Children's Rights

Children's Rights: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Participation and Protection

Tom O’Neill
Dawn Zinga
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 384
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442687615
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  • Book Info
    Children's Rights
    Book Description:

    The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was incorporated into international law in 1989. Since its adoption, it has been ratified by nearly all member nations. An outline of the basic rights of all persons under the age of 18, the Convention has various implications and its importance cannot be contested. This collection focuses on children's rights as defined by the U.N. Convention, and their relevance in both national and international contexts.

    The contributors discuss the Convention from different disciplinary perspectives, but are united in the belief that it is a tool to be utilized and contextualized by individuals, institutions, and communities. If there is a single conviction to be found throughoutChildren's Rightsit is that the rights of the child are far too important to be left to states alone to provide and protect. To paint a detailed picture of the subject as a whole, the volume looks at situations in which the basic rights of children are often denied such as violent social conflict, parental abandonment, and social inequality. Consisting of thirteen essays by prominent scholars, it is an in-depth and interdisciplinary exploration of the significance of children's rights, and a tremendous resource for those working with children and youth in institutional and educational settings.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8761-5
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-x)
    LANDON PEARSON and JUDY FINLAY

    This collection of papers assists in advancing the dialogue on children’s rights. It reinforces the interconnectedness between human rights and respect for children. Respecting children goes beyond merely listening to what they have to say. It means hearing their words with your eyes, your ears, your heart, and your undivided attention. It advocates using the voice of children to inform action. We applaud this publication as a welcome addition to the children’s rights movement. It endorses children’s participation as citizens.

    Canada was an active player in drafting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). There were...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-18)
    TOM O’NEILL and DAWN ZINGA

    The promulgation of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child is changing the way we think about children, and the fact that it is now the most widely ratified international covenant in history shows that much of the world is serious about those changes. This is something to be celebrated, for although many of the world’s children continue to languish in conditions of poverty, disease, and conflict, we now have the tools that the CRC provides to improve their condition, and a global legal framework to redress those countries that do not comply. As formidable as this framework...

  6. PART ONE: A WORLD OF CHILDREN’S RIGHTS

    • 1 The Dilemma of Child and Youth Participation in Nepal’s People’s War
      (pp. 21-38)
      TOM O’NEILL

      Like the Vietnam War, the successes and failures of the Maoist insurgency in Nepal have been largely measured in body counts. The Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC), a Nepalese human rights organization, publishes frequent tallies of numbers of dead, missing, and tortured, all organized into tidy categories of ethnicity, gender, occupation, and district. Thus, from February 1996, when the ‘People’s War’ began, to March 2004 there were 9170 dead, or, as they neatly summarize, 3.16 deaths per day. The numbers of dead police officers, soldiers, agricultural workers, and Maoist insurgents among others were separately counted. INSEC’s periodical bulletins have evolved...

    • 2 Protecting the Rights of International ‘Orphans’: Evaluating the Alternatives
      (pp. 39-68)
      LUCY LE MARE, KARYN AUDET and KAREN KURYTNIK

      This chapter addresses the rights of abandoned and orphaned children drawing particularly on examples from Romania, Russia, and China. Specifically, we consider how well the rights of the child, as described in the 1990 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), can be and typically are upheld in a variety of care arrangements, including institutional settings, foster care, and domestic and foreign adoptive homes.

      Human Rights Watch (1998) estimates that worldwide several million children are being raised in residential institutions (orphanages), making this the most common care arrangement for international orphans. In Romania, Russia, and China combined,...

    • 3 Becoming-Child: Ontology, Immanence, and the Production of Child and Youth Rights
      (pp. 69-84)
      HANS SKOTT-MYHRE and DONATO TARULLI

      Much of the current discourse of human rights unfolds within the landscape of epistemology. This is a discourse, more specifically, that addresses issues in the interpretation and implementation of human rights, as these rights are represented and codified in official, juridical forms, such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Several of the chapters in this volume pursue this epistemological tack (e.g., see Zinga and Young for a discussion of the various definitional issues that complicate the implementation of rights-based educational curricula). Discourses oriented towards such epistemological concerns are critical for furthering our understanding of...

    • 4 Children’s Right to Education: Contextualizing Its Expression in Developed and Developing Countries
      (pp. 85-112)
      DAWN ZINGA and SHERRI YOUNG

      A current challenge facing countries around the globe is to find ways of interpreting and implementing children’s rights in a way that is culturally relevant and can become embedded in countries’ policies and practices. This is particularly important in the case of education, as associated policies are influenced by perceptions of children and their roles within society. The United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) recognizes children’s right to education and specifies that education should be free to all children on an equal-opportunity basis. However, the CRC does not have a mechanism under which violations of children’s...

  7. PART TWO: PROTECTING CHILDREN’S RIGHTS

    • 5 Entitlement Beyond the Family: Global Rights Commitments and Children’s Health Policy in Canada
      (pp. 115-136)
      CANDACE JOHNSON

      The preceding chapters demonstrate that children’s rights in Canada, as elsewhere, are indefinite and, in many cases, unfulfilled. Rights violations are especially egregious in times of conflict, as revealed by Tom O’Neill’s study of children in Nepal. However, in times of peace and political stability, and in the most developed and democratic nations, children’s rights are still neglected. While the clear normative promises of human rights, best expressed through the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), have given shape to domestic policy commitments, the ability of children to understand and claim those rights remains limited. The...

    • 6 There’s No Place Like Home: The Child’s Right to Family
      (pp. 137-162)
      MARJORIE AUNOS and MAURICE FELDMAN

      This quote comes from the United Nations Special Session on Children held on 8–10 May 2002, which was meant as a follow-up to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), adopted twelve years earlier. In this session, leaders from around the world reiterated that families should be provided with assistance and protection, as they are the first and primary unit in which children grow, learn, and develop (CRC, 1990, Preamble). Based on the spirit of the CRC, we see that promoting the rights of children partly means supporting the rights of families, as long as this is...

    • 7 Human Rights for Children and Youth with Developmental Disabilities
      (pp. 163-194)
      FRANCES OWEN, CHRISTINE TARDIF-WILLIAMS, DONATO TARULLI, GLENYS MCQUEEN-FUENTES, MAURICE FELDMAN, CAROL SALES, KAREN STONER, LEANNE GOSSE and DOROTHY GRIFFITHS

      Throughout history, children and youth with disabilities have been rejected from society and subjected to a different standard of treatment regarding their rights. However, the past half-century has witnessed the adoption of the United Nation Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons (1971), and the Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons (1975). Although most Canadians have come to assume the protection of rights and freedoms as articulated in declarations and conventions of law, including theCanadian Charter of Rights and Freedomsof 1985 (Brabeck & Lauren, 2000), the rights of...

    • 8 Protecting the Rights of Alleged Victims of Child Abuse in Adult-Based Judicial Systems
      (pp. 195-216)
      KIM P. ROBERTS and ANGELA D. EVANS

      The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child asserts that states parties are obligated to protect children from abuse, neglect, and maltreatment by establishing ‘effective procedures for ... identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment, and follow-up of instances of child maltreatment ... and, as appropriate, judicial involvement’ (article 19). Establishing what effective procedures entail has proved to be a difficult dance for countries with adult-based, adversarial judicial systems such as Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Jurors in child abuse trials, for example, sometimes rely on the child’s distressed demeanour to conclude that abuse did take place...

  8. PART THREE: WEIGHING PROTECTION AND PARTICIPATION RIGHTS IN SCHOOLS

    • 9 Child Rights in Cyber-Space: Protection, Participation, and Privacy
      (pp. 219-244)
      shaheen shariff and leanne johnny

      In the recentUnited Nations World Report on Violence against Children(Pinheiro, 2006) it was noted that bullying in schools has become a growing problem, especially within the North American context. While educators have been grappling with this issue for a number of years, the rapid increase in cellphone and computer use among youth has made this matter increasingly more complex. For example, cyber-bullying has emerged as a covert form of verbal and written harassment, conveyed by adolescents and teens through electronic mediums such as cellphones, text messages, web-cams, offensive websites, chat rooms, and email. It can include websites that...

    • 10 Too Little, Too Late: The Right to Comprehensive Sexual Health Education in Childhood and Adolescence
      (pp. 245-270)
      JOHANNA VAN VLIET and REBECCA RABY

      The provision of sexual health education to children and adolescents is frequently contentious: what should be taught, by whom, and when? Such concerns about sexual health education are shaped by constructions of childhood innocence and adolescent risk-taking; constructions of gender and gender inequality; and conflicting conceptualizations of rights. We will briefly discuss constructions of childhood, adolescence, and gender, as well as general arguments supporting the implementation of effective sexual health education programs. The bulk of this chapter, however, examines two documents relevant to sexual health education in Ontario: the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and...

    • 11 Special Education Rights: Services for Children with Special Needs in Ontario Schools
      (pp. 271-296)
      SHEILA BENNETT, DON DWORET and MANTA ZAHOS

      ‘Welcome to the war zone that is special education in Ontario’ reads a front-page article in theToronto Starfrom 5 December 2005. This article, entitled ‘Parents, schools fight $1.8B special needs war,’ had as its focus the disconnect between parents of students with special needs and the educators who work with them. ‘War zone’ is an overly dramatic and media-catchy turn of phrase perhaps, but, it does represent to some extent the deeply rooted complex issues that define the delivery of service to approximately 290,800 children in the province of Ontario. Spread over seventy-two school boards and delivered with...

    • 12 Bullying Prevention and the Rights of Children: Psychological and Democratic Aspects
      (pp. 297-325)
      MONIQUE LACHARITE and ZOPITO A. MARINI

      Given the systemic and pervasive nature of the behaviours involved, school bullying has come to be regarded as a complex and dynamic phenomenon, encompassing a variety of interrelated issues, ranging from psychosocial maladjustments (Marini, Dane, Bosacki, & YLCCURA, 2006[a]) to moral concerns (Bosacki, Marini, & Dane, 2006; Arsenio, Gold, & Adams, 2006; Nucci, 2006). In keeping with the contextualizing of bullying as a multifaceted issue, there has been an increasing concern with the ‘health’ and ‘democratic’ deficits associated with the experience of bullying and victimization. Thus, in a recent paper, we have argued that owing to its serious and potentially...

    • 13 Rights and Responsibility: Secondary School Conduct Codes and the Production of Passive Citizenship
      (pp. 326-346)
      REBECCA RABY

      Young people spend an inordinate amount of time in schools, and it is these institutions, it is presumed, that teach them not only academic but social and citizenship skills. The latter are addressed, in part, through school codes of conduct. Such codes invariably and necessarily focus on governance in the present, but also often address the preparation of young people for future citizenship and employment. This paper examines secondary school codes of conduct in terms of their stated goals and styles of presentation. It will be argued that while there are tensions within these codes in terms of the kind...

  9. Contributors
    (pp. 347-348)