Towards an Emancipatory Discourse of Children’s Rights

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Rights are tools of empowerment. However, the hegemonic children’s rights discourse, crystalized in the UNCRC, is anything but child empowering because it is indebted to specific Euro-American adult understandings which picture the child as ignorant, innocent and needy and the child’s human rights as a concession granted by adults. From a survey of the relevant literature this paper critiques and pretends to challenge this disempowering conception. If historically the strength of any given right has depended on its condition of being conquered, the paper reframes the dominant discourse from the standpoint of real children, specifically working children, fighting for their rights. The paper thus embraces the experiences of children driving the children’s rights movement and takes steps to advance an emancipatory discourse of their rights where they become legislators by achieving authoritative, norm-creating capacity.

Towards an Emancipatory Discourse of Children’s Rights

in The International Journal of Children's Rights

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GENERAL COMMENT No. 12 (2009) The right of the child to be heard (CRC/C/GC/12).

24)

 See Dhami 2005. This does not imply that I favour the lowering of the age of criminal responsibility. I am just pointing to the necessary social link between rights and duties citizenship and responsibility.

33)

 See SOWC 2003: 12.

52)

Cussiánovich (2006) thinks that even though Kundapur was quite open and democratic it did not ultimately depend on the NATs organizations and was financed by some organisms which openly rejected the possibility of empowering working children. That is why for him the first world encounter of NATs was properly the one held in Berlin in 2004 because Kundapur betrayed the very autonomy that the NATs are fighting for. For the texts of the Declaration of these meetings see: http://www.italianats.org/dichiarazioni.php

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