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Evolution Of Individual Rights And Liberties Prior To The Constitutional Convention

1186 words - 5 pages

Evolution Of Individual Rights And Liberties Prior To The Constitutional ConventionThere are many factors that may have combined to bring about the strong individual rights focused on the Convention on the Rights of the Child. One factor might be that, unlike the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948 and the two legally binding human rights covenants that grew out of it the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Cultural, and Social Rights, both adopted in 1966 the Convention was not rooted in a long, philosophical human rights tradition. The idea that children themselves should have rights outside of or separate from the family is a relatively new concept confined to the earlier part of the 20th century. As a result, participants in the drafting process, operating without a common legal perspective or philosophical basis, were faced with the necessity of creating their own concept of children's rights.A second factor could be that delegates to the Working Group came from many different governmental departments. Although some governments were represented by lawyers from their ministries of justice and foreign affairs, other governments sent representatives from their departments of consumer affairs or social services. Typically, the same individual delegate rarely attended more than two or three sessions of the Working Group. It could be argued that this diversity and turnover encouraged delegations to model the Convention after existing, adult focused human rights instruments, rather than to undertake the creation of an entirely new, fatherly theory of rights that would be applicable solely to children.A third factor could be the strong participation by non governmental organizations such as Defense for Children International and especially by the Ad Hoc NGO Group on the Drafting of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (hereafter referred to as the NGO Group). The NGO Group was a coalition of approximately 30 NGO's having consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Using the expertise of its members, the NGO Group was able to exert considerable influence on the deliberations of the Working Group, and, consequently, on the final text of the Convention. In particular, the NGO Group consistently pressed for the inclusion of such individual rights concepts as the child's evolving capacities.The Working Group met once each year for one week, just prior to the annual session of the Commission on Human Rights. Originally, there was so little interest in the Convention that few governments or NGOs attended the drafting sessions. However, beginning in 1983, drafting of the Convention began to develop momentum, and by 1985 the number of participating delegations and NGOs had more than doubled.Expanding participation in the Convention's drafting brought with it a corresponding expansion of the text of the second Polish model. Articles were...

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