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Edited by Trude Haugli, Anna Nylund, Randi Sigurdsen and Lena R.L. Bendiksen

The book presents a comparative study of children’s constitutional rights in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The authors discuss the value of enshrining children’s rights in national Constitutions in addition to implementing the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC). Central issues are whether enshrining children’s rights in a constitution improves implementation and enforcement of those rights by providing advocacy tools and by mandating courts, legislators, policy-makers and practitioners to take children’s rights seriously. The study assesses whether the constitutions are in line with the child rights approach of the CRC both on a general level and in detail in three domains; the best interests of the child, participation rights, and the right to respect for family life.

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Mary McAleese

In the first study of its kind Mary McAleese subjects to comprehensive scrutiny the Roman Catholic Church’s 1983 Code of Canon law as it applies to children. The Catholic Church is the world’s largest non-governmental organisation involved in the provision of education and care services to children. It has over three hundred million child members world-wide the vast majority of whom became Church members when they were baptised as infants. Canon law sets out their rights and obligations as members. Children also have rights which are set out in the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to which the Holy See is State Party. The impact of the Convention on Canon Law is examined in detail and the analysis charts a distinct and worrying sea-change in the attitude of the Holy See to its obligations under the Convention since the clerical sex abuse scandals became a subject of discussion at the Committee on the Rights of the Child, which monitors implementation of the Convention.