglect

Emotional abuse is any behavior that reduces self-esteem of the child or that which impairs his/her emotional development. It includes threats, criticism, being unsupportive and also withholding love and proper guidance. Neglect can be said to be failure to provide basic and emotional needs to the child. According to the information gateway, children suffer more from neglect than from physical and sexual abuse combined
(Chong, n.d.). Emotional abuse can extremely damage child’s mental health or even his/her social development, leaving psychological scars that take several decades to heal. Harsh words used against a child can also contribute to emotional abuse. Ignoring or rejecting a child as punishment or also giving them silent treatment, limiting physical contact with the child, calling the child names or shaming or humiliating them and also frequent yelling to them. This can bring about emotional abuse
(Carpi, 2014).

Failing to provide food, clothing, proper hygiene, and supervision can bring about neglect. Sometimes parents can become mentally or physically unstable due to depression, alcoholics, drug abuse or serious impaired judgment and ability to take proper care of a child can lead to neglect (Jenny, 2012). Outward signs of neglect on older children cannot be that visible by signs. This is because they have conformed to the world and others take the role of parents (Carpi, 2014). But at the end their physical and mental needs will have to be mate to avoid outcomes of neglect.

6.5 Sexual Abuse and Child Prostitution

Most of the children around theworld are prone to prostitution. This prostitution entails children who are under the age of 18. They are usually abducted and through human trafficking taken to other countries for this trade
(Carpi, 2014). When they get there they become desperate and find that the only thing they can do is prostitution. They engage in prostitution so as to survive and afford the basic needs. Therefore children are abused: something that ought to be stopped. Human rights institutions are making steps to reduce this. Majority of the children involved I this are girls and may be forced to indulged in this industry if they try to resist

Child sexual abuse is any sexual act between an adult and a child, this may include sexual intercourse, rape, sodomy, incest, kissing or even inappropriate touching. Research has shown that 7-36% of women and 3-29% of men were sexual victims during their childhood. Majorly girls are abused at the rate of 1.5-3 times to that of males, and most of this abuse occurred within the family circle
(«Girl child soldiers», 2014).

Child prostitution involves children offering sexual services or acts for any form of compensation, financial or any other reward. Worldwide approximately 1 million children are forced into prostitution each year and estimated that the number of children prostitutes are approximately 10 million (Felitti and Williamson, 2014). Children do not commit child prostitution but are forced into prostitution or adults can engage them into the act. Child prostitution is not only a cause of death and high morbidity for millions of children but also a violation of their rights. Child prostitution cause health effects on the child and put most of the children in psychological harm and risk of adult violence
(Saffy, 2014). Child prostitutes are at a risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. HIV rates in prostitute children are relatively high at a range of 16.5%.

Child prostitution can cause serious psychological harm that includes long-term anxiety and depression; this can lead to suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder.

6.6 Child Labor

Child labor is a big problem internationally but particular those in developing countries. Child labor involves full-time with many hours of working without even time to rest or play. This work exerts lots of pressure, social, physical or even psychological stress. Access to education is sometimes denied or limited. The ILO’s Statistical Information and Monitoring Program on Child Labor estimated that 211 million children worldwide, or 18% of children between 5-24 years of age are active economically
(Invernizzi & Williams, 2013).

The type of work the child does directly produces work-related injuries, which are estimated to be 6 million annually. This results to 2.5 million disabilities and 32,000 fatalities annually. In most developing countries children work under hazardous conditions in their area of work which includes manufacturing and also agricultural sectors
(«Girl child soldiers», 2014). Crushing, amputation and fractures account to 10% of the work-related injuries (Chandy, 2013). Child labor brings risk of physical injuries to children and also is vulnerable to toxins and chemical hazards. These hazards are specific according to the type of industry and its setup. Children workers are often exposed to high temperatures and are at risk of getting burns if they work in the brassware, iron works or glass-bangle industries. Children who work in matches and firebox shops may be prone to chemical hazards and a risk of fire or even an explosion (Trickett, 2013). Some of the child labor is done in mining industries working without proper attire. Most of them work bare footed making them prone to injuries and infections of all sorts. Dust and smoke usually bring breathing problems during old age. Noise in most common in most industry and this can also affect these children. Those working in carpet industries are exposed to chemical hazards, inhalation of wood dust contaminated with biological agents. Those who work in shoe making industry are exposed to glue. Data from Global Burden of Diseases Study (GBDS), analyzed the mortality rate of children in child labor to those of adults and they found out that almost comparable
(Nepal & Nepal, 2012). This means that the two situations are almost equal; hence children are placed in dangerous or more dangerous working conditions.

Child labor can be due to poverty. This is the most common factor all over the world that affects the children. Due to lack of wealth and other forms of money and parents works are not able to raise the required amount. The children are forced to leave school early to try and work to sustain the family. Also some children want to make cash for other things hence leave school, hence deprive themselves education
(Invernizzi & Williams, 2013).

Child labor affects the child’s health, the ability to receive education and also their academic excellence. Children that go to school and at the same time work their studies are negatively impacted. Data from 12 Latin American countries found that students who attend school and never have they conducted domestic works perform 28% better on mathematics and 19% on languages test than those who attend and work (Katz, 2013). Child labor can be termed as vicious cycle due to the study conducted in Egypt, where, many fathers are unable to work due to health complications caused by long hours of working during their child day. This is transferred to their children where they have to work also
(Nepal & Nepal, 2012).

Low income, poor educational institutions and poverty are the mostly the driving forces behind child labor increment worldwide. This exist because education systems and labor markets don’t function properly majorly since poor households cant insure themselves against income fluctuations and perverse incentives exist which encourages child labor. In trying to improve the living standards of a particular house hold encourages child labor.

6.7 Child and human trafficking

This refers to illegal transfer, transport and harbouring of a person by using threats or force or other malicious means. This is done for the purpose of excessive exploitation especially for provision of cheap and hard labor which is the new form of slavery. Trafficking for slavery is also practiced in which majority are young girls who have only attained the early stage of puberty
(Haerens, 2012). This issue has been addressed by the United Nations and some of the steps that are being taken include creating awareness that human trafficking is illegal and morally wrong in the society. Sanctions are also being taken to countries that do not act or put strict measures to this.

6.8 Recruitment and use of children used in violence (Child soldiers)

Conflicts have resulted in the use of children in war. Children who are under the age of 18 are normally referred to child soldiers. They have been used mostly in war; Uganda is an example of the countries that used children in violence. These children lose their privilege to education, become hostile and believe that every problem is solved through violence. Their lives are risked and denied their childhood engaging them to violence; they become victims of trauma (Hindman and Hindman, 2014). Children exposed to violence are most likely deprived from basic need and proper health; they also become orphans at the end of the tragedy. In 2013, the United States state Department reported about one million children are engaged in the global set trade by trafficking (Chandy, 2013). Child trafficking can occur if a child is abducted on the streets or roads, sold for sex trade and also forced into marriage by parents or relatives. Poverty contributes to majority of the trafficking. It is estimated by UNICEF that a total of 35,000 kids were abducted by LRA and coerced to fight wars that they themselves did not sign for (, 2016).

Child trafficking is done because children are exploited more compared to adults and are vulnerable, and cheap to hire. This is also that children cannot demand for higher wages or even better working conditions. What they are given they do. Most of the children affect live by threats.

6.9Violence against children

Most of the time children are exposed to violence. This kind of violence includes physical, discrimination, social outcasts and may also include psychological violence. Sometimes children experience domestic violence which gives children a lot of trauma (Carpi, 2014). They may also experience violence in the streets and this may lead students to have these violence attributes. This violence may be considered to a breach of human rights and children should be protected as much as possible from exposure of violence.

6.10Denial of Education

Education is the most important aspect in a child’s life. It ensures that a child grows morally upright and he/she is able to communicate or relate with other in a proper way. Denying a child education is a violation of human right to education. Education is a factor that contributes to the growth of a nation into international level. As UNESCO 2013 paper indicates that half of 57 million children that are not enrolled into any school live in conflict-affected counties. UNESCO urges counties to take an urgent action to bring 28.5 million children to education worldwide in this conflict zone. Many children are still deprived of their right to education.

6.11Deprivation of Play

Essentially it’s acceptable that children who are deprived of playful activities are not able to exercise their full right of childhood. Play deprivation is bad to children as it promotes anxiety, depression, narcissism, suicide thoughts, loss of appetite and boredom among children. Playing is very important in the growth of a child and also heath wise it’s recommended (Carpi, 2014). Vulnerable children that are lining in poor social and economic conditions should be given an opportunity to play hence develop their talents along the way.

7.0 Conclusion

Children are vulnerable members of society who need protection and care. Unfortunately children always fall victim of abuses ranging from violence to being denied their basic rights such as food, education and the right to be raised by both parents. The International Covenant on the Rights of the Child (ICRC) provides for the rights of children and spells out obligations for state parties. These rights comprise both civil and political rights as well as the socio-economic and cultural rights. At the end of it all, it is upon every one of us to ensure that we treat children as humane as possible and ensure that we respect their rights.


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