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New Special Issue: Nordic Journal of Human Rights, Volume 39, Issue 2

The Nordic Journal of Human Rights has published the special issue “New Frontiers In Children’s Rights – Between Protection And Empowerment, ” as part of Volume 39. The following articles can be found in the new special issue:


Victims at the Central African Republic’s Special Criminal Court– Gamze Erdem Türkelli, Wouter Vandenhole & Jan Wouters

This article gives an overview of new frontiers in children’s rights. It also takes a historical perspective on children’s rights, including on their legalisation to situate the concept of empowerment therein. It then gives an overview of the special issue’s five contributions on children’s economic and labour rights, political rights, rights to gender identity, rights in digitalisation and in the context of climate change.


The Trap of Incrementalism in Recognising Children’s Right to Vote – Nick Munn

This article argues that proponents of children’s enfranchisement should pursue enfranchisement of all children who have a strong claim to political inclusion, rather than merely those closest to 18 years of age. Enfranchisement is itself empowering, as is the participation which follows. A commitment to theoretically more defensible but politically less likely positions could work to the advantage of children, by making moves such as the lowering of the voting age a reasonable compromise position, rather than an extreme to be opposed.

Growing Up with Digital Technologies: How the Precautionary Principle Might Contribute to Addressing Potential Serious Harm to Children’s Rights – Eva Lievens

Digital technologies affect the lives of children and the rights that are specifically attributed to them by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), article 24 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and many national constitutions. This article studies the extent to which duties and responsibilities rest on policymakers, platforms and service providers and regulators to uphold the best interests of the child as a primary consideration (Article 3 (1) UNCRC) and what this means for the digital spaces in which children grow up. In particular, the article explores how the application of the precautionary principle might better serve the best interests of the child and how this might require legal restrictions on certain practices, enhanced responsibilities for public and private actors, and stronger enforcement by regulators.

Children’s Rights and Gender Identity: A New Frontier of Children’s Protagonism? Francesca Romana Ammaturo & Maria Federica Moscati

This article adopts the concept of protagonismo infantil (children’s protagonism) to argue that children’s voices on gender identity need to be centred in order to fully empower trans and non-binary children. In this field of children’s rights, protagonismo infantil enables the law to act as a malleable frontier rather than as a rigid boundary. Focusing mainly on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), this article encourages new debate on how children can be empowered to affirm their own gender identity through the use of protagonismo infantile.

Economic and Labour Rights: A Blind Spot in the Discourse on Children’s Rights – Manfred Liebel

The author discusses the question whether children have economic and labour rights, and if so, what that means in practice. With regard to international law, he clarifies the relationship between different areas of law and the relationship between various legal concepts that are relevant to the protection of children’s economic and labour rights. More specifically, he explores the relationship between human rights in general and children’s rights in particular, as well as the relationship between economic and social rights, human and labour rights, and legal and moral rights. Next, he focuses on working children and their associations and which economic and labour rights they consider necessary. Furthermore, he discusses how these rights are, or should be, reflected in international law and in national legislation. Finally, the key obstacles in protecting children’s economic and labour rights in international law are discussed, i.e. what practical difficulties are to be overcome on the ground in order to realise and bring to life the economic and labour rights of children.

Children’s Human Rights-based Climate Litigation at the Frontiers of Environmental and Children’s Rights – Bridget Lewis

Around the world, young activists are demanding stronger action from governments to address the climate emergency and to ensure intergenerational climate justice. An emerging strategy in this fight has been the use of litigation, particularly within human rights frameworks. This article analyses two current human rights-based climate cases brought by children and young people, Sacchi et al. v Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Turkey, a petition to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, and Duarte Agostinho & Ors v Portugal & Ors, a case pending before the European Court of Human Rights. It argues that these cases have the potential to advance the frontiers of both children’s rights and environmental rights, as they offer an opportunity for human rights bodies to clarify a number of issues relevant to rights-based approaches to climate change. The cases also show the potential of climate litigation to empower young people and elevate their voices within climate decision-making.

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