(Why) Should Children Have Rights? A Philosophical Perspective

Marieke Hopman*

*Corresponding author for this work

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The CRC was created bearing in mind that children, in contrast to adult human beings, are in need of special children’s rights. This implies a distinction between the child and the adult, and a different legal position for both. This chapter first discusses the idea of universal childhood underlying the CRC with reference to the works of Immanuel Kant and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Secondly, it discusses whether children can be argued to be rights-bearers, an assumption which seems problematic in the light of legal philosophical theory. Thirdly, the author discusses why adults, as authors of the law, should grant children legal rights, or as she proposes to call them: legal privileges. The chapter concludes with a reflective discussion, placing the main argument outside the theoretical frame and highlighting its emancipatory potential by relating it to power
relations between adults and children.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
Subtitle of host publicationTaking Stock after 25 Years and Looking Ahead
EditorsT. Liefaard, J. Sloth-Nielsen
Place of PublicationLeiden
PublisherBrill | Nijhoff
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-0429-505-6
ISBN (Print)978-90-0429-504-9
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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