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In Your Best Interest

A Discussion of How Capability Approach Could be Used as a Guideline to Strengthen and Supplement the Principle of the Child’s Best Interests

Monica Strømland, Anders J W. Andersen, Venke F. Johansen and Marianne K. Bahus

We introduce the opportunity for Capability Approach, developed by Martha C. Nussbaum (1997, 2006, 2011), to be used as a guideline to balance the principle of the child’s best interests as formulated in the crc, art. 3 and respect for family life, echr, art. 8, in cases where these principles are drawn in different directions. To contextualize a dilemma, we refer to two stories from the Norwegian courts which illustrate how complex this can be. The stories are similar in the way that they both are related to an evaluation of children`s best interests. We argue conclusively that the list of capabilities could strengthen and supplement the content of the principle of child’s best interests. The list constitutes a basis for participation and insight into the child’s situation, which is valuable when in a position of making decisions critical to the child’s current and future abilities, opportunities and potentialities.

Canada’s Detention of Children in Immigration Holding Centres

Human Rights Violation, Threat to Health and Reflection of Canada’s Problematic Political Economy

Tyler Dickens Ward and Dennis Raphael

Between 2015–2016, 201 children were held in detention in the Toronto Immigration Holding Centre (Canada Border Services Agency, 2017). There may have been even more held across Canada, but these figures are unavailable. Child detention is illegal under international law and causes serious mental, physical, and emotional health complications. In this article we discuss Canada’s detention of children drawing upon scholarship in the areas of (a) human rights and the law; (b) children’s health and health equity; and (c) the political economy of the welfare state. The paper provides alternatives to Canadian practices by describing child detention best practices.

Helen Stalford and Laura Lundy

Exploring the Everyday Lives of Children in Winnipeg, Canada

A Qualitative Investigation of Children’s Understanding of Well-being and Rights

Elizabeth Huynh and Ashley Stewart-Tufescu

Over the past decade there has been a call to action for researchers to explore children’s subjectivities in the context of well-being. How children understand and experience well-being in a Canadian context was examined in this study. Twenty-one children between 8 and 12 years of age participated in semi-structured interviews facilitated by the Life Story Board™. Three main themes emerged: (1) freedom and control, (2) child rights and social supports, and (3) children’s participation as social actors. Results from this study highlighted the importance of children needing to feel heard by parents and teachers; children being recognised as rights-holders with opportunities to actualise their rights; and children having meaningful opportunities to participate in matters which concerns them in everyday life as important components of subjective well-being. Results may serve to inform child-serving professionals, policymakers, and parents and guardians about how school-aged children from this Canadian context conceptualize and experience well-being.

Sarah M. Field

International law’s affirmation of everyone’s right to have rights came into being through a peacemaking process. Its deprivation continues to typify the emergent context that brings peace processes into being – and for some cohorts of the people, namely children, the process itself. The right is intuitively seductive. It resonates as self-evident: an inexorable abstraction of having rights. Yet it is also enigmatic and challenging to concretise. What is its content? What substantive rights are expressive of this right? What is their scope in peacemaking? And why is it – above for example more corporeal rights – so fundamental? Guided by these questions, the paper begins by reflecting on the right as crystallised by Hannah Arendt: it then shifts to reflecting on, first, its expression in international law and, second, its interrelations with the law of peace. In doing so, it yields legal and political opportunities for ensuring the right in peacemaking, and imagines a framework of evolving measures for bringing the right to life in the staged process. The paper concludes by arguing renewing engagement with this understated right offers a beacon for guiding responses to the complex child rights challenges yielded by peacemaking – and our interdependent and fragile twenty-first century world more generally.

Protected or Neglected?

Analysing Legislation Governing Minors’ Participation in Protest Rallies in Russia against the Background of International Law

Mariya Riekkinen, Serikhan Adilghazi and Aliya Tasbulatova

The aim of this article is to study the nexus between the autonomy of minors in implementing the right to peaceful assembly and the best interests of the child in safety. We consider the issue, taking Russia as an example, where the past tradition of denying children’s legal personality still surfaces in modern legislation dealing with the rights of the child. Pursuing child-sensitive practices of minors’ participation in protest are of special importance for Russia, where the legislation uses the term, “the legitimate interest of the child”, different in scope to, “the best interests of the child”. Our meta-question, hence, is whether the legal system of the Russian Federation allows full respect for minors’ autonomy in implementing participation rights while adequately addressing vulnerability of children. The article scrutinises a body of rules governing participation of under-aged persons in protest rallies which are stipulated by constitutional and administrative law going back to the practices of the Soviet era and referring to the standards of international law.

Valerie Verdoodt

An important domain in which children’s rights are reconfigured by internet use, is digital advertising. New advertising formats such as advergames, personalised and integrated advertising have permeated the online environments in which children play, communicate and search for information. The often immersive, interactive and increasingly personalised nature of these advertising formats makes it difficult for children to recognise and make informed and well-balanced commercial decisions. This raises particular issues from a children’s rights perspective, including, inter alia, their rights to development (Article 6, uncrc), privacy (Article 16, uncrc), protection against economic exploitation (Article 32, uncrc), freedom of thought (Article 17, uncrc) and education (Article 28, uncrc). The paper addresses this reconfiguration by translating the general principles and the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into the specific context of digital advertising. Moreover, it considers the different dimensions of the rights (i.e. protection, participation and provision) and how the commercialisation affects children and how their rights are exercised.