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Child Rights

The Movement, International Law, and Opposition

edited by Clark W. Butler

Publication Year: 2012

Over twenty years after the 1989 UN General Assembly vote to open the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) for signature and ratification by UN member states, the United States remains one of only two UN members not to have ratified it. The other is Somalia. Child Rights: The Movement, International Law, and Opposition explores the reasons for this resistance. It details the objections that have arisen to accepting this legally binding international instrument, which presupposes indivisible universal civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, and gives children special protection due to their vulnerability. The resistance ranges from isolationist attitudes toward international law and concerns over the fiscal impact of implementation, to the value attached to education in a faith tradition and fears about the academic deterioration of public education. The contributors to the book reveal the significant positive influence that the CRC has had, despite not being ratified, on subjects such as educational research, child psychology, development ethics, normative ethics, and anthropology. The book also explores the growing homeschooling trend, which is often evangelically led in the US, but which is at loggerheads with an equally growing social science-based movement of experts and ethicists pressing for greater autonomy and freedom of expression for children. Looking beyond the US, the book also addresses some of the practical obstacles that have emerged to implementing the CRC in both developed countries (for example, Canada and the United Kingdom) and in poorer nations. This book, polemical and yet balanced, helps the reader evaluate both positive and the negative implications of this influential piece of international legislation from a variety of ethical, legal, and social science perspectives.

Published by: Purdue University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-

We express appreciation to Indiana University for the New Perspectives Grant received in support of the 2006 conference on Moral Education, the United Nations, and Human Rights. That conference, organized by the Human Rights Institute on the Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne...

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Introduction: Multidisciplinary Responses to the International Rights of the Child

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pp. 1-10

The essays in this volume largely express ways in which the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has been interpreted and used by those who are active in disciplines other than international human rights law. A large body of literature shows that there is considerable precedent...

Part 1 The Movement and the Un Convention

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1 Children’s Rights: An Historical and Conceptual Analysis

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pp. 13-36

There was a time, exemplified by early Roman law, when children were considered property of the family father, who had a life-and-death power over them. This was no longer the case by the time of the French Enlightenment. Yet the enthusiastic reception given...

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2 The Case for the Convention on the Rights of the Child from the Perspective of Child Psychology

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pp. 37-54

During the latter part of the twentieth century there was a growth of human rights consciousness, and of knowledge about and legislation to protect healthy child development.1 These trends converged to produce a changing view of children from one of parental...

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3 Developmental Considerations in Teaching Children’s Rights

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pp. 55-72

The value of human rights education cannot be overestimated. Human rights are of fundamental importance to a just and democratic society and knowledge of human rights is fundamental to the achievement of human rights. Successful human rights education...

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4 Introducing Critical Thinking and Dialogue in Preschool

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pp. 73-92

In most industrialized societies, violence is a cause of increasing concern. Violence is observed and condemned in secondary schools, and even in elementary schools. It is the school’s responsibility to promote programs oriented toward the prevention of violence...

Part 2

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5 Nannies with Blue Berets The UN Convention and the Invasion of National and Family Sovereignty

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pp. 95-114

A number of philosophical principles central to the American founding are implicated by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The chief motivation driving American independence from Britain was a record of parliamentary invasions...

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6 Educational Freedom and Human Rights Exploring the Tensions between the Interests and Rights of Parents, Children, and the State

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pp. 115-140

When discussing human rights and education, a tension always exists between the educational rights and freedoms of parents and children and the role of the state with regard to both groups.1 If one looks to the United Nations’ rights declarations and treaties for...

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7 Implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Canada A Question of Commitment

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pp. 141-156

There is no question about Canada’s official commitment. In 1991, with the approval of the provinces, with the exception of Alberta, the Government of Canada ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), committing governments...

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8 Implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the UK A Problem of Political Will

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pp. 157-174

This essay explores the difficult implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in one developed industrial nation, the United Kingdom, where we might expect children to enjoy a favorable situation in relation to their rights. The 2008 report of the Committee on the Rights of the Child has documented the...

Part 3 Children’s Rights in the Developing World

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9 Motivating Political Responsibility for Children in Poor Countries

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pp. 177-200

More so than any of the other rights in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the rights of participation, especially the right to form and freely express one’s own views “in all matters affecting the child,” depend upon a right to an...

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10 “The Right Child”: Challenges and Opportunities of Child Rights Legislation in Theory and Practice

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pp. 201-226

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has been used by international aid agencies and the Guatemalan government to bolster community reconstruction following the armed conflict (1960-1996). Child rights discourse, with its particular...

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11 Pragmatism, Capabilities, and Children’s Rights in Development Ethics

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pp. 227-240

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), adopted by the General Assembly in 1989, went into effect on September 2, 1990. Internationally, public opinion tended to be overwhelmingly in favor of this convention, the most ratified international...

Annotated Bibliography

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pp. 241-246

Contributors

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pp. 247-250

Index

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pp. 251-256


E-ISBN-13: 9781612492056
E-ISBN-10: 1612492053
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557535498
Print-ISBN-10: 1557535493

Page Count: 260
Illustrations: 1
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Purdue University Human Rights Studies
Series Editor Byline: Clark W. Butler

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Subject Headings

  • Children's rights.
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989).
  • Children (International law).
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