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This series of studies on child law and children’s rights seeks to provide timely and high-quality analyses of all issues relating to the interface of children and adolescents with their surrounding societies. The focus is on legal research results, but multi-disciplinary child-right-related studies also have an obvious place in the series. The diversity of contributions will be maintained by including scholarly works by academics and scholars from all geographical areas.
The Open Access publication of this book has been made possible by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Is the current structure of international law still adequate to solve global problems such as child labour? This book argues for more coherence between human rights and trade law, analysing the world trade law compatibility of topical trade measures on (forced) child labour such as the US Tariff Act of 1930 or the proposal for an EU Forced Labour Regulation, mainly under the GATT non-discrimination principles and the policy exceptions clause. Discussing theories such as constitutionalism and pluralism, Franziska Humbert develops the idea of a New Legal Humanism as a cognitive frame for the global legal order.
The adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on 10 December 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly marked a groundbreaking moment in the field of international law. Not only would it start to move away from its original conception as an exclusively State-centered domain: it would also mark the progressive transformation of international law into a law for humankind. This instrument started a codification and institution-building process that would slowly evolve into a complex framework of treaties, bodies and procedures revolving around the protection of the human being against the actions – or omissions – of the State. This commentary provides a specific analysis and reflection of how each one of the rights enshrined therein have evolved over time.
Legal, Political and Ethical Challenges
How can human rights for children born outside their national jurisdiction with parents deemed as terrorists be safeguarded? In what ways do children risk being discriminated in their welfare rights in Sweden when treated as invisible part of a family? How can we do research on children’s rights in not just ethically sensitive ways but also with respect for children as rights subjects? And what could be a theory on social justice for children? These are questions discussed in studies from different disciplines concerning children’s international human rights, with a special focus on the realization of the CRC in Sweden.
In this commentary, Sabine Witting provides a comprehensive analysis of the Second Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. This commentary critically reflects on the impact of globalisation, digital technologies and the COVID-19 pandemic on the nature, scope and meaning of the Second Optional Protocol since its adoption on 25 May 2000. Apart from analysing a broad range of topics, from online child sexual abuse to surrogacy and ‘voluntourism’, this commentary highlights the importance of establishing child-friendly transnational collaboration mechanisms, conceptualised through a holistic gender lens and taking into consideration the online-offline nexus of violence against children and relevant Global North-Global South dynamics.
Selected Essays on Children's Rights
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For decades, Professor Michael Freeman has without doubt been one of the world's most infuential scholars in international children's rights. His scholarship has been at the forefront of the field and has helped shape many of the developments within it. This collection offers the reader a thought-provoking snapshot of some of his most seminal essays, written and/or published over the past 30 years. Together they highlight above all the interdisciplinary nature of the issues he discusses. Legal doctrinal questions that make the case for recognising that children have rights are of course discussed. But aspects of moral and political philosophy are dealt with as well, in addition to, among other other disciplines, history, theology, psychology and antropology.
Article 5 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
This book arises out of a CRC Implementation Project colloquium on Article 5 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Article 5 protects the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents or others to provide, in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child, appropriate direction and guidance in the exercise by the child of his/her rights. In this interdisciplinary collection, leading international scholars address the interplay of parental guidance, state responsibility and child autonomy within a wide range of fields, from gender identity to criminal justice. The chapters provide fascinating insights into the vital but enigmatic role of Article 5.
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Responding to the harms caused by drugs is one of the most challenging social policy issues of our time. In Child Rights and Drug Control on International Law, Damon Barrett explores the meaning of the child’s right to protection from drugs under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the relationship between this right and the UN drug control conventions. Adopting a critical approach, the book traces the intersecting histories of the treaties, the role of child rights in global drug policy discourse, and the practice of the Committee on the Rights of the Child. It invites us to reflect upon the potential for child rights to provide justification for state actions associated with wider human rights risks.
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 on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Central issues are whether enshrining children’s rights in the 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 Nordic 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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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.

Mary McAleese wins Europe’s richest theology prize for her study of canon law.
The former President of Ireland Mary McAleese has won one of the Catholic world’s most prestigious prizes, the Alfons Auer Ethics Award, from Tübingen University in Germany for her doctoral thesis on Children’s Rights and Obligations in Canon Law.