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Listening to 'the other'? the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Harris-Short, S. R. (2001) 'Listening to 'the other'? the Convention on the Rights of the Child.', Melbourne journal of international law., 2 (2). pp. 304-350.


This paper seeks to analyse whether the Convention on the Rights of the Child, its text and its monitoring procedure, successfully meets the challenge posed by cultural relativism to the legitimacy of the United Nations’ international human rights regime. The first part of the paper argues that whilst the cultural relativist’s critique of international human rights law must be taken seriously, agreement on ‘culturally legitimate’ universal standards is, at least as a matter of theory, possible. Furthermore, the second section of the paper argues that the drafting of the Convention on the Rights of the Child was, in some respects, encouraging as a model of inclusive norm creation. However, the final part of the paper concludes that whilst the Convention’s monitoring committee, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, is ideally placed to respond positively to the demands of cultural difference, it has unfortunately not done so. The Committee’s analysis of particular norms and practices has, to date, been marked by a striking ‘Western’ bias.

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Record Created:14 Aug 2008
Last Modified:08 Apr 2009 16:31

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