Constitutional Rights of Children

Constitutional Rights of Children: A Comparative and Critically Study
under the Constitution of India and Indonesia

Author: Pan Mohamad Faiz
Subject: Constitutional Law, Human Rights
Time: December 2006

“Human Rights begin with Children’s Rights

The role that children play in society is becoming increasingly more important. Their proper development is essential to the future functioning of the nation. A reciprocal respect needs to be fostered amongst children and adults so that each will respect the worth and individuality of the other. The 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child strives to accomplish this in the guidelines it proposes. How we as a society, both adult and child, choose to interpret it remains essentially each nation’s choice, but if interpreted positively and reciprocally it has all the potential to enhance the building of a stronger nations.

Indian experience provides cautionary tales and constructive insights that may prove useful to those who advocate the incorporation of children’s rights into the scheme of constitutional law. The Indian Constitution contains the most explicit constitutionalization to date of children’s rights. It is no accident that the Indian Constitution singles out children for special protections.

The specificity of the Indian text, one hopes, will help to prevent the backlashes and judicial backsliding that characterize Indonesian experiences following periods of rights-building. In contrast to the Indonesia Constitution, whose drafters left wrangling endlessly over the legitimacy of interpretational models, the Indian Constitution includes detailed instructions on how the text should be read and applied. While these provisions may not resolve all future interpretational dilemmas, at least they explicitly encourage judges to embrace opportunities for constitutional growth and to avoid the traps of excessive formalism.

This research, comparing two very different experiences, that of India and that of the Indonesia, has application beyond the specific topic of rights for children. It focuses attention on a range of elements that seem to ease or complicate the process of bringing each succeeding generation of claimants into the world of constitutional rights.

The Indian and Indonesia constitutions also differ in many respects. The Indonesian Constitution is quite short–only 16 chapter and 37 articles–and often frustratingly vague. The Indian Constitution is easily almost 120 times longer, containing 444 articles and 12 schedules, for a total 1.117.369 words in the English language version. Even though Indian Constitution is only one year difference after Indonesian constitution came into affect, but there have been a total of 93 amendments to the constitution of India, as of 2006. It is a big distinction amount of amendment to the constitution of Indonesia which has been amending only four times since 1945.

Explicitly embracing the newest category of rights-bearers, the Indian Constitution provides a detailed listing of the rights of children. By contrast, the Indonesian Constitution’s text is silent as to virtually all of these important issues. Not only is it silent as to children’s rights, it also says nothing about gender and age discrimination, pregnancy and reproduction, or the rights of parents and families.

The Indian Laws are explicit not only about the substance of rights, but also about numerous procedural and jurisprudential issues such as standing and interpretation. It makes various rights binding not only on public but also on private action, and establishes government structures for monitoring and enforcing these rights. The Indonesian laws, once again, is silent, restrictive or ambiguous regarding the scope, application and enforcement of rights. The Indian document includes careful instructions on its interpretation, and many provisions that constitute “tests” to apply in situations where competing rights and interests clash. Here again, the Indonesian document, particularly in juvenile justice system, provides only minimal guidance, leaving a vacuum interpretation.

Children’s rights are such an emerging claim, challenging Indian and Indonesian history but rooted in broad concepts like liberty, equality, and especially dignity. The fact has become glaringly evident as Indonesian has failed to respond to international pressures to acknowledge children’s rights. Finally, the lack of an explicit “dignity” principle and of expansive canons of interpretation hampers the natural growth of children’s constitutional rights. The difficulty of constructing a theory of children’s rights on the foundation of Indonesian constitutional doctrine arises in part from the fact that children are different from adults, and Indonesian constitution deals badly with real difference.

The above description is a brief conclusion which is taken from my legal research regarding to the constitution and children’s rights area. Basically, the research has systematical study as following structures:

“Constitutional Rights of Children: A Comparative and Critically Study
under the Constitution of India and Indonesia”


1.1. Background to Research Paper
1.2. Objectives
1.3. Research Methodology
1.4. Conceptual Definitions
1.4.1. Constitutional Rights
1.4.2. Children
1.5. Structure of Research Paper

2.1. Declaration of Geneva
2.2. 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child
2.3. Other United Nations Human Rights Instruments
2.4. Convention on the Rights of the Child
2.4.1. Origins and Background
2.4.2. The Drafting Process
2.4.3. Substantitive Rights
2.4.4. The Implementation Mechanism
2.5. International Recognition
2.5.1. The World Summit for Children, 1990
2.5.2. UN Conference of Environment and Development, 1992
2.5.3. World Conference of Human Rights, 1993
2.5.4. International Labour Organisation
2.6. Juvenile Justice
2.6.1. International Instruments

3.1. Constitutional Provisions
3.2. Legislative Measures
3.2.1. Factories Act, 1948
3.2.2. The Mines Act, 1952
3.2.3. The Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961
3.2.4. The Apprentice Act, 1961
3.2.5. The Beedi and Cigar Workers Act, 1966
3.2.6. The Merchant Shipping Act, 1958
3.2.7. The Plantation Labour Act, 1951
3.2.8. Shops and Commercial Establishment Act, 1969
3.2.9. The Children (Pledging of Labour) Act, 1933
3.2.10. The Employment of Children Act, 1938
3.2.11. The Child Labour Act, 1986
3.3.12. Provisions under Secular Laws Civil Procedure Code, 1908 Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 Indian Penal Code, 1860 Indian Evidence Act, 1872 Indian Contract Act, 1872
3.3. Indian Juvenile Justice
3.3.1. Preamble
3.3.2. Juvenile in Conflict with Law
3.3.2. Juvenile Justice Board
3.3.3. Bail of Justice
3.3.5. Child Welfare Committee
3.3.6. Homes
3.3.7. Other Important Provisions

4.1. International Legal Framework
4.1.1. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
4.1.2. Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
4.1.3. The Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict
4.1.4. The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children
4.1.5. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
4.1.6. The Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration for Marriages
4.1.7. The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women
4.1.8. The International Labour Organization Convention No. 182 (ILO Convention 182)
4.1.9. The International Convention 138 Concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment (1973)
4.2. National Legal Framework
4.2.1. Constitutional Framework
4.2.1. General National Child Rights Framework
4.2.3. Definition of the Child and Age of Majority
4.3. Indonesian Juvenile Justice System
4.3.1. National Procedures for Administration of Juvenile Justice Investigation of Children Arrest and Detention of Children The Juvenile Court Hearing Sentencing
4.3.2. The Child Protection Act
4.3.3. Formal and Informal Practices in the Judicial System

5.1. Conclusions
5.2. Suggestions


I hope this simple research can be a beneficial legal research for constitutionalization of children’s rights in many countries. Criticisms to this research are also welcomed to present my better research paper in the future. Thence, everyone who is interested to read a whole of this research paper, particularly for constitution and human rights activist, they can ask for by inscribe their request and its purpose in a comment facility which has been provided under this article.

Best Regards,
New Delhi


One thought on “Constitutional Rights of Children

  1. assalamualaikum…

    salam kenal…pak faiz…
    nama saya thantien…saya mahasiswa jurusan kebijakan pendidikan di UMM,
    saya sering sekali membaca tulisan-tulisan pak faiz di blog…terus terang tulisan anda sangat renyah untuk dikonsumsi orang-orang yang awam hukum seperti saya ini…ringkas…padat…dan mencerahkan…

    btw…saya tertarik dengan makalah anda yang berjudul “Educational Neglect: Legal Perspective on the Right to Education” dan “Constitutional Rights of Children: A Comparative and Critically Study under the Constitution of India and Indonesia”
    apakah saya boleh membaca kedua makalah tersebut secara lengkap?
    jika anda berkenan…mohon bantuannya untuk dikirimkan ke email saya:

    sebab saat ini saya sedang menulis makalah berjudul:

    Constitutional Language’s Games: the State’s Obligation on Children’s Right to Education (A Legal Semiotics Study towards Constitutional Language in Indonesia)

    dan saya rasa…bahasan makalah anda sepertinya sangat terkait dengan makalah saya…begitu…meskipun rencananya saya akan lebih fokus pada segi bahasa konstitusinya…

    btw lagi…apa anda juga pernah membahas mengenai semiotika hukum atau apapun yang berkaitan dengan “language and law”? jika anda berkenan…saya mohon bantuannya untuk dikirimkan juga…kalau anda tidak keberatan…

    dan…kira-kira apa anda bisa memberikan informasi…kira-kira dimana ya…saya bisa mendapatkan official translation dari UU Sisdiknas + UU HAM + UU PA versi bahasa Inggris? karena yang mudah didapat hanya UUD 1945 english version yang officially translated…untuk UU yang lainnya sulit sekali mencarinya…

    maaf karena sudah merepotkan anda…
    terimakasih banyak pak faiz…

    hanya Allah SWT yang dapat membalas semua kebaikan anda…


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