Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Children's rights and empowerment
by Viera-Crespo, Sharon Ellysse, M.A., University of Colorado at Denver, 2014, 150; 1571300
Abstract (Summary)

My objective in the proceeding paper is to qualitatively analyze the conditions of children since the child population faces severe discrimination with few laws created and enforced to protect it, especially when most societal systems are predicated on ageism (a form of discrimination based on age). The most comprehensive child policy present on an international level is the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC). This also includes the CRC's three Optional Protocols (OPs), which countries can also ratify for further protections or address emerging issues; these are OP number one: the safeguarding of children from armed conflict, OP number two: the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography, and OP number three: the opening of communications procedures for children with complaints of violations. Because of the progressiveness of the Convention and its Protocols, if ratified and adhered to by a country's government or if at least followed by those that have not ratified it, children's conditions would progressively improve. My primary case studies include El Salvador, Costa Rica, the United States; and I also touch upon Kenya, the Philippines, Sweden, Norway, and Canada. The conditions of children in neighboring Central American countries, El Salvador and Costa Rica, are compared with those in the U.S. By measuring the level of each country's fulfillment of key provisions and concepts within the CRC and the Protocols, despite the U.S not ratifying the core body of the CRC, I qualify the conditions of these country's children. The first Optional Protocol is especially pertinent to El Salvador, Costa Rica, and the Philippines since there are extremely high rates of child sexual exploitation in these countries. This is especially the case for the Philippines, since UNICEF estimates that one million children per year are trafficked out of Southeast Asia alone. The second Optional Protocol is especially pertinent to El Salvador since the Salvadorian community and its government are still recovering from the country's civil war and the participation of children in this conflict. Out of all of my case studies, Costa Rica is the only state that has adopted the third Optional Protocol (Melton), again demonstrating the country's progressiveness not only in valuing the child's voice, but more generally in human rights.

The analysis showed that the cultural and social backgrounds of each country are leading variables (other variables including standing law and economic systems in each country and inertia that follows after major policies are ratified) that drive the country's views and subsequent treatment of children; and the ratifying countries, Kenya, the Philippines, Sweden, and Norway also confirm this conclusion. Thus mere ratification of the CRC by a country is insufficient in ensuring children's rights under its provisions. In my concluding chapter, I look to leading international examples of child welfare promoters, Nordic countries such as Sweden and Norway, to offer suggestions on how local and national governments can better actualize and support positive conditions for children.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Cummings, Michael
Commitee: Everett, Jana, Jose, Betcy
School: University of Colorado at Denver
Department: Political Science
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: MAI 54/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Political science, Individual & family studies, Ethnic studies
Keywords: Adolescence, Adulthood, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Kenya, Philippines
Publication Number: 1571300
ISBN: 9781321412277
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