What is it about?

In this article, we consider the area of children, law and equality. We point out that it is now very accepted that there are laws to prevent unfair discrimination against groups like women, people with disabilities and ethnic minorities. Although children who are girls, children with disabilities and children who are members of ethnic minority groups will be protected under equality law (both in countries and in UN treaties), under 18’s usually will not. Children and young people under 18, it seems, will need protection from unfair discrimination for many reasons. Sometimes children as a group are treated badly, for example there is a device – the mosquito device - which is designed to make a loud uncomfortable noise that only children can hear, to stop young people congregating at shops. There is evidence that children's interests are not given enough priority in the pandemic. There are also figures which show that the younger you are the more likely you are to be poor or to experience violence. We argue that more consideration should be given to this by academics, lawyers and others, because it is likely that it will help children. It would encourage adults to see children more as equals, and encourage better laws protecting children. We then turn to the work of the UN committee on the rights of the child looking at what the committee has said in the past few years about children and equality. We point out that the committee has done a lot of work highlighting when children from groups such as girls and children with disabilities have experienced unequal treatment. The committee has only explicitly mentioned a handful of times however instances where children as a group experienced unequal treatment compared with adults. We reflect on how in a way all CRC rights aim to secure equality for children. But we suggest that if we more explicitly talk about equality for children, this would be a good thing for children’s rights.

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Why is it important?

If we more explicitly talk about equality for children, this would be a good thing for children’s rights. We argue that more consideration should be given to this by academics, lawyers and others, because it is likely that it will help children. It would encourage adults to see children more as equals, and encourage better laws protecting children.

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This page is a summary of: UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 2 and Discrimination on the Basis of Childhood, Nordic Journal of International Law, August 2022, Brill, DOI: 10.1163/15718107-91030007.
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