Journal Article

REDEFINING THE CHILD’S RIGHT TO IDENTITY

Ya’ir Ronen

in International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family

Volume 18, issue 2, pages 147-177
Published in print August 2004 | ISSN: 1360-9939
Published online August 2004 | e-ISSN: 1464-3707 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/lawfam/18.2.147
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.

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Subjects: Family Law ; Marriage and the Family

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