Access to justice
Access to justice is itself a human right, but it is also what makes other human rights a reality because it is a way for those rights to be enforced. While the importance of access to justice is equal for children and adults, children’s rights in this area have long been neglected and ignored.
All children are entitled to the same rights, but many countries refuse to protect and realise those rights when children are unable to prove that they are under 18.
The rapid advance and use of assisted reproductive technologies has proliferated in recent years, but States have yet to settle the complex and sensitive ethical questions involved, especially how the technologies impact children’s rights.
Everyone has the right to autonomy and self-determination over their own body, and the only person with the right to make a decision about one’s body is oneself—no one else. But children’s rights in this area have long been ignored, despite children being disproportionately vulnerable to violations of their bodily integrity.
As terrorism has proliferated in the last 20 years, so too have States’ counter-terrorism strategies, introducing new measures which, although not specifically targeted at children, dramatically impact children and young people.
Civil and political rights
Despite international law enshrining civil and political rights for everyone, children are systematically denied them, and with little justification. But children do indeed have independent rights to peaceful assembly, free expression, freedom of religion, privacy, and non-discrimination.
Deprivation of liberty
Around the world children are locked up in prisons, immigration detention centres, care institutions, drug treatment centres and mental health facilities. Despite the reasons given, there is no denying that detention of children disrupts their education, damages their employment prospects, and exposes children to violence.
Children’s rights in the digital age
Despite being some of the most active users online, children are systematically left out of the debate when it comes to developing policies which govern their access, often resulting in blanket restrictions which they are unable to challenge.
The impact of environmental problems, such as climate change, pollution, environmental degradation and resource depletion profoundly affect the quality of life of all people, including children. Yet children are systematically left out of any policy-making and their particular vulnerabilities as children are ignored.
States are not allowed to send army recruits under the age of 18 to war, but some countries, including high-income ones, continue to enlist under-18s for military training before they can be deployed, which carries its own risks to children’s rights and welfare.
An estimated one in five children or more around the world suffer some form of sexual violence, with abusers in most cases being somebody the child knows and trusts. Sexual violence is one of the worst crimes against children as it violates so many of their rights, but it will continue if the root causes that allow it to exist are not challenged.
Learn more about the various children’s rights issues CRIN has examined with our A to Z index of rights issues.