Children's rights are human rights
Botswana ratified the Convention on the Rights of
Children (CRC) on 14 March 1994. This Convention is the most universally
accepted human rights instrument in history.
Every country in the world, except the United States, has ratified it.
It is also the first international human rights treaty, which recognises
indigenous peoples as a group who experience general discrimination,
which hampers their rights, which are enshrined in the CRC.
Some of the key elements of the Convention on the Rights of Children
Non discrimination (Article 2)-all rights in the CRC
apply without discrimination to all children. The protection of
children's rights are therefore inextricably linked to that of the 'best
interests of the child'.
The right to survival and development or providing for
the child (Article 6). In achieving equity, there should be affirmative
action policies to ensure that marginalised children are afforded a
greater chance of realising their optimum potential.
The right to be registered immediately after birth and
all children shall have the right from birth to a name and, as far as
possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents
The right of the child to preserve his or her identity
name and family relations as recognised by law without unlawful
interference (Article 8, 1).
The right of a child not to be separated from his or
her parents against their will, except when competent authorities,
subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law
and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interest
of the child (Article 9).
The right to participation (Article 12). The opinions
of children are to be taken into account when matters, which affect them
are being dealt with.
The right of the child to freedom of association and
to freedom of peaceful assembly (Article 15).
The right of the child to be free from all forms of
physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent
treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while
in the care of any person (Article 19,1).
No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (Article 37).
The right of ethnic, religious or linguistic
minorities or persons of indigenous origin and for a child belonging to
such a minority, or who is indigenous, the right, in community with
other members of his or her group, to enjoy his or her own culture, to
profess and practice his or her own religion, or to use his or her own
language (Article 30).
The right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage
in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child
and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts (Article 31).
The right of the child to be protected from economic
exploitation and from performing work, which is likely to be hazardous
or to interfere with the child's education (Article 32). Work should
also not be harmful to the child's health or physical, mental,
spiritual, moral or social development.
Alice Mogwe, Dorcas Molefe, John Ntseane, Owen
Pansiri and Sheldon Weeks
17 October 2004