Children’s Rights


Children’s Rights

A Commentary on the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Protocols

9781800888371 Edward Elgar Publishing
Wouter Vandenhole, Professor of Human and Children''s Rights, Law and Development Research Group, Faculty of Law, Gamze Erdem Türkelli, Associate Research Professor, Law and Development Research Group, Faculty of Law, University of Antwerp and Sara Lembrechts, PhD researcher, Migration Law Research Group, Ghent University, Belgium
Publication Date: 2021 ISBN: 978 1 80088 837 1 Extent: 560 pp
This Commentary is a fully up-to-date, solid legal work on children’s rights. It offers a contemporary legal perspective on the inherently interdisciplinary field of children’s rights. It responds to the scarcity of legal commentaries in a landscape where several handbooks covering different disciplines have been published in recent years. It is succinct and seeks to capture the essence, yet offers a sophisticated analysis of children’s rights law and branches out into other disciplines where relevant in light of the recent legal and social developments.

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This comprehensive Commentary presents a contemporary legal perspective on the inherently interdisciplinary field of children’s rights. Chapters analyse each article of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, along with its Optional Protocols, providing contextualised information on the interpretation and implementation of the children’s rights provisions therein. A detailed introduction examines the history of the Convention and places it within the wider landscape of human rights and other disciplinary approaches such as the sociology of childhood.

The Commentary critically engages with the text of the Convention, exploring commonly used concepts and defining pertinent terminology. The authors draw on multiple perspectives and refer to disciplines outside of law to enrich the analysis of the articles, their interpretation and the study of children’s rights as a discipline. Featuring examples of case law from regional human rights systems this Commentary provides a well-rounded insight into the status of children''s rights on a global scale.

Written in an accessible style, this Commentary will be a valuable reference work for students, researchers, practitioners and policymakers alike. The Commentary will be of great interest to those working within children’s rights law and human rights law. Researchers in politics, sociology and international studies who are seeking further information and insight on the rights of children will also find this Commentary to be a useful point of reference.
Critical Acclaim
‘The book offers an extensive analysis of the substantive and procedural provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its three Optional Protocols. The commentary is a timely contribution to the growing field of children’s rights from a doctrinal legal perspective. It is strongly recommended to those who are willing to learn more about children’s rights law from the international human rights law perspective. It can serve as a practical guide for those who have no or limited specialisation in international children’s rights law. At the same time, it contributes significantly to children’s rights experts, allowing them to access the most recent case law and legal developments.’
– Betül Durmus, European Yearbook on Human Rights

‘This book provides an accessible and insightful guide to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols. It offers an important introduction to children’s rights—examining theoretical debates, implementation challenges, and opportunities for advancing children’s rights. It also will serve as a valuable resource for scholars and practitioners, with its in-depth analysis of each article of the CRC and discussion of the Optional Protocols.’
– Jonathan Todres, Georgia State University, US

‘The authors provide a thoroughly researched and very user-friendly guide through the Convention on the Rights of the Child, highlighting the many intersections with other human rights instruments. This volume is destined to become the reference in the field for years to come.’
– Olivier De Schutter, former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food (2008-2014) and Member of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights


Introduction: Three decades of children’s rights law 1
Article 1: Scope of application 48
Article 2: Non-discrimination 52
Article 3: Best interests of the child 59
Article 4: General obligation 74
Article 5: Appropriate direction and guidance consistent with the child’s evolving
capacities 80
Article 6: The right to life, survival and development 88
Article 7: Name and nationality 100
Article 8: Preservation of identity 108
Article 9: Separation from parents 112
Article 10: Family reunification 124
Article 11: Illicit transfer and non-return of children 134
Article 12: The views of the child 143
Article 13: Freedom of expression 160
Article 14: Freedom of thought, conscience and religion 167
Article 15: Freedom of association and peaceful assembly 174
Article 16: The right to privacy 184
Article 17: Access to appropriate information through media 194
Article 18: Common responsibilities of parents for the upbringing and development
of the child 203
Article 19: Protection from all forms of violence 209
Article 20: Children deprived of their family environment 222
Article 21: Adoption 228
Article 22: Asylum seeking and refugee children 236
Article 23: Children with disabilities 247
Article 24: Right to health 254
Article 25: Periodic review of placement 274
Article 26: Social security 276
Article 27: Adequate standard of living 281
Article 28: Right to education 288
Article 29: Aims of education 299
Article 30: Rights of children from minorities and indigenous origin 303
Article 31: Rest, leisure and play 312
Article 32: Protection from economic exploitation 320
Article 33: Protection from drugs 327
Article 34: Protection from sexual exploitation and abuse 334
Article 35: Prevention of abduction, sale and trafficking 343
Article 36: Protection against all other forms of exploitation 352
Article 37: Deprivation of liberty, prohibition of torture, degrading and inhuman
treatment and of capital punishment and life imprisonment 355
Article 38: Children in armed conflict 369
Article 39: Recovery and reintegration of child victims 376
Article 40: Children’s rights in justice systems 383
Article 41: Respect for higher standards 397
Article 42: Dissemination 399
Article 43: The Committee on the Rights of the Child 404
Article 44: Reporting procedure 409
Article 45: Implementation and international cooperation 413
Articles 46–54: Final clauses: signature, ratification, accession, entry into force,
amendments, reservations, denunciations 417
Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (OPAC) 424
Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography 437
Optional Protocol on a Communications Procedure (OPIC) 456
Index 483

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