Sida has developed the information below to guide the application of the Human Rights Based Approach in relation to development cooperation that directly or indirectly affect children's rights.
Further examples of what to consider in relation to children and the Human Rights Based Approach, following the abbreviation P.L.A.N.E.T. (Participation, Links to human rights, Accountability, Non-discrimination, Empowerment and Transparency):
Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) sets out children's right to be listened to and considered in all decision-making that affects them. If a contribution has a direct or indirect effect on boys and girls there should be a degree of involvement of them in the contribution.
The most appropriate kind of participation will depend on the contribution and on who the children are. Children of different ages and circumstances will need different kinds of information, environments and support to participate in a meaningful way. Meaningful participation could include children identifying problems and undertaking planning, design, implementation and/or monitoring of contributions. It could also include consulting them through focus groups or interviews.
Links to human rights systems
Children's rights are contained in legal instruments at the national, regional and international levels. At the international level, the rights of children – defined as people under the age of 18 - are set out in the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and its three optional protocols, which are:
1. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography: (overview)
2. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict: (overview) (UNICEF)
3. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure:(overview)
The CRC is monitored by the Committee on the Rights of the Child, which holds consultations and provides recommendations on what to do to advance children's rights. The Committee meets with states to discuss their progress in realising children's rights and provides Concluding Observations to be addressed, develops General Comments that clarify articles in the CRC and holds Days of General Discussion.
Also important to consider in relation to children's rights are:
When a state ratifies the CRC and child rights related regional treaties, it is required to respect, protect, promote and fulfil children's rights – including when involved in development cooperation. This includes integrating children's rights into national legislation, policies, strategies, institutions, court systems, coordination mechanisms – or to develop such if they are lacking or insufficient to realise children's rights.
According to article 3 of the CRC, states are obliged to take the best interests of the child into account as a "primary consideration" in all decisions that directly or indirectly concern children.
According to Article 2 of the CRC, states are obliged to realise children's rights without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child's and her/his care giver's race; colour; sex; language; religion; political or other opinion; national, ethnic or social origin; property; disability; birth; or other status.
Working to prevent and eliminate discrimination includes making sure that all children have access to their rights – such as health care, education, security and justice - of adequate quality. It also requires changing discriminatory attitudes and behaviours towards boys and girls. It often entails identifying who the most vulnerable children are and finding ways for them to be heard, taken into account and be able to participate.
In the realm of children's rights, empowerment is about strengthening the capacity of children, their care givers, and people working with children to claim children's rights. It is also about strengthening the capacity of those responsible for implementing children's rights. To empower you may need to know if rights holders and duty bearers have access to:
- Relevant knowledge about children's rights
- Networks that work for children's rights
- Information adapted to their needs
- Their right to not be discriminated against
- Decision making structures that enable participation of child rights advocates, including children themselves
- Mechanisms to complain and get redress
Transparency in relation to children's rights entails making information available to boys and girls, their care givers and people working for their rights in a way that is age-appropriate and context-specific through channels that reach them. Questions to ask may be if the information is:
- Available to concerned rights holders and duty bearers?
- User-friendly to rights holders and duty bearers (language, images, content, style, etc)?
- Shared with stakeholders of the contribution through accessible channels and physical locations?
- Made available through channels that target the stakeholders the most effectively (radio, TV, mobile phones, websites, publications)?