Redefining the child's right to identity

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This article proposes redefining the child’s right to identity as a right to state protection of ties meaningful to the child. Its main arguments are, in essence: (1) Such a right should protect the development of an authentic individual by seeking the child’s wishes and feelings concerning their ties. (2) Protection of an individualized identity necessitates exploration of culture as a context of personal meaning which cannot be equated with cultural sensitivity as commonly perceived. (3) Consequently, preferential protection of the child’s ties to a minority culture or to individuals affiliated to it is seen as violating the proposed right. (4) The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child reaffirms commitment to a dynamic child-constructed identity. (5) Protection of the proposed right reflects, protects and creates a social reality in which children’s lives may be imbued with personal meaning. A discussion of two English cases demonstrates these arguments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-177
Number of pages31
JournalInternational Journal of Law, Policy and the Family
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2004


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