A Theoretical Analysis
Can children have rights? Can very young children have rights? What kind of legal theory regards children as rights holders despite their limited capacity to exert their rights and make rational choices? This chapter addresses these questions and introduces the rights terminology used throughout the book, namely, a needs-based, relational human rights approach. Within the human rights context, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) offers an authoritative and compelling Bill of Rights for children, and is thus used as the normative template for children's rights. Six CRC provisions are most relevant to child victims: the four “guiding principles” of Best Interests, Participation, Development, and Equality, and two victim-related articles, the right to protection and the right to rehabilitation. The chapter ends with a graphic visualization of the interrelations between these six human rights principles, which is the first layer of the full needs-rights model.
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