The Importance of the Uncrc to Singapore

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  • Topic: Human rights, Nationality law, Compulsory education
  • Pages : 5 (1090 words )
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  • Published : December 4, 2012
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The General Importance of the UNCRC to Singapore

Children have additional needs because of their vulnerability Children face a confusing array of minimum ages at which they are deemed capable of making decisions for themselves – some of them potentially life-changing. The UNCRC is sometimes spoken of as the most complete of the international human rights instruments as it includes civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights as well as incorporating aspects of humanitarian law. The UNCRC makes children the holders of over 40 fundamental rights while respecting individual traditions and cultures in child care. The UNCRC has been ratified more quickly and by more governments than any other human rights instrument. It addresses these dilemmas by introducing the idea that children should be able to exercise their rights as they acquire the capacity to do so, rather than when they reach a certain age.

The Specific Importance

Definition of the child

The Committee is concerned that the Children and Young Persons Act is only applicable to persons under the age of 16 and that the minimum age of criminal responsibility (7 years) and the minimum age of employment (12 years) are too low.

The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Extend the Children and Young Persons Act to cover all persons under the age of 18; (b) Raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility to an internationally acceptable level; (c) Raise the minimum age of employment to 15 years, the age for the end of compulsory schooling

General principles - Non Discrimination

The Committee is concerned that the principle of non-discrimination is restricted to citizens, that the Constitution does not expressly prohibit discrimination against women or persons with disabilities, and that societal discrimination against girls, children with disabilities and non-residents persists.

The Committee recommends that the State party amend its legislation to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender or disability and ensure that it is applicable to all persons in the State party. The Committee further recommends that the State party undertake all necessary proactive measures to combat societal discrimination, in particular against girls, children with disabilities and non-residents, through, inter alia, public education and awareness campaigns.

Civil rights and freedoms

The Committee is concerned that elements of the State party’s immigration and citizenship laws do not fully conform to articles 2 and 7 of the Convention. In particular, the Committee is concerned that Singaporean citizenship is not acquired automatically by children of a Singaporean mother and a foreign father born overseas, and that in such cases the mother is obliged to apply for “citizenship by registration”.

The Committee recommends that the State party review its citizenship and immigration laws and undertake the necessary reforms to ensure that they respect, as far as possible, the right of the child to nationality and identity, without discrimination.

Basic health and welfare

The Committee notes with appreciation the excellent level of health indicators for children and the wide availability of high-quality health-care services, as noted in paragraph 3 above. However, it remains concerned that the incidence of exclusive breastfeeding is relatively low and that youth suicide rates are on the rise.

The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Strengthen its efforts to promote exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of an infant’s life through, inter alia, the adoption and implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes, obtaining certification for hospitals as baby-friendly hospitals and extending maternity leave; (b) Strengthen adolescent health services, in particular counselling services and suicide prevention programmes.

Education, leisure and cultural...
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