United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child-UNCRC
The Human Rights Commission identified the need of a convention for the welfare and protection of children. As the first step towards this, United Nations Organization declared the year 1979 as the International Year of the Child. Meanwhile, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was prepared jointly by the United Nations Organization and non-governmental organizations under the patronage and guidance of the Human Rights Commission and was adopted on November 20th, 1989 at the 44th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. States that are interested on the development and well-being of the children agreed with the convention. Of the international conventions, CRC is the most widely accepted and ratified convention.
Articles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
Article 1 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states that a child is a person below the age of 18 years and emphasizes that they should enjoy all the rights stated in the convention. The document consists of 54 articles and has been prepared based on 4 core principles.
The convention discuss the rights of the children outlined by these principles under 44 articles to ensure the children’s right to survival, protection, development and participation. Rest of the articles describe the role of the state parties in relation to the CRC.
In addition, the United Nations Organization has declared 3 optional protocols and out of them Sri Lanka has signed the Optional Protocol to the UNCRC on Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict and the Optional Protocol to the UNCRC on Sales of Children, Child Prostitution and child Pornography and is bound to implement them.
Implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child on 26th January 1990 and ratified on 12th July 1991. As a follow-up to the UNCRC, the government of Sri Lanka formulated the Children’s Charter in 1992. Furthermore, the Optional Protocol on Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict was signed on 21st August 2000 and was ratified on 8th September, 2000. Signing the Optional Protocol on Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and child Pornography was done on 8th May, 2002 and ratified on 22nd September, 2002.
Ministry of Women and Child Affairs is the pioneer in implementing all above conventions. The National Department of Probation and Child Care Services functioning under the said ministry, has diverted its services to a new avenue and became the body responsible for implementing child rights. Thus, with the objective of implementing the CRC, the department created the post of Child Rights Promotion Officer and recruited graduates for the post. The recruited officers were placed in every Divisional Secretariat in order to provide the atmosphere and facilities necessary to ensure child rights at regional level.
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
Optional Protocol to the UNCRC on Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict
Optional Protocol to the UNCRC on Sales of Children, Child Prostitution and child Pornography