Real people, real problems: children left without human rights? : the influence and relevance of childrens human rights on the economic, social and cultural rights of refugee children

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Groen Esmeijer, Nelleke
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Central to this thesis is the question what protection is afforded to refugee children under the international refugee system and the international human rights system. Both the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Refugee Convention afford protection to refugee children, and the implementation of the latter is guided by the former. The holistic and comprehensive character of the CRC brings up the question how the permitted limitation of economic, social and cultural rights to the maximum extent of available resources relates to the provisions that are not subjected to it and to the Convention as a whole. This question relates to the general issue of 'indivisibility of human rights', but the limitation that is afforded to states under the CRC is different from the one included in general treaties on economic, social and cultural rights. As this study shows, limiting the economic, social and cultural rights of children in the same manner as those of adults may in fact entail a violation of their rights under the CRC – and their rights must therefore be met to a higher standard. Because of the absolute principle of nondiscrimination and the particular importance of economic, social and cultural rights for refugee children, this conclusion can be drawn in respect of both national children and refugee children, and even with respect to illegal children. The objection that children may become a source of income and a vehicle for immigration cannot convince otherwise. Other ways must and can be found to discourage people from illegal immigration or choosing illegality after they are denied refugee status.
Second semester University: University of Southern Denmark, Copenhagen.
child protection, children, children rights, Convention on the Rights of the Child, refugee law