THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD: THE DICHOTOMY BETWEEN RHETORIC AND REALITY

MAZI VITUS UDEGBULEM

Abstract


The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is a human rights treaty which sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children. The Convention made elaborate provisions relating to the welfare of children but the utility of these provisions are tested during armed conflict when state parties abandon the covenants contained in the Convention and pursue military advantages to the detriment of the child. Being a human rights Convention, some argue that its operation is limited to peace situation and not during armed conflict. As such, there is a dichotomy between rhetoric and reality. The rhetoric is one of virtual world-wide acceptance and promotion of children’s rights through the medium of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, but the reality is one in which children are consistently subjected to the full brutality of war. The outstanding question is of course, how will better protection be given to children caught up in armed conflict? It is submitted that the present provisions of humanitarian law and the Convention of the Rights of the Child are not adequate and effective in offering protection to children. As part of our contribution towards effective protection of children at all times, we recommend measures inter alia, the adoption of a legal instrument with punitive sanctions designed specifically for protection of children applicable at all times especially during armed conflict.

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