The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) ACT, 2000
Human rights are those rights which are essential to live as human beings' basic standards without which people cannot surviveand develop in dignity. They are inherent to the human person, inalienable and universal. As part of the framework of humanrights law, all human rights are indivisible, interrelated and interdependent. Understanding this framework is important to promoting, protecting and realizing children's rights. Despite significant efforts to improve rights of the child, vulnerable andmarginalized children are being forgotten. Children who are victims of abuse, exploitation and discrimination, and suffer exclusion from education, healthcare and other vital services, are being largely overlooked by international development effortsthat could dramatically improve their lives and prospects.
Children who lack protection are often invisible. Millions of children are invisible to the world because their plight is hidden,under-reported, or openly neglected. Children who are most likely to become invisible have no formal identity, grow up withoutthe loving care of parents or family, are pressed too early into adult responsibilities, and exploited for profit. The world cannotafford to let children slip from view. By allowing children to disappear from view and failing to reach and protect them, societiescondemn children to more neglect and abuse, with lasting consequences for their well-being and for the development of their communities and countries. Children need a protective environment to shield them from harm. All levels of society ¡V fromfamilies and governments to teachers and the media have a part to play individually and collectively to prevent abuse and toensure that children are not made invisible or forgotten. Children deserve to live in safety and with dignity. Abuse and exploitationare an affront to every child's dignity and an intolerable violation of their rights. Protecting children is essential to their physicaland emotional health, their general well-being, and their ability to develop to their fullest potential. It is therefore essential to thehuman and economic development of nations.
UNICEF's mission is to advocate for the protection of children's rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential. UNICEF is guided in doing this by the provisions and principles of the Convention onthe Rights of the Child. Built on varied legal systems and cultural traditions, the Convention is a universally agreed set of non-negotiable standards and obligations. These basic standards also called human rights' set minimum entitlements and freedoms thatshould be respected by governments. They are founded on respect for the dignity and worth of each individual,regardless of race, colour, gender, language, religion, opinions, origins, wealth, birth status or ability and therefore apply to everyhuman being everywhere. The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first legally binding international instrument toincorporate the full range of human rights' civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. In 1989, world leaders decided thatchildren needed a special convention just for them because people under 18 years old often need special care and protection thatadults do not. The four core principles of the Convention are non-discrimination; devotion to the best interests of the child; theright to life, survival and development; and respect for the views of the child. Every right spelled out in the Convention is inherentto the human dignity and harmonious development of every child. The Convention protects children's rights by setting standardsin health care; education; and legal, civil and social services. The principles outlined in the international human rights framework apply both to children and adults. Children are mentioned explicitly in many of the human rights instruments; standards arespecifically modified or adapted where the needs and concerns surrounding a right are distinct for children.All children have the same rights. All rights are interconnected and of equal importance. The Convention stresses these principlesand refers to the responsibility of children to respect the rights of others, especially their parents. By the same token, children'sunderstanding of the issues raised in the Convention will vary depending on the age of the child. Helping children to understandtheir rights does not mean parents should push them to make choices with consequences they are too young to handle. TheConvention expressly recognizes that parents have the most important role in the bringing up children.
The Juvenile Justice (Care And Protection Of Children) ACT, 2000
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, which has replaced the earlier Juvenile Justice Act, 1986, has been enforced in the entire country except the State of Jammu & Kashmir w.e.f 1st April 2001. The new law is friendlier and provides for proper care and protection.
A clear distinction has been made in this Act between the juvenile offender and neglected child
. It also prescribes a uniform age of 18 years below which both boys and girls are to be treated as children. It also aims toenable increased accessibility to a juvenile or the child by establishing Juvenile Justice Boards and Child WelfareCommittees and Homes in each district or group of districts.
A Programme for Juvenile Justice
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 lays down the primary law for not only the care and protectionof the children but also for the adjudication and disposition of matters relating to children in conflict with law. For theimplementation of the Act, the Ministry is implementing a plan Scheme called, Programme for Juvenile Justice. The objectives of the Programme for Juvenile Justice are:
To extend help to State Governments to bear the cost of infrastructure and services development under the Juvenile Justice Actin order to ensure that in no circumstances the child in conflict with law is lodged in a regular prison.
To ensure minimum quality standards in the juvenile justice services.
To provide adequate services for prevention of social mal-adjustment and rehabilitation of socially mal-adjusted juveniles.i
Ensure participation of community and other organizations into the care and protection of children in conflict with law who are perhaps more vulnerable than other groups of children.