Saturday, 25 April 2015

Convention on the Rights of the Child


GENEVA (4 October 2016) – “The lesson that somebody can be thrown in jail for their speech is exactly the wrong kind of message that any government should be sending to anybody, but especially to young people,” the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, said today.

“The criminalisation of a broad range of legitimate, even if offensive, forms of expression is not the right tool for any State to pursue legitimate aims such as tolerance and the rights of others,” the expert said following the 29 September sentencing by a Singapore court teenage blogger Amos Yee to six weeks imprisonment for “wounding religious feelings”.

In a statement issued in August, Mr. Kaye noted that the international human rights law allows only serious and extreme instances of incitement to hatred to be prohibited as criminal offences, not other forms of expression, even if they are offensive, disturbing or shocking. “Threats of criminal action and lawsuits contribute to a culture of self-censorship, and hinder the development of an open and pluralistic environment where all forms of ideas and opinions should be debated and rebutted openly,” the Special Rapporteur highlighted.

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Teen blogger Amos Yee gets 6 weeks' jail and $2,000 fine for wounding religious feelings

Amos Yee was sentenced to six weeks' jail and a $2,000 fine in total for his eight charges which include wounding Muslim and/or Christian feelings. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW
Fifteen months after he was given a prison sentence for intending to wound religious feelings, teenage blogger Amos Yee on Thursday (Sept 29) was again given a jail term for the same crime.

The 17-year-old was sentenced to six weeks' jail and a $2,000 fine in total for eight charges - two for failing to turn up at a police station and six for intending to wound the feelings of Muslims and/or Christians.

Principal District Judge Ong Hian Sun said Yee is not lacking in his mental capacity to make rational choices in the way he conducts himself, adding that he has the capability to do good or harm with what he does and says.

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Is Amos Yee a child?
So, is he?
This question has been raised by some people because Amos Yee, the teenager who has been in the news for a video he posted about the late Lee Kuan Yew, is a mere 16-years old.
Still, he is being charged and tried as an adult, for offences under the sedition, harassment and obscenity laws.
But is someone of that age considered a child?
Well, it depends

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United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty


11. For the purposes of the Rules, the following definitions should apply:

  • (a) A juvenile is every person under the age of 18. The age limit below which it should not be permitted to deprive a child of his or her liberty should be determined by law;
  • (b) The deprivation of liberty means any form of detention or imprisonment or the placement of a person in a public or private custodial setting, from which this person is not permitted to leave at will, by order of any judicial, administrative or other public authority.
12. The deprivation of liberty should be effected in conditions and circumstances which ensure respect for the human rights of juveniles. Juveniles detained in facilities should be guaranteed the benefit of meaningful activities and programmes which would serve to promote and sustain their health and self-respect, to foster their sense of responsibility and encourage those attitudes and skills that will assist them in developing their
potential as members of society.

13. Juveniles deprived of their liberty shall not for any reason related to their status be denied the civil, economic, political, social or cultural rights to which they are entitled under national or international law, and which are compatible with the deprivation of liberty.


17. Juveniles who are detained under arrest or awaiting trial ("untried") are presumed innocent and shall be treated as such. Detention before trial shall be avoided to the extent possible and limited to exceptional circumstances. Therefore, all efforts shall be made to apply alternative measures. When preventive detention is nevertheless used, juvenile courts and investigative bodies shall give the highest priority to the most expeditious processing of such cases to ensure the shortest possible duration of detention. Untried detainees should be separated from convicted juveniles.

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OHCHR - Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989 entry into force 2 September 1990, in accordance with article 49

Article 1
For the purposes of the present Convention, a child means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.

Article 2
  1. States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child's or his or her parent's or legal guardian's race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.
  2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that the child is protected against all forms of discrimination or punishment on the basis of the status, activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of the child's parents, legal guardians, or family members.
Article 3
1. In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.

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Unicef - Convention on the Rights of the Child
FACT SHEET: A summary of the rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Article 1 (Definition of the child):
The Convention defines a 'child' as a person below the age of 18, unless the laws of a particular country set the legal age for adult hood younger. The Committee on the Rights of the Child, the monitoring body for the Convention, has encouraged States to review the age of majority if it is set below 18 and to increase the level of protection for all children under 18.

Article 2 (Non-discrimination):
 The Convention applies to all children, whatever their race, religion or abilities; whatever they think or say, whatever type of family they come from. It doesn’t matter where children live, what language they speak, what their parents do, whether they are boys or girls, what their culture is, whether they have a disability or whether they are rich or poor. No child should be treated unfairly on any basis.

Article 3 (Best interests of the child):
The best interests of children must be the primary concern in making decisions that may affect them. All adults should do what is best for children. When adults make decisions, they should think about how their decisions will affect children. This particularly applies to budget, policy and law makers.

related: Reimagine The Future

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Amnesty International - Protect Children's Human Rights

On November 20, 1989, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a landmark for human rights. Here for the first time was a treaty that sought to address the particular needs of children and to set minimum standards for the protection of their rights. It is the first international treaty to guarantee civil and political rights as well as economic, social, and cultural rights.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely accepted human rights treaty - of all the United Nations member states, only the United States and Somalia have not ratified it.

One of the Convention's key strengths is that it recognizes that rights must be actively promoted if they are going to be enforced -- awareness isn't enough. Children's rights activists have a powerful tool for campaigning for the protection of children's human rights in the almost worldwide acceptance of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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Singapore Court System

The Singapore Court System consists of two tiers:
  1. State Courts
  2. Supreme Court
The District Courts and Magistrate Courts hear both civil and criminal cases.

Family Court
The Family Court deals with various family-related matters. One aspect it covers is maintenance orders. For example, if a husband neglects to maintain his wife, she can apply to the Family Court for an order that her husband makes monthly contributions to maintain her.

Coroner's Court
The Coroner's Court holds inquiries to ascertain the cause of a person's death and whether anyone is criminally responsible. Such inquiries are held when there is reason to suspect that a person has died in a sudden or unnatural manner, by violence, or when the cause of death is unknown and in situations where the law requires an inquiry.

Juvenile Court
The Juvenile Court deals with offences committed by persons below 16 years of age. The Juvenile Court is empowered with various options to deal with a juvenile offender, such as committing the offender to the care of a relative or other fit person, community service orders, probation orders, detention and reformative training. The Juvenile Court also deals with Beyond Parental Control cases.

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Children and Young Persons Act (CHAPTER 38)

An Act to provide for the welfare, care, protection and rehabilitation of children and young persons who are in need of such care, protection or rehabilitation, to regulate homes for children and young persons and to consolidate the law relating to children and young persons.
  • “child” means a person who is below the age of 14 years;
  • “juvenile” means a male or female person who is 7 years of age or above and below the age of 16 years;
  • “young person” means a person who is 14 years of age or above and below the age of 16 years
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The age of majority applicable in Singapore is 21 years old as provided by common law. However, there are different definitions of “a child” stated in various legislations for specific purpose.

  • According to the Children and Young Person Act (CYPA) 2001, a “child” is a person below the age of 14. A “young person” means a person who is 14 years of age or above but below the age of 16 years. A “juvenile” means a male or female person who is 7 years of age or above but below the age of 16 years. The Employment Act adopts the same definitions as the CYPA for a “child” and a “young person”.
  • The Women’s Charter 1997 defines “a child” as a “child of the marriage who is below 21 years”, and a “minor” as “a person who is below the age of 21 years and who is not married, or a widower or a widow”. Under the Women’s Charter, any person who has carnal connection with a girl below the age of 16 years, except by way of marriage, is guilty of an offence. The Penal Code provides that an offence of statutory rape is made out if (among other things) a man has sexual intercourse with a girl even with her consent if she is below 14 years of age. This means that a “child” below 14 years old cannot legally consent to sexual intercourse.
  • The Smoking (Control of Advertisement and Sale of Tobacco) Act prohibits the sale or giving of tobacco products to persons under 18 years. Under the Custom (Liquor Licensing) Regulations, it is an offence for a licensee to permit a person under the age of 18 to consume alcoholic liquor at the licensed premises or for the person under 18 years to purchase alcoholic liquor.
In October 1995, Singapore became signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), pledging its commitment to help children when they are in an environment of abuse and neglect. The UNCRC defines a “child” as someone below the age of 18.

Regardless of how a “child” is defined, these laws are designed to promote and protect the best interests of the children, to punish those who victimise them, and to ensure appropriate treatment for their recovery and social integration

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Publishing Photo of Toa Payoh Vandals Violates The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child - Remy Choo Zheng Xi

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Singapore Teenagers Up Against The Law

The actions of 18-year-old Daryl Lim - who was on Monday (Apr 20) sentenced to 10 days of detention and 150 hours of community service for assaulting foreign workers with his friends - are “unacceptable” and “sickening”, said Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam.

“To think that a young man who has benefited from the system can act with such cruelty, without compassion, without empathy, and without any kind of consideration,” he said on the sidelines of the 7th Meeting of Singapore Honorary-Consuls General.

It was previously reported that Daryl, an Institute of Technical Education student, and his friends had decided to practise their martial arts skills by assaulting foreign workers last September and October.

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