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84 Nordic J. Int'l L. 155 (2015)
Understanding Children's Rights: A Vision beyond Vulnerability

handle is hein.journals/nordic84 and id is 161 raw text is: 

                  NORDIC JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW                  NOURAC
  BRILL                        84 (2015) 155-182                         LAW
NIJHOFF                                                              brilLcom/nord

Understanding Children's Rights: A Vision beyond


        John Tobin
      Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, Australia


The idea of children's vulnerability played a critical role in motivating the adoption of
the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child, but should vulnerability provide the basis
for special human rights for children? Are children especially vulnerable relative to
adults? This article seeks to explore the idea of children's vulnerability in understand-
ing the concept of children's rights. It argues that vulnerability is not a condition pecu-
liar to children. At the same time it recognizes that children experience special
vulnerabilities relative to adults. It is these vulnerabilities that provide a justification
for the special rights accorded to them under the Convention. The characterisation of
children as vulnerable carries the risk that they will be defined by their vulnerabilities.
To address the unintended consequences of a vulnerability paradigm, there is a need
to expand the conception of children in a way that recognises their evolving capacities
and right to participation.


children's rights - vulnerability - international law - UN Convention on the Rights of
the Child

   Special thanks for the thoughtful and constructive feedback on earlier drafts of this article
   from members of the Child Rights Reading Group at Queens University Belfast, especially
   Michelle Templeton and Harry Shier. All errors remain my own. Thanks also to Florence
   Seow for her research assistance with this article, funding for which has been provided by the
   ARC12oo4 Discovery Grant DP 'Children's Rights: From Theory to Practice'.

@ KONINKLIJKE BRILL NV, LEIDEN, 2015 1 DOI 10.1163/15718107-08402002

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