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The Child's Right to Development

Peleg, N; (2013) The Child's Right to Development. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Protecting children’s development is a key principle of international children’s rights law. However, while the meanings of children’s development are a central concern of disciplines such as psychology, sociology, neurology and pedagogy, so far there has been no systematic analysis of the meaning of the child’s legal right to development. This thesis remedies this significant gap in our knowledge by establishing the foundations for analysing the child’s right to development, as protected by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Interpreting the child’s right to development first requires unpacking the meaning of the term ‘children’s development’. In international children’s rights law, the thesis argues that the meaning of this term derives from the concept of children as ‘human becomings’. The focal point of this concept is the protection of children’s socio-psychological development and caring for their future, as adults. Consequently, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child provides a broad protection for eight segments of children’s development, on top of protecting children’s overall right to development. Based on an analysis of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s jurisprudence between the years 1993 and 2010, the thesis concludes that the Committee interprets the Convention in a way that subjugated most of the Convention’s rights to protect children’s socio-psychological development, while overlooking the formulation of ‘development’ as a human right. Based on literature on childhood studies, children’s rights theory, children’s development, the Capability Approach, archival research of the drafting process of the Convention, the jurisprudence of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, and interviews with members of the UN Committee, the thesis challenges this absorption of ‘children’s development’ into legal terms, and suggests a new framework for analysis. This framework accommodates a hybrid conception of childhood, a respect for children’s agency, recognition of the importance of the process of maturation (‘development’) as well as its outcome, and a cross-disciplinary understanding of ‘development’. Under the suggested framework, the child’s right to development is interpreted as a composite right that aims to ensure the child’s abilities to fulfill her or his human potential to the maximum during childhood and adulthood alike.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: The Child's Right to Development
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: children's rights, human rights, right to development, un human rights system, childhood
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Laws
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1384778
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