Human Rights Violations Against Children

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As human beings, children are entitled to all the rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the various treaties that have developed from it. But children also need special protection and care. They must be able to depend on the adult world to take care of them, to defend their rights and to help them to develop and realize their potential. Yet, violence against children is endemic: each day, terrible abuses and acts of violence against children are committed worldwide. They suffer as many of the human rights abuses as the adults, but may also be targeted simply because they are dependent and vulnerable.

The Fifth Article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". Nevertheless, children are being tortured and mistreated by state officials; they are detained, lawfully or arbitrarily, often in appalling conditions; in some countries they are subjected to the death penalty. Countless thousands are killed or maimed in armed conflicts; many more have fled their homes to become refugees. Children forced by poverty or abuse to live on the streets are sometimes detained, attacked and even killed in the name of social cleansing. Many millions of children work at exploitative or hazardous jobs, or are the victims of child trafficking and forced prostitution. Because children are "easy targets", they are sometimes threatened, beaten or raped in order to punish family members who are not so accessible.

Amnesty International has been one of the organizations that has denounced this terrible situation in a new report published prior to the Human Rights Day. The report of Amnesty International sho...

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...taining 46 children. The children fled outside where they were made to lie face down on concrete, some only in their underwear, for hours. Several were allegedly sprayed in the face with mace while on the ground. The memorandum in support of the injunction noted that "penal officers at Jena have rubbed inmates' faces into cement floors, taken away clothing, slammed youths against doors, walls, and floors, and forced naked juveniles to squat with their buttocks in the air while searches are performed ... evidence exists showing officers actually have encouraged peer violence."

The situations mentioned above also apply to other institutions such as orphanages and refugee centers that in addition can be vulnerable to a great deal of exploitation by being used like subjects in drug experimentation and undergo cruelty, negligence, confinements and corporal punishment.

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