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Corporal Punishment of Children

Comparative Legal and Social Developments towards Prohibition and Beyond


This edited book, Corporal Punishment of Children - Comparative Legal and Social Developments towards Prohibition and Beyond, stemmed from an inaugural workshop held in Stockholm Sweden in 2017. The chapters of the book provide insights into the views and experiences of prominent academics, political, religious, and human rights activists from Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, the UK, and the US. Country-specific, and thematic, understandings in relation to children’s ongoing experience of corporal punishment are detailed and discussed, and key questions are raised and considered with a view to advancing progress towards societies in which children’s human rights to dignity and optimal development are more fully recognised.
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While coordinating the University of Groningen’s Honours College Winterschool/Atelier entitled Children's Rights in Health Care, the need to publish the contributions to this program was generally expressed and confirmed by its participants. The Winterschool/Atelier, successfully organized in recent years, has dealt with many issues concerning the legal position of minor persons – born and unborn – in the context of health care, especially pediatric care. These issues involve matters concerning pediatric treatment, preventive care and predictive medicine, medical research involving children, incompetence and child autonomy, a child’s psychological development, parental responsibility and representation, protective judicial measures, child migration issues, children’s health rights enforcement as well as children’s health interest monitoring and promotion. During the program, leading experts in the fields of law, ethics medicine, biology, psychology and institutions such as the Dutch Child & Hospital Foundation, the Child Protection Board, Save the Children, and UNICEF have shared their views on normative standards, practical experiences, significant developments, challenging ideas, silent dreams and inevitable realities. As a result, the Children's Rights in Health Care program provided opportunities for a profound dialogue between Honours College students and lecturing scholars on a wide range of topics involving children’s health care interests. This volume contains several analyses of health rights issues related to children. The various chapters provide an overview of this captivating area and may be of special interest to lawyers, health care professionals, ethicists, psychologists, judicial institutions, policy makers, interest groups, students and all others who are concerned with the children’s rights perspective on health care.
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Hanita Kosher

Recent years have witnessed an increase in the global commitment to children’s rights in general and their rights to self-determination and participation in particular. This has been firmly expressed in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children, which recognises the right of children to participate in decisions about their own lives. The present study examined perceptions and attitudes regarding the concept of children’s right to participation among children and parents from Israel. The results indicate that children showed a tendency to support the right to participation to a greater extent than the parents. The results also revealed that the attitudes of children and parents varied by the context and situation in which the right to participation is realised (school, family, and public settings). Finally, children’s actual participation was found to be associated with children’s and parents’ attitudes towards children’s right to participation.

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Lucia Munongi and Jace Pillay

This study aimed to determine children’s experiences of their rights. The sample consisted of 185 Grade 9 pupils (females = 95; males = 90) randomly sampled from 13 secondary schools from Johannesburg, South Africa, from a previous study. The participants were requested to write their responses to an open-ended question: ‘What do you think of children’s rights in South Africa?’ The data were analysed using content analysis since the data from the open-ended question was qualitative in nature. Results indicated that children were aware that they have rights, and that adults were still violating them. Based on the findings and a human rights-basedframework, several recommendations were made, such as, the need to adopt a more radical approach when dealing with children’s rights and the need to encourage schools and families to develop a culture of respecting children’s rights.

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Nessa Lynch

Children’s rights scholarship and guidance from human rights bodies has largely ignored the child victim, particularly where the perpetrator of the offence is also a child. This article reviews how provisions of international children’s rights standards deal with such situations, and highlights the lack of evidence on the extent of such victimisation and the experiences of child victims. Using two particular provisions (best interests and participation), it is argued that child victims appear primarily regarded as objects of concern rather than true rights holders. Increased recognition of “the other child” in practice and policy is urged.

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Jill Duerr Berrick, Jonathan Dickens, Tarja Pösö and Marit Skivenes

Child friendly justice and access to justice for children are explicit concerns for the European Union, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Council of Europe and the Child Rights International Network. This study examines court systems as child-responsive by eliciting the views of judicial decision makers on child protection cases (n = 1,479) in four legal systems (England, Finland, Norway and the USA (represented by California)), based on an online survey. In this paper, we asked judicial officials who have the authority to make care order decisions how they view the child-friendliness of the courts. We presented them with six statements representing standard features of child responsive courts. Findings show that there is considerable room for improving both structure and practice of the court proceedings, for example the use of child friendly language and child-sensitive time frames. There were variations across states, and some variation across type of decision maker. Implications for the development of education and training about the opportunities for children’s engagement are considered.

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Governing through Abandonment

Rethinking Human Rights Culture through an Analysis of Child Rights Deployed in 1990s Cambodia

Karen Lisa Greene

This article describes and analyses the “empowerment” form of child rights deployed in the move to democratise Cambodia in the 1990s, as it was embedded in 1990s “abandonment politics” (Povinelli, 2011). I sketch a genealogy for that form, and identify the problematic of abandonment as a generative link between the political and biological category of “child”, rights, and the technologies of liberal governmentality. Though available to other modes of government, these technologies emerged to manage the “condition of abandonment” of neophyte “abandoned beings” (Agamben, 1998:27). In the 1990s, defined largely by “abandonment pedagogies”, a new form of child rights seemed able to address long and short term cross-sectoral issues. To show how this elucidates the content of international child rights as deployed, I describe the international discourse of child rights as it was taught and translated into programs for street children on Cambodian ground.

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Philip E. Veerman

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Laura Lundy and Helen Stalford