In 539BC Cyrus the Great did something revolutionary and declared all slaves were free and people had the freedom to choose their religion. Up until this point any sort of Human Rights did not exist. Documents were developed but did not reflect the important theory that everyone is eligible to rights based solely on their humanity.
Any concept of Human Rights were near extinction following the effects of the brutalities within the Nazi concentration camps and World War II. There was desperate need for change and this brought about Rights for all in 1948 when the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights was finally introduced. Following this ground-breaking principle it was not until the 19th and 20th centuries that the rights of children began to be contemplated. At first, negotiations of children’s rights were concentrating more on protection rights e.g. outlawing child labour, instead of children being entitled to their own rights as equal citizens. During the first and second World Wars millions of child were left unprotected, gassed, killed or orphaned.
After the war the Declaration on the Rights of the Child was drafted. The post-war government was pressurised to protect children’s rights. While the rights of children were included it was disputed that the specific needs of children warranted further documentation. Although children have no legal right, many laws and organisations helped ensure that their human and civil rights were protected.
“Declaration of the Rights of the Child, “the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth” (unicef.org.uk)It was some 30 years later in 1989 that the Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. The United Nation’s Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is the first legal international means which incorporates the full range of human rights; civil, cultural, political, economic and social rights for the protection of children.
The Children’s Right approach is a principled and practical framework for working with children, supported by 54 Articles..All of the 54 articles are linked and no right is more important that another, therefore the Convention must be seen as a whole. It is placing the UNCRC within the centre of a child’s experience of education giving them opportunities to be at the core of school planning, teaching, discussion making, policies and practice. Children now know they have a voice and will be listened to, without discrimination of any kind irrespective of race, colour, language, gender, religion, property, disability, national, ethnic or social origin.
The UNCRC underpins child protection policies, healthy schools and global citizenship within education practice. The UNCRC forms the basis of the national approach adopted by the Scottish Government for supporting child called Getting it Right for Every Child.As the government signed up to the UNCRC they must uphold the rights of children in their country and abide by the convention. By using the UNCRC as a framework it guarantees the health, well-being and safety of children giving then the best start in life.