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Does Exactly What it Says on the Tin?

A Critical Analysis and Alternative Conceptualisation of the So-called “General Principles” of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Karl Hanson and Laura Lundy

The four general principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child are one of its most cited features. This article tracks the evolution of the “general principles” in the drafting process of the Convention and the Committee’s determination of the content of its 1991 reporting guidelines. This is followed by an analysis of the approach to the “general principles” that the Committee has adopted in its monitoring and reporting processes and General Comments. It concludes that these four articles are not necessarily “general” nor “principles” and suggests how the concept of a set of cross-cutting standards might evolve and perhaps be reformulated in ways that are faithful to both the text of the Convention and subsequent understanding and practice.

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Karl Hanson and Arne Vandaele

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Does Exactly What it Says on the Tin?

A Critical Analysis and Alternative Conceptualisation of the So-called “General Principles” of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Karl Hanson and Laura Lundy

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Children’s Rights as Living Rights

The Case of Street Children and a new Law in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Edward van Daalen, Karl Hanson and Olga Nieuwenhuys

In this article we propose the notion of living rights to highlight that children, whilst making use of notions of rights, shape what these rights are, and become, in the social world. Emphasising children’s agency in living with and through their rights facilitates empirical enquiry, and moves the vectors of the debate on what children’s rights are to the interplay between how children understand their rights and the way others translate and make use of rights claims on children’s behalf. The argument builds upon a case study in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where street children, claiming the right to safely live and work on the streets, were involved in a successful campaign against an anti-vagrancy draft law. However, the subsequent new legislation – although in line with international children’s rights standards – ignored their claims and offers little for those street children who do not want to be “rescued”.

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Nigel A Thomas, Karl C Hanson and Brian B Gran

Abstract

This article attempts to understand the distinctive role of independent human rights institutions for children (IHRICs) in Europe, in the context of the proposed EU strategy on the rights of the child. It begins by explaining the distinctive characteristics of IHRICs, their presence, location and organisation in Europe, and the role of the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children (ENOC). It goes on to examine their developing relationships, individually and collectively, with European institutions (in particular the institutions of the European Union, but also with reference to the Council of Europe). The article draws on observations of the annual conference of ENOC in 2010, and on interviews with members of ENOC. The article follows this with a discussion of how IHRICs may be understood as operating at the interface of regional, national, European and global mechanisms, and concludes with a review of current issues and some questions for future research.