Chapter

Do Children Have Rights?

James Griffin

in The Moral and Political Status of Children

Published in print June 2002 | ISBN: 9780199242689
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598715 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199242682.003.0002
 Do Children Have Rights?

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Based upon an analysis of the development of the human rights tradition, the language of human rights is best reserved for beings capable of agency. Less restrictive conceptions of rights, such as those that link rights to the protection of needs, leads to a proliferation of rights of a kind that dilutes the normative importance of rights. Denying that infants have rights need not diminish the moral significance of their claims to care. The absence of a right need not signal diminished moral importance.

Keywords: agency; claims to care; human rights; infants; moral significance; needs; norms; personhood

Chapter.  6493 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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