Children's right



Human rights are inherent and inalienable. When a child is born, by virtue of being born, they have fundamental rights that cannot and should not be taken away from them. With the surge of armed conflicts over the last few decades, children are left perturbed and in a state of utter trauma as their rights are often trampled upon and ignored. The most ratified human rights treaty in the world, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child, clearly stipulates the rights of children, thus protecting them from danger and enabling their development. But the question is, are these rights protected during armed conflict? And if not, what can be done to better the situation?

The Rights of Children during Armed Conflict 

Generally, during armed conflict, children enjoy special protection and care, regardless of their region of origin. This has been laid down in several conventions including the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their additional protocols of 1977, the 1989 Convention on the Rights of a Child, and its recent optional protocol. 

However, practically speaking, this is not often the case. During armed conflicts, whether nationally or internationally, it is not uncommon for children to participate in hostilities. Many of them get recruited as combatants and even bring weapons and munitions to armed groups. For children who are not active participants, their right to life, education and other social amenities are violated.

All of these scenarios undoubtedly put children in precarious situations, as they are innocent victims of these events and are unsure of what to do.

How to Protect Children’s Rights during Armed Conflict

In order for the rights of children to be protected during armed conflicts, states need to take feasible measures to ensure that children are prevented from taking part in hostilities. Their recruitment into armed groups, either directly or indirectly, should be prohibited.

States also have the responsibility to ratify treaties protecting children in armed conflicts. Measures ought to be incorporated into their national legal systems to implement these treaties. Separate and impartial national organs need to be created during armed conflicts and even prior, focusing strictly on protecting children’s rights.


Children are important, and their rights need not be ignored, especially during hostilities. Instead, they are to be afforded maximum protection at all costs in such situations. States need to ensure that children’s rights are a top priority and take appropriate steps to ensure the protection of their rights.

Britney Isambi Ngube


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