The chairwoman of the Viet Nam Association for Children Rights Protection,Tran Thi Thanh Thanh, spoke with Kinh te & Do thi (Economic and Urban Affairs) about a draft law on children's rights.
What do you think about the draft law on children?
The final draft law's content has been created in line with the Party and Government's views and the Vietnamese Constitution on human rights, especially children rights.
The draft law regulated responsibilities of the State and social organisations, including an article about the Viet Nam Association for Children's Rights Protection. The association has played an important role, working with State organisations in taking care of children.
Experts say the draft law outlines many rights but less duties for children. What is your opinion on that?
The law focused on how to protect, care for and educate children, as well as their rights to participate following the international convention on the rights of children. So, children's rights would be emphasised more with an aim to change society's view towards children, showing they need to be cared for and protected.
Some experts worry that children could abuse their rights and do bad things.
It's true. Many people have said the law includes too many rights and not enough duties for children. Along with the development of awareness, Viet Nam has also observed human rights, especially as international laws and regulations have focused increasingly on human rights.
Previously, human rights haven't been implemented fully in all aspects of the law. Now, human rights, especially children rights, can be ensured in Viet Nam through 24 new rights for children that have been regulated in great detail in the draft law.
The law says children are people under 18 years old. Many worry about a high number of children breaking laws, and whether the State budget could bear 4 million more children.
According to the legal definition, people below 18 years old are those who haven't reached full brain, intelligence, sentiment and physical development.
At moment, criminal law, labour law and many others still identify children as those below 16 years old. The youth law also has an article about juveniles, in which regulations on children between 16-18 years old were applied following the international convention on rights of children. Many policies and measures will be revised or adjusted in accordance with the youth law when the law is promulgated. I'm sure that we will face many difficulties in regards to that.
For me, fewer children would break the laws if they received better care and education with positive changes in the society, families and communities' awareness.
The policy may create a new generation of children who live with more ambition, emotion and self-reliance than previous ones. They would know to respect others and themselves and reduce their negative impacts.
Secondly, we will need more from the State budget for children if we say children are those under 18. The country's budget could bear this.
Article 88 of the draft law details the responsibilities of the Viet Nam Association for Children's Rights Protection and other social organisations. What are your comments on this?
For me, Article 88 is progressive, but it hasn't showed clear organisation characteristics. It needs to specify in detail the rights and responsibilities, such as the right to represent the voice of a child, to supervise policies on children's rights or to suggest measures or activities to protect children. — VNS