Implementing Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Participation, Power and Attitudes


In Participation, Power and Attitudes: Implementing Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Rebecca Thorburn Stern analyses how CRC state parties describe their implementation of Article 12 on respect for the child’s views. The focus of the study is on if, and how, references to traditional attitudes are used by state parties to explain their actions and inactions when implementing this key right and principle. It is shown that 'traditional attitudes' are employed less as justification of poor implementation than as a way of allocating responsibility to the population rather than to the state party, and that references to tradition remain a mainly non-Western phenomenon, thus also overlooking the impact of traditional attitudes in Western societies.

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Rebecca Thorburn Stern, LL.D. (2006), Uppsala University, is Associate Professor of International Law at that university. She has published widely on children’s rights and migration law, with particular focus on the implementation of international law on the domestic level.
List of abbreviations

1 Setting the Scene
 1.1 Introduction
 1.2 Introducing Core Concepts of the crc
 1.3 The Challenge of Implementation as Reality and as the Topic of This Study
 1.4 Objectives, Focus Areas and Outline
  1.4.1  Objectives and General Outline
  1.4.2  On the Focus on Tradition, Attitudes and ‘culture’
  1.4.3  On the Focus on Sweden
  1.4.4  Structure of the Book

2 Concepts and Theories: On ‘the child’, ‘childhood’, and Rights
 2.1 Introduction
 2.2 ‘The child’ as an Object of Inquiry
  2.2.1  ‘The child’ in the crc
  2.2.2  Concepts of ‘the child’ and ‘childhood’ – Some Perspectives  General Reflections  ‘The child’ in Childhood Studies
 2.3 Brief Reflections on ‘the child’ and ‘childhood’
 2.4 The Child as a Rights Holder
  2.4.1  Why Rights?
  2.4.2  Do Children Really Have Rights?
  2.4.3  On the Foundations for the Rights of Children
  2.4.4  Remarks on the Justification of Children’s Rights

3 Participation and Article 12
 3.1 Introduction
 3.2 Participation as a Concept
  3.2.1  Identifying and Defining Participation
  3.2.2  Remarks on Participation
 3.3 Nature and Scope of Article 12
  3.3.1  Introductory Remarks
  3.3.2  Brief Notes on the Background and Drafting Process
  3.3.3  Analysis of Article 12  Capability of Forming His or Her Own Views  The Right to Express Views Freely  All Matters Affecting the Child  Giving the Views of the Child Due Weight in Accordance with the Child’s Age and Maturity  The Right to Be Heard in Any Judicial or Administrative Proceedings Affecting the Child  The Right to Be Heard Directly or through a Representative in a Manner Consistent with Procedural Rules of National Law
  3.3.4  Article 12 in Relation to Other crc Provisions  Article 12 and Other ‘participation rights’  Article 12 and the Other General Principles of the crc  Article 12 and Article 5 on Parental Rights
 3.4 What is it about and Who is it For? Reflections on the Analysis of Article 12

4 Implementing Article 12: Procedures, Obstacles and Explanations
 4.1 Introduction
 4.2 General Measures of Implementation
  4.2.1  On Obligations, Requirements and Resources
  4.2.2  Legal Measures and Status of the crc in National Law
  4.2.3  Administrative and Other Measures
 4.3 Monitoring and Guidance
 4.4 Implementing Article 12 – State Practices as Described by States Themselves and by the crc Committee
  4.4.1  Background and the Previous Study
  4.4.2  Declarations by State Parties on Article 12
  4.4.3  State Parties on Article 12 between May 2006 and May 2016
  4.4.4  Concluding Observations by the crc Committee on Article 12 between May 2006 and May 2016
 4.5 Concluding Comments

5 Country Study: Sweden
 5.1 Sweden and Children’s Rights: An Amicable Relationship (?)
  5.1.1  Introduction
  5.1.2  Brief Notes on Background
  5.1.3  Status of the crc in Swedish Law
  5.1.4  Strategies and Policies
  5.1.5  Children’s Rights in Swedish Legislation: Some Examples
 5.2 Sweden and Article 12 in the crc Monitoring Process
  5.2.1  State Party Reports
  5.2.2  Responses and Comments by the crc Committee
 5.3 Focus: The Asylum-seeking Child
  5.3.1  In Theory: Legislation, Guidelines and Policy
  5.3.2  In Practice: Studies on Implementation
 5.4 Focus: Child Participation in Public Decision-making
  5.4.1  In Theory: Strategies, Legislation, and Policies
  5.4.2  In Practice: Mixed Reviews
 5.5 Final Reflections on Article 12 in the Swedish Context

6 Concluding Reflections
 6.1 Key Observations
 6.2 On Traditional Attitudes and Power
  6.2.1 Universality and Legitimacy
  6.2.2 State Parties, the crc Committee, and Traditional Attitudes
 6.3 On Moving Forward
 6.4 Final Reflections

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