Student Voices: Article 42 of the UN Convention Rights of a Child  should be enforced

We are children in the eyes of the law, not adults like we claim to be. Sure we start to drive, gain responsibilities, work a job, but we are not adults. As children of our nation the greater majority don’t know all of their rights they are given let alone three out of the 54 Articles. The lack of knowledge on such an important topic has unfortunately had a negative impact for children. Which is why Article 42 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child should be enforced, so that children around the world are aware of their rights in society. Article 42 simply states that “You have the right to know your rights! Adults should know about these rights and help you learn about them too”, according to the official UN Convention on the Right of the Child. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case because if children would be better educated on their own rights as children, less child abuse would be occurring.

Children being more knowledgeable on their own Rights from a young age until you are no longer a child at eighteen, would prevent power abuse over children. Children who aren’t educated on their own Rights could be taken advantaged by adults who could make the oblivious of their rights. Over a third of Canada’s population is abused as a child every year, according to the National Post; by either strangers or even family members. This could potentially be reduced drastically if children were aware that what the adult is doing is against their Rights to be protected according to Article 34-36 which states that children have the Right to be freed from sexual abuse, no one is allowed to kidnap you or sell you and children have the Right to protection from any exploitation. Ironically Article 42 also states that adults should teach children their Rights as well however, in many cases they are doing the complete opposite. By not educating children they become more vulnerable to these situations and become easy victims to perpetrators. Adults who are a role model for children should be doing their part by educating children instead of taking advantage of their unawareness of their Rights by abusing them. How is it that in the 21st century children are still not fully aware of their Rights which protect them and make sure that they are equal citizens even as a child? As parents or guardian, they alone should be educating their children not because they legally have to but for the sake of their child who they should want for them to be completely educated on their Rights. Parents and guardians have many roles to fulfill as a guardian or parent of a child, and one role they should really enforce throughout a child’s childhood is Article 42.

Article 28 states that as children we have the Right to a proper education and to be encouraged to reach the highest level of education, therefore why shouldn’t education also include teaching us about our Rights. We are taught many different courses that are important to succeed in life, but how about how important our Charter of Rights are to the future generations? Our Rights are just as important as any other classes because without our knowledge on our Rights this can have a much more negative impact for our future compared to having to remembering the Pythagorean theorem. The school system should take into account the positive impact that knowing this would have and how it would be just as beneficial as any other courses. Knowing your Rights will educate yourself on how to defend yourself in a world where others will try to take advantage of children. As kids we always argue about how we are so bombarded with so much work that we don’t have time to go outside and play, but did you know that Article 31 simply states that “You have the right to play and rest”. Not saying that I’m completely against homework but as children we have the right to rest and play. Article 24 says that we have the Right to the best health care possible, food, clean environment and information to help you stay well. These are important things that we should be educated on, these are the foundation of equality for children and we shouldn’t take them for granted, instead we should use them to empower our self and to protect our self.

Enforcing Article 42 will also better future generations because we will be able to fight for our Rights and know when to use them. Take for example the huge movement happening in Florida after the horrendous school shooting that occurred February 14th ,2018 however, now the students are fighting for their Rights to reinforce the gun control in the United States. These children are examples of how being educated on our Rights can make a great difference in this world. Children can have such a huge positive impact if we are given the tools to achieve greatness. These Rights have been established in 1989 by United Nations, with the intention to give children Rights to protect them. Now in 2018, 29 years later we still aren’t fully aware of all our Rights as children of our nation. It is time that we educate ourselves on the importance of these Rights and how we are privileged to live in a country where we have Rights for not only adults but also for children.

We might not always think about all 54 Articles in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, but we should make it a priority to eventually be fully aware of all of our Rights that we are so fortunate to have. Article 42 sums up all the 41 Articles before and it is followed by 12 other Articles that are just as important in total 54 Articles that we should all know. We are told that we are children today and the future tomorrow, but what kind of future is it where children don’t even know all their Rights. It is up to us to learn our Rights and apply them to create change for our future.

Marie-Lee Scrabbi is a graduating student from Laurier Macdonald High School in the English Montreal School Board. She Also represents students on the English Montreal Student Advisory Committee.

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