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Children's Rights: New Issues, New Themes, New Perpectives

Children's rights are the human rights of children with particular attention to the rights of special protection and care afforded to minors. The law library has recently added to its collection Children's Rights: New Issues, New Themes and New Perspectives. The volume, edited by Michael Freeman, includes a collection of chapters authored by children's rights excerpts across the globe, each discussing current issues and developments in the law of children's rights. The collection of essays were brought together for the 25th Anniversary of The International Journal of Children's Rights, a leading journal in the field. 

A key development in the law of Children's Rights was the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) by 140 countries (with the notable and glaring exception of the United States. The CRC, effective since 1990, protects certain rights of children (humans younger than 18, unless otherwise defined by a nation's laws). Governments of countries that have ratified the Convention are required to report to, and appear before, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child periodically to be examined on their progress with regards to the advancement of the implementation of the Convention and the status of child rights in their country. 

All jurisdictions implementing the Convention requires compliance with child custody and guardianship laws as that every child has basic rights, including the right to life, to their own name and identity, to be raised by their parents within a family or cultural grouping, and to have a relationship with both parents, even if they are separated.The Convention obliges states to allow parents to exercise their parental responsibilities. The Convention also acknowledges that children have the right to express their opinions and to have those opinions heard and acted upon when appropriate, to be protected from abuse or exploitation, and to have their privacy protected, and it requires that their lives not be subject to excessive interference.

Essays within the book look at children's rights and their progress from a number of perspectives. First, a history of the drafting of the convention provides a valuable starting point. The book then moves to perspectives of individual nations implementing the CRC, such as Canada, Norway, and England. The final portion of the book addresses issues not yet adequately addressed by the nation, such as language rights, corporal punishment, and children's rights to a secure climate. The volume is a  deep-dive in this still emerging field of law, and will invite the reader to consider new perspectives as this area of law enters its third decade.


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