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Abstract

This article examines the duties imposed by international law and domestic legislation to facilitate the reporting of child abuse. With a focus on mandatory reporting legislation in four countries in Eastern and Southern Africa, the article fills a gap in existing literature which largely focuses on the “Global North”. The article elaborates on the complexities of introducing mandatory reporting in countries where the formal capacity to respond to child abuse is constrained and where child protection legislation may not align with the socio-cultural reality. The article posits that mandatory reporting legislation is useful in that it contributes towards an enabling environment to end violence against children. However, such legislation may be tokenistic and potentially undermine the rule of law if it is not accompanied by strengthening of systems of protection and addressing any conflict between formal and informal systems.

Open Access
In: The International Journal of Children's Rights

Abstract

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction creates an exception to the mandatory return of abducted children if the child objects to being returned to their country of habitual residence and has attained an age and degree of maturity at which it is appropriate to take account of their views. The Australian regulations also require that the child’s objection demonstrates a ‘strength of feeling beyond the mere expression of a preference or of ordinary wishes.’ This article examines this unique requirement and how it has been approached by the Family Court. It finds that many Australian judges treat the “strength of feeling” requirement as an additional hurdle that children must overcome before their objection can be taken into account. This approach is contrary to Australia’s international obligations under the Convention. A less restrictive approach, which some other judges follow, is recommended to ensure that the Convention’s primary objective of protecting children is met.

Open Access
In: The International Journal of Children's Rights
Author:

Abstract

The right to play is a multifaceted right and in its very nature crosses boundaries. Whilst human rights are indivisible, interrelated and interdependent, this article explores unique aspects of economic, social and cultural rights. It examines the ways in which the right to play applies to these categories of rights through looking at the nature and impact of play. The article argues that the right to play should be established and understood as an economic right, a social right and a cultural right, enabling discussion on the right to play to move forward to address its implementation.

Open Access
In: The International Journal of Children's Rights

Abstract

We know little about how children are portrayed in care order cases. Using a Child Equality Perspective (cep), which demands the child’s presence in proceedings even for children who are not capable of partaking fully in the decision-making process, we examine a sample of 216 judgments from 8 countries involving 220 infants. Our study reveals that the children remain largely invisible, but with clear country differences. Children’s invisibility constitutes a fundamental obstacle for children being “equal” in the judgments that will shape the child’s future. This invisibility raises concerns about the quality of the judicial decisions about the child’s best interest.

Open Access
In: The International Journal of Children's Rights

Abstract

Asylum-seeking families with children can be forced to return to their country of origin after staying several years in the Netherlands. The best interests of the child should play a role in return decisions. It is unclear whether the development of these children is threatened after forced return. This study aims to gain insight from a children’s rights perspective into the situation of children who were forced to return to Armenia. Data were collected by semi-structured interviews with 17 children and their parents. Results show that children are negative about their lives in Armenia after forced return. They experience psychosocial, identity and physical problems. Access to basic needs, care and education is limited. The parents’ emotional availability decreases. From a children’s rights perspective, it can be concluded that the decision to return children in this study did not meet their developmental needs, their best interests and children’s rights are contravened.

Open Access
In: The International Journal of Children's Rights

Abstract

This article focuses on the influence of courts and the achr in the social construction of childhood and children’s rights. Using critical discourse analysis, it explores the meanings and understandings of childhood and children’s rights that emerge from the judgments of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on family care, custody, adoption, deprivation of liberty and detention conditions. From this analysis, I argue that the iachr constructs a normative notion of the child according to which she is understood as being between the categories of human being, human becoming, subject of rights and object of protection and a concept of children’s rights according to which these are primarily thought of as their right to receive special measures of protection. The tensions between this complex view on childhood and a paternalistic approach to children’s rights reveals the need for a children’s rights specific international human rights law instrument for the Inter-American human rights system.

Open Access
In: The International Journal of Children's Rights
Authors: and

Abstract

Children remain marginalised in theoretical analyses of citizenship and political rights, with their partial citizenship status attracting minimal attention. We consider the ontological need for political engagement, children’s political agency and intergenerational justice. We discuss how Derrida’s hospitality concept may inform analyses of power structures that serve to exclude children from the demos. We then examine the case of Japan where education law neglects children’s political rights, though respect for human rights and popular sovereignty are core constitutional values. Analysis of parliamentary debates addressing Article 12 and children’s right to be heard and organise collectively reveals a long-standing ideological divide concerning children’s political participation. The Committee on the Rights of the Child has explained Japan’s reluctance to implement Article 12 as reflecting “traditional” attitudes. The reality is more complex. From the late 1950s, Japan experienced a wave of student-led protests, focusing on the US-Japan Anpo Security Treaty. Subsequently, the Japanese government prioritised public order over students’ political rights, and global economic competitiveness over citizenship rights. Article 12 remains a site of struggle between those wishing to extend children’s citizenship rights and those who wish to maintain their partial citizenship, fearing social unrest and a focus away from global economic competitiveness.

Open Access
In: The International Journal of Children's Rights

Abstract

Through the framework of the Convention of the Rights of the Child (uncrc), this paper argues that quality sexuality education is fundamental to the realisation of rights for children and young people, particularly those related to their identity, sexual lives and relationships. Beyond the right to education itself and sexual health, sexuality education supports the realisation of a wide range of children’s rights including wellbeing, protection, participation, identity and equality. The paper argues for the specific ways in which quality sex education supports the realisation of such rights and argues for the universal need for such education to be participative to allow children and young people to make empowered decisions about their sexuality and relationships with others.

Open Access
In: The International Journal of Children's Rights

Abstract

Teenagers participating in a series of interviews over the course of their stay in domestic violence refuges described difficulties associated with the constraints of refuge life. Twenty young people reported experiences that connect to and challenge UN Convention on the Rights of the Child provisions and provide guidance on how refuges might strengthen their response and meet obligations to respect, protect and promote teenagers’ rights. Recognition of teenage refuge experience is needed, alongside the provision of space, independence and privacy; support to recover from domestic violence and abuse; involvement in leisure activities; educational support; access to computers and online information; and increased opportunities for individual and collective decision making. The findings contribute to growing evidence that policy makers and other duty bearers need to develop adequate resourcing, attitudinal change, practice guidance, dedicated support, active engagement and participation, and collaborative work between agencies. Implementation strategies are also discussed.

Open Access
In: The International Journal of Children's Rights

Abstract

Based on participatory research with teachers and young learners’, this article explores students’ perceptions of learning about sexual and gender-based harassment in upper secondary school in Norway. Drawing upon theoretical considerations on recognition, intersectionality and legal literacy as educational capital, this article discusses approaches to teaching and learning that could ensure young learners’ rights to active participation and voice, which is an essential element for protection and prevention of harassment. The empirical material indicates that learners would like to learn more about these sensitive issues, although this applies to a greater extent for girls rather than boys. Their wish to learn more about harassment and abuse could be interpreted as a struggle for recognition, motivated by experiences of disrespect. However, defending one’s rights, and having someone defending one’s rights, in school requires both students’ and teachers’ legal literacy, which according to the empirical material is limited.

Open Access
In: The International Journal of Children's Rights