• 1. Can defense lawyers invoke the Convention on the Rights of the Child (the CRC, 1989) in juvenile cases?

    • Yes. The CRC is applicable in national courts in states that have ratified the CRC, given international obligations of the state party. The CRC can be invoked before regional or international human rights courts as a primary source.

  • 2. What international documents recognize the right to education for children?

    • The right to education is recognized under article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR, 1948) and article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR, 1966). Under article 10 of the ICESCR, families are responsible for education of their children. In specific, article 28 of the CRC recognizes the right to education for children.

  • 3. How do international legal documents protect the rights of registered/unregistered refugee children?

    • Article 7 of the CRC, referring to the rights of the child to birth registration, a name, and a nationality, requires all state parties to ensure the implementation of these rights. Article 7(2) particularly refers to children who —in the absence of state’s protection— would be ‘stateless’. Article 8 of the CRC further expands on state’s responsibility for protecting children’s identity, name, nationality, and family relations. Cultural practices play a decisive role in the actualization – or more frequently – denial of these rights. International/Human Rights legal educators are key actors in this regard.

  • 4. Which international conventions can be invoked for refugee children’s rights?

    • The CRC, particularly under article 7 and article 8 as well as provisions under the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.

  • 5. Under International Laws, do children belonging to various minorities enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms? (See question 9)

    • Yes, they do. Based on the principle of ‘no distinction’ (article 2, UDHR), everyone is entitled to equal protection of law. The article states that everyone enjoys freedoms and rights “without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, ‘no distinction’ shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs”. Moreover, regarding cultural, religious, and linguistic rights, article 30 of the CRC refers to the rights of the child belonging to ethnic, religious, linguistic, or indigenous minorities.

  • 6. What is ‘child labor’?

    • A child, according to the CRC, is [defined as] a person under eighteen years old. Therefore, if a child, notwithstanding their ‘best interests’, engage in work, especially for economic purposes, “that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.” (see the CRC article 32), it is considered ‘child labor’. For more information, click here.

  • 7. Who is a ‘street child’?

    • ‘Street child’ is a common informal term referring to children who, primarily for economic purposes, engage in work and/or live on streets under poor conditions, especially in terms of education, health, and parental protection. Street children, as a result, are particularly prone to threats against their body, property, and notably mental health, inter alia, in the forms of theft, exploitation, rape, and other countless forms of physical and psychological violence. For an example of a project on street children in Indonesia, in Northern Jakarta click here.

  • 8. Do children with mental disabilities have equal rights to that of other citizens?

    • Yes, of course. See ‘no distinction’ principle and article 2 of the CRC. Furthermore, see article 23(1): “States Parties recognize that a mentally or physically disabled child should enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions which ensure dignity, promote self-reliance and facilitate the child’s active participation in the community.”

  • 9. Do international laws guarantee equal rights for children belonging to religious and ethnic minorities? (see question 5)

    • Based on the principle of ‘no distinction’ (article 2, UDHR), everyone is entitled to equal protection of law. Furthermore, regarding cultural, religious, and linguistic rights, article 30 of the CRC refers to the rights of the child, belonging to an ethnic, religious, linguistic, or indigenous minorities.

  • 10. What international organizations provide social service for children?

    • UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund) along with other international and regional organizations. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child also provides pertinent resources, reports, and materials. Also, other international organizations such as Save the Children, Plan International, Humanity & Inclusion, Mercy Corps., World Vision, CARE, and OXFAM provide various social services for children.

  • 11. What NGOs provide legal service for children?

    • Local and national organizations usually provide legal service for children. For a sample list of such organizations click here.

  • 12. Is there an international juvenile court and how it is administered?

    • No, there is not , however the European Court of Human Rights frequently considers cases relating to children.

  • 13. What international documents protect children in conflict with the law?

    • ICCPR (1966) and Second Optional Protocol thereto, ICESCR (1966), & CRC (1989).

  • 14. What is the role of international organizations in protecting children in conflict with the law?

    • Such organizations could help provide social, legal, and educational service required for protecting children in general as well as in various cases. For instance, international organizations provide educational services for children across the world, especially for vulnerable children, such as those in conflict with the law. Education, as a key factor in implementation of justice for children, is a fundamental step in legal development, not least for protecting children who are in conflict with the law. Furthermore, international organizations provide legal resources, including service, materials, and research to help protect children through capacity-building and empowerment of legal practitioners as well as families. In short, international organizations are involved in all aspects of awareness-raising, capacity-building, and also empowerments of local NGOs and other institutions to help protect the rights of the child in conflict with the law.

  • 15. Do children and adolescents qualify for legal aid?

    • Depending on procedural laws of respective countries, the right to a fair trial, including access to legal counsel, is recognized under article 10 of the UDHR. Furthermore, article 40(1) of the CRC determines that children in conflict with “[t]he penal law [are] to be treated in a manner consistent with the promotion of the child’s sense of dignity and worth…”. Such standards cannot be met in the absence of affordable legal and accessible judicial service.

  • 16. What is the age of criminal responsibility for girls and boys?

    • The age of criminal responsibility is determined according to the applicable criminal laws of the governing jurisdiction depending on each case. As a matter of principle, the age of 18 is the age of majority, below which ‘every human being’ is considered ‘a child’, with diminished responsibilities and capacities. However, many state parties recognize the age of criminal responsibility to be well below 18, which is in contravention of the CRC principles.

  • 17. What is the normative principle regarding capital punishment for children according to International Laws?

    • According to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR, 1966), article (6) 5. “sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age.” Furthermore, the CRC, article 37(a) states: “No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age.”