When is a Child not a Child and Other Questions—A Commonwealth-wide Overview

Rhona Smith, Sue Farran

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Although international human rights instruments assume a universalism of application and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is one of the most ratified instruments in the world and therefore most likely to have global if not universal application, in fact understandings of childhood and definitions of ‘child’ or ‘children’ are very variable not just in different social and cultural contexts but in laws as well. This creates a number of challenges for formulating cross-boundary policies and programmes, because on the one hand these differences cannot be ignored, but on the other hand they should not be seen as insurmountable barriers to the advocacy and promotion of children’s rights. This paper presents an overview of difference and similarity in the Commonwealth and considers some of the challenges that these may present in formulating strategies for international organisations such as the Commonwealth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-375
JournalRound Table
Issue number4
Early online date7 Jul 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Jul 2016


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