UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 2 and Discrimination on the basis of Childhood: The CRC Paradox?
25 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2022 Last revised: 2 Feb 2023
Date Written: June 28, 2022
The CRC as an instrument calls attention to children as a group. Yet paradoxically it has not resulted in explicit consideration of discrimination against children on the basis of childhood (i.e. detrimental treatment for being young/under 18) in the same way that has happened for other groups like women and ethnic minorities. Children are more likely to suffer poverty and violence than adults, and under-18s are largely excluded from national legislation prohibiting unfair discrimination. In this article the jurisprudence of the Committee on the Rights of the Child is examined and it is established that even though child-specific discriminatory practices such as corporal punishment are criticised by the Committee, they are seldom labelled ‘discrimination’ as such. The Committee reserves consideration of Article 2, which enshrines the principle of non-discrimination, for traditionally disadvantaged groups of children such as girls and ethnic minorities. It is concluded that Article 2 has great potential for drawing attention to detrimental treatment for being young/under 18, but that the phenomenon must be more explicitly referenced with greater frequency in law, practice, and scholarship.
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