Children’s Rights: From Philosophy to Public Policy by Mhairi Cowden

By Mhairi Cowden

Despite the lifestyles of the UN conference at the Rights of the kid there nonetheless exists a debate on no matter if teenagers can relatively carry rights. This publication offers a transparent concept of kid's rights by means of studying arguable case stories. the writer provides a pathway to translating rights into useful social and political tools for change.

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Rights serve a function and we have them for justified reasons. Broadly speaking, there are two philosophical approaches to explaining why rights should be protected, a deontological or status approach and a consequentialist approach. A deontological approach argues that there is something specific to the rightholder’s status that means that their rights should be respected. Early theories of rights, such as those of natural rights theorists, often relied on a deontological justification. A consequentialist approach argues that rights should be respected because they bring about good outcomes, to protect the welfare or interests of the right-holder.

Interests differ not only between children and adults but also between individual children and between individual adults. What does matter is being aware of the various conceptions of children that exist and how they inform the types of decisions we take regarding their rights. 32 Differing conceptions of children will affect which rights we recognize for children. Some conceptions of children hinder the implementation of rights. For example, if a particular society sees children as passive beings that are primarily in need of protection, rights such as Article 12 of CROC, which states that children have a right to participate in decisions that affect their lives, may be more difficult to implement into policy and practice.

MacCormick’s 1975 article employed rights for children as a “test case” to assess each theory. Campbell argued that the will theory was inadequate as an expression of the “moral significance of persons” as it cannot account for children. Those that adhere to interest theory, such as Joseph Raz, Neil MacCormick, and Matthew Kramer, argue that the function of a right is not to protect choice but to further a right-holder’s interests. Instead of constraining the function of rights to the protection of an agent’s choice or free will, interest theory seeks to encompass a wider domain.

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