In 1989, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted. The essential novelty brought by the Convention is that it recognizes liberty rights for children, that is, a special kind of right to freedom of speech, religion, assembly, etc, which are sometimes called “participatory rights” as well. However, although the aforementioned freedoms are ascribed to all children, only some children can exercise them. Liberty rights are rights of choice, which presupposes the autonomy of the subject of those rights. Therefore, only someone who is capable of making rational judgements, choices and decisions can exercise them. But the problem is that the Convention does not specify when children are able to freely take reasonable decisions regarding exercising or not exercising the liberty rights that The convention recognizes them. In addition, the right of children to freedom of religion, which is one of the liberty rights, is in conflict with the parents’ right to educate their children in accordance with their own, meaning their parents’religious convictions. This right of the child is closely related to the right to education. There is no doubt that this right, the exercise of which appears to have been taken for granted in the developed world, is violated for many people and in many places. We can see this easily from the information that more than one hundred million children are deprived of the most basic education. These and similar figures are indicative of two things. On the one hand, they bear witness to the injustice suffered by millions of children in different parts of the world; on the other hand, they highlight the huge differences in the global distribution of educational opportunities. Because educational opportunities are essential to ensure equal opportunities and because without equality of opportunity there is no social justice, it is clear that great injustices are being done in the world in which we live. However, the injustices resulting from violations of the right to basic education as one of the fundamental human and children’s rights are far from being equally distributed. They mainly take place in the most underdeveloped and extremely poor countries. Hence, nationality or membership of a particular nation is today a much stronger factor affecting the inequality of opportunity than are race, gender or even talent and ability, as it is nationality that determines different educational opportunities and access to labour markets and to quite unequal systems of social rights. This, however, stands in stark contrast to the traditional concept of social justice, which requires that those who have the same abilities and equal will to learn must have not just equal opportunities for education but also for success in education, irrespective of their social status, race, nationality, religion, etc. But is it necessary and appropriate to expand this understanding of justice to the global level?
We would like to invite you to reflect on these and other open questions of executing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child with submissions of an article to the scientific journal Šolsko polje. The thematic editor is dr. Zdenko Kodelja.
Article submission timeline:
- 1 February 2020: submission of the abstract (cca. 300 words)
- 30 June 2020: submission of the article (5.000 – 7.000 words)
- September 2020: publication
Please submit abstracts and articles to thematic editor via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.