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Let’s Get to Know the Rights of Children in Indonesia

None of us might disagree that children are gifts that God has entrusted to humans to be able to be loved, cared for, and educated properly so that later they can become useful humans for themselves and those around them. As a country that upholds Human Rights (HAM), the government of Indonesia must provide legal protection and human rights to children who will later become the successors of Indonesia in the future.

According to a child protection law expert, Ahmad Kamil, child protection is the responsibility of parents, family, community, and government, which is a series of activities that are being held continuously for the protection of children’s rights. With the protection of their rights, children can also be protected from negative influences from the outside that later can interfere with their process of growth and development.

In every country including Indonesia, children’s rights have been regulated by law (Roza, 2018:10). The state bears the responsibility to provide guarantees for the welfare of children constitutionally in the Constitution (UUD 1945). The UUD 1945 is hierarchically issued and ratified as a legal product that forms the basis for policies and guidelines in treating Indonesian children, starting from legal products national and international laws that have been ratified by Indonesia (Ismawati, 2013: 1997). The regulations regarding child protection that have been stated in the UUD 1945 have not been able to become the key to success in ensuring the protection of children’s welfare in Indonesia. This is evidenced by the high number of cases of violence against children in Indonesia each year. Based on reports in the Online Information System for the Protection of Women and Children (SIMFONI PPA) per June 3, 2021, there were 3.122 cases of violence against children which were dominated by sexual violence. In addition, there are still many children who have not received their rights to the fullest as indicated by the number of children who drop out of school, children who work underage, children who are neglected by their parents, children who suffer from malnutrition, and children from cases of another disadvantage.

If so, then what are the rights that should be obtained for every child in Indonesia considering the high cases of deviations against children’s rights that still occur in Indonesia? According to the Child Protection Act (UU No. 23 of 2002 and UU No. 35 of 2014) states that a child is someone who is not yet 18 years old, including children who are still in the womb. There are children’s rights that are affirmed by the Child Protection Law Articles 4 to 18, namely:

  1. The right to live, grow, develop and participate fairly by human dignity and protection from violence and discrimination;
  2. The right to have a name as identity and citizenship status;
  3. The right to worship according to their religion, think and be creative according to their level of intelligence and age under the guidance of their parents;
  4. The right to know his parents, to be raised and cared for by his parents;
  5. The right to obtain health services and social security by physical, mental, spiritual, and social needs;
  6. The right to obtain education and teaching in the context of personal development and level of intelligence by his interests and talents;
  7. The right to obtain special education, rehabilitation, social assistance, and maintenance of social welfare standards for children with disabilities;
  8. The right to special education for children who have advantages;
  9. The right to express and be heard, receive, seek and provide information according to the level of intelligence and age for the sake of self-development by the values ​​of decency and propriety.
  10. The right to rest and take advantage of free time, socialize with children of the same age, play, have recreation, and be creative according to their interests, talents, and intelligence level for self-development;
  11. The right to be protected from discrimination, exploitation (both economic and sexual), neglect, cruelty, violence, persecution, injustice, and another mistreatment;
  12. The right to be cared for by his parents unless there are valid reasons and/or legal rules indicating that the separation is in the best interests of the child and is the final consideration;
  13. The right to obtain protection from targets of persecution, torture, or inhumane punishment;
  14. The right to freedom by the law;
  15. The right to receive humane treatment and placement that is separated from adults, to obtain legal aid or other assistance effectively in every stage of legal remedies in force, as well as to defend oneself and obtain justice before an objective and impartial Juvenile Court in a closed session for general, for every child deprived of liberty;
  16. The right to held confidentiality for every child who is a victim or perpetrator of sexual violence or who is in conflict with the law; and
  17. The right to obtain legal aid and other assistance, for every child who is a victim or perpetrator of a crime.

In the Journal of the Protection of Children’s Rights in Efforts to Improve Child Welfare, several efforts have been made by the government to follow up on the protection and fulfillment of children’s rights, including:

  1. Implementation of several programs by the government:
  2. Issuance of free birth certificates for children.
  3. Education on non-violent parenting methods for parents and teachers.
  4. Health services for children.
  5. Increase the budget for basic education and eliminate the cost of basic education.
  6. The making of UU/Perda by the DPR/DPRD to protect children from acts of violence and exploitation and to provide serious threats to perpetrators to create a deterrent effect.
  7. Law enforcers (police, prosecutors) and justice enforcers (judges) process every violation of children’s rights firmly, indiscriminately, and give appropriate sanctions to the violations committed.

In addition, every July 23 in Indonesia is celebrated as National Children’s Day (Hari Anak Nasional). According to the Indonesian Ministry of Child Empowerment and Protection (KPPAI), the commemoration of National Children’s Day is interpreted as the concern of the entire nation for the protection of Indonesian children to grow and develop optimally. The National Children’s Day commemoration is always celebrated with various positive activities that KPPAI has provided guidelines for the implementation of the HAN commemoration with full support from the government.

Although several efforts have been made by the government to integrate these regulations into concrete actions, the fulfillment of children’s rights has not yet been implemented properly in Indonesia. There is still a discontinuity between the role of the family and the role of the government in fulfilling children’s rights in Indonesia, even though children are considered as an investment of the nation that we must continue to protect and educate as best we can, starting from the smallest scope such as the family, to the large scope of the government.

A joint and synergized active role by families, communities, related institutions, as well as local and national governments is indispensable in carrying out the task of fulfilling children’s rights and supervising their implementation in daily life. The family as the closest agent of a child has the most significant role in ensuring the child grows and develops with fulfilled rights. In the case of children who live in an environment outside their families, such as street children in foundations or social institutions, it is also necessary to ensure that they have a decent and equal life with other normal children. Each party has an important role in ensuring the rights of street children and those at risk are fulfilled because, in the end, every dream of every child is valid and worth fighting for.

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