The UNCRC: The Voice of Global Consensus on Children’s Rights?

Anne Quennerstedt, Carol Robinson, John I’Anson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is a known fact that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) encompasses contradictions. In spite of this, attention to conflicting aspects within the convention is limited, and instead the assumption that the convention represents an international consensus on the meaning of children's human rights is widespread in policy and academic work. Furthermore, available literature within the field of children's rights is largely silent as regards precise and elaborated knowledge about the inherent contradictions within the UNCRC. This paper expands upon, and specifies, the knowledge about consensus and inconsistencies within the convention. Through an in-depth study of the drafting process of the UNCRC, the paper identifies and displays both contradictions within the convention, and ways in which the text of the convention can be seen to express consensus. The analysis shows how a certain consensus was produced for respectively civil and political rights, and socio-economic rights, but that different and inconsistent children's rights logics underlay the formation of these respective consensus-formations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-54
Number of pages17
JournalNordic Journal of Human Rights / Nordisk Tidsskrift for Menneskerettigheter
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018

Bibliographical note

© 2018 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (
licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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