International Rights of the Child


Higher postgraduate course, second semester, one three-hour seminar per week for 13 weeks.

Course convener(s): Professor Danwood Chirwa


  1. To examine critically the development, content and implementation of international and regional human rights laws on children with a focus on the African region;
  2. To examine the effectiveness, equity and cultural sensitivity of the laws on children;
  3. To consider national laws in light of international and regional human rights and to discuss strategies for raising children's rights standards at the national level in the African region.


Course outline:
The course covers the following issues:

  1. theories of children's rights;
  2. the international, regional and domestic protection of children's rights;
  3. the relationship between different cultural traditions and the universal and regional values on children's rights;
  4. the concept of childhood;
  5. key principles underpinning children's rights;
  6. child poverty;
  7. child justice;
  8. the right to education;
  9. the right to survival and development;
  10. the right to protection from abuse, neglect, maltreatment and exploitation;
  11. legal protections for child soldiers and civilians involved in armed conflicts and
  12. the right to family care or alternative care.


Lectures: 3 hour seminars every week.

DP requirements: Attendance at all lectures.

Assessment: Written assignments count for 50% and written examination counts for 50% of the final grade.