The Declaration of Geneva, a Physician’s Oath adopted by the General Assembly of the World Medical Association in Geneva in 1948, says that, “humanity haws to do its best for the child.”
Children’s rights were first recognized after the First World War. The recognition of the interests and rights of children did not become real until more than half a century later with the adoption of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. This was the first binding text that was recognized internationally, that recognized the fundamental rights of children.
The Declaration recognized children’s rights as human rights, and protect the child as such. That means that children have the same right to life, dignity, non-discrimination, and the protection of physical and mental integrity as anyone else. The protection of physical and mental integrity means protection against slavery, torture, bad treatment, and so on.
It recognizes that children’s rights are civil and political rights, such as the right to nationality and personal identity. They are also economic, cultural, and social rights, and include the right to an education, health, and a decent standard of living. They take into account the need for every child to develop to the fullest of his her potential, both physically and intellectually. And it considers the vulnerability of childhood: that due to their youth, children are among the most vulnerable classes of people in the world, and that there is an implied need to protect them.
Beth Manville from Perkasie PA, is lawyer who now lives and works in Seattle, where she is a lawyer deeply involved in children’s issues.