PROTECTING CHILDREN AND THEIR DIGNITY
Children are individuals:
They are not possessions of parents or the State and have equal status as every adult.
They depend on adults:
In their early years of life they depend on adults completely for nurture and security. Adults are responsible for guiding children towards independence.
They are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation:
Children are more vulnerable physically than adults, and they are more sensitive to emotional experiences. In many parts of the world, children are exploited as labourers or combatants in wars, and many children are abused each day in homes, schools, communities, institutions as well as on the streets and in cyberspace.
They are more affected by government policy than any other group:
Issues such as education and healthcare affect children directly and, in many cases, permanently. Comprehensive and far-sighted policy aids the development of children immeasurably.
And yet their voices are least heard in the political process:
Children do not vote, but special attention should be given to their opinions — in school or at home — and these should be represented in the community, media and in government if we are to understand fully the impact of our policies on their lives.
Social change has an enormous impact on their lives:
With globalisation and the changing nature of work, families are particularly vulnerable to falls in household income and shrinking real wages. The welfare of children is especially affected by economic and political uncertainty.
Children are the future:
The development — even the survival — of our society depends on the welfare of our children today. Issues such as poverty, healthcare, nutrition, environment and education affect children much more than adults because they are still developing.