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Decolonizing ChildhoodsFrom Exclusion to Dignity$
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Manfred Liebel

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781447356400

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447356400.001.0001

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Postcolonial dilemmas of children’s rights

Postcolonial dilemmas of children’s rights

(p.127) 7 Postcolonial dilemmas of children’s rights
Decolonizing Childhoods

Manfred Liebel

Policy Press

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has strongly influenced the worldwide debates about what is suitable for children and what children are to be entitled to. In these debates, the Convention is not unanimously welcomed. In addition to those who question children's rights in general, because children are (supposedly) not capable of rational thinking, even children's rights advocates stand for at least two opposing positions. While some consider the Convention as a milestone on the way to a better childhood and only complain about the lack of implementation, others see it as an imperial Eurocentric project that globalizes the Western notions of childhood despite cultural diversity and imposes it on the ‘rest of the world’. This chapter goes beyond these controversial positions leading to a more differentiated assessment. Since children's rights are understood as human rights, the most pressing question is how the universal claim of these rights can be assessed. The chapter explores the main dilemmas in the realization of children’s rights in their postcolonial contexts. It challenges them with reference to concrete cases from some Asian countries (Vietnam, India and Indonesia) and one Latin American country (Bolivia) and discusses possible ways out.

Keywords:   postcolonial dilemmas, human rights, children’s rights, universalism, cultural diversity, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Bolivia

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