UNCRC and Bahay Tuluyan

The United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is a human rights treaty setting out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the child. The United Nations General Assembly adopted the UNCRC in 1989.

The UNCRC presents children as human beings and subject of their own rights. It also offers a vision of the child as an individual as well as a member of a family and community; with rights and responsibilities appropriate to his or her age and the stage of developments.

The rights in the UNCRC can be divided into six categories:

  • Fundamental Principles
  • Civil & Political Freedom
  • Family & Alternative Care
  • Education, Culture & Leisure
  • Health, Nutrition & Welfare
  • Special Protection Measures

The UNCRC is a very important statement that children have rights as individuals and are not just the property or subjects of their parents. At the same time, the UNCRC takes into account the fact that children have evolving capacities; as they grow they are able to take more and more responsibility for their own actions and decisions. Accordingly, they should be given more and more say in how decisions affecting them are made.

Having rights is very important to ensure that all children are treated fairly and equally and to ensure that children can live happy and healthy lives where they are able to fulfill their potential and are given every opportunity to grow and develop. At Bahay Tuluyan, we use a 'rainbow of rights' approach to help children remember the different categories of rights. Each category is assigned a particular color of the rainbow. When teaching children about rights we also recognise the corresponding responsibilities that go with rights. For example, while every child has the right to an education, they also have corresponding responsibilities; to get to school on time, to do their homework, be respectful to their teachers and classmates etc.

Having an understanding about rights helps children and adults ensure that rights are protected. The UNCRC is monitored through reports. Each country that is a signatory to the UNCRC is required to submit a report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child every five years. This report should explain how children's rights are being fulfilled in their country. The Committee will then reply, giving the country recommendations on how the children's rights situation can be improved. As well as an official government report, most countries also submit an 'Alternative Report' expressing the views of those people and organizations not working with the government, such as NGOs. In the Philippines Bahay Tuluyan contributes to the preparation of the Alternative Report.

Bahay Tuluyan uses the UNCRC as a teaching tool in its programs and as a training tool for other community organisations and partners. To enquire about our UNCRC training please email info@bahaytuluyan.org.

Filipino Children: The Philippines has signed and ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, however, many government policies and practices still do not include or recognize children. Bahay Tuluyan has collated facts about children to give you an understanding about the society that Bahay Tuluyan works in.

Filipino children and education:

  • For every 100 Filipino children who enter Grade 1, only 67 will graduate from elementary school. Only 49 will complete high school.
  • Participation rates in public elementary schools have decreased to 90% since 2000.
  • 4 out of 10 children (12-15 years old) are not in school. The net enrollment ratio in public secondary education in 2002 was only 57%.
  • The average class size across Philippine regions ranges from 33 to 50 students per class
  • Only 3 out of every 10 Filipino children has early childhood education, formal or non-formal

    Filipino children and health:

  • 22% of children under the age of five are underweight
  • There is a lack of knowledge about HIV with only 21% of the population having an understanding of what HIV is and how it can be prevented.
  • Only 70% of children are fully immunized

Filipino children and poverty:

  • 26.5% of the Philippines population lives below the poverty line.
  • The number of poor Filipino families has gone up from 4.36 million in 1985 to 5.14 million in 2000.

Filipino children and abuse & exploitation:

  • Between 1999 and 2008 12% of Filipino children took part in child labor
  • Children in the Philippines are engaged in the worst forms of child labor, particularly in agriculture, domestic work, home based industries, prostitution, trafficking and pornography
  • Throughout urban settings in the Philippines children live and work on the streets, scavenging, begging and engaging in other income generating activities
  • Corporal punishment is illegal but still widely practiced in Filipino schools, homes and other settings
  • Physical and sexual abuse of children in the Philippines is widespread and of concern

Bahay Tuluyan encourages visitors to get a greater understanding of children's rights in the Philippines at UNICEF, World Bank and Economy Watch where these facts were gathered from.

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