Children’s Rights as a Means of Social Change

Maria João Leote Carvalho, Reena Mary George

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Worldwide, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) has had a significant impact on the emergence of a specific status of children as a social group and on their rights as a means of social change. The leading role of human rights within the field of international law has been decisive to challenge children’s rights violations and abuses, by requiring legal reforms to improve national social and justice systems when States themselves do not respect or fail to enforce the rights of the child. The complex nature of the interaction of social change and children’s rights is examined in this chapter through the mapping of the relationship between international covenants. This allows for an interrelated analysis, at the international level, of children’s right to be heard and its impact on society. The view of children as social actors highlights the need to take their voices into account. Nevertheless, the current situation of children around the world, in particular the changing demography and the risks that children face, shows how this goal of hearing children’s voices is far from being achieved. The complex nature of the social change influencing children’s rights requires a greater recognition of groups often excluded from social protection. The challenges arising from the global technological evolution provided the grounds for a recent comment by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, in which the Committee makes it explicit – for the first time – that children’s rights apply in the digital world.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Global Social Change
EditorsRajendra Baikady, S.M. Sajid, Varoshini Nadesan, Jaroslaw Przeperski, M. Rezaul Islam, Jianguo Gao
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan, Cham
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-87624-1
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-87624-1
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Jun 2023


  • Children
  • Childhood
  • Rights of the child
  • Social change
  • Public policy
  • Children’s agency
  • Digital rights
  • Citizenship
  • Participation


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