For the UN and Freedom of Expression and Information Critical Perspectives Congress I wrote a paper to explore the work done by the Committee on the Rights of the Child with regard to the right to freedom of expression. The congress is organized by the ACIL (Amsterdam Center for International Law) and the Institute for Information Law (IVIR), Faculty of Law, UvA, with the collaboration of Human Rights Centre, University of Essex.
The paper can be found here: The Committee on the Rights of the Child & Freedom of Expression (Draft – not for citation or circulation). Below is a preview.
The right to freedom of expression is protected in many international and regional treaties. These treaties are applicable to children in their capacity as being part of ‘everyone’. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (hereafter: ‘the Convention’) protects the child’s right to free expression which is firmly-rooted throughout the whole of the Convention. The protection of the right to freedom of expression of children in particular can be seen as reaffirming that the general right to freedom of expression also applies to children. The main difference between provisions in many international treaties and the provisions in the Convention, is that the latter is tailored to children. This differentiation evoked a profound discussion on the formulation of the child’s right to freedom of expression. For instance, discussions on Article 17 of the Convention regarding the role of the mass media were characterized by a clash between two competing approaches. One that supported the free flow of information and one that supported a somewhat more paternalistic approach by preferring the protection of children from harmful information. However, this does not mean that the Convention provides absolutely no protection of children from harmful information. The purpose of this paper is to explore the work done by the monitoring body of the Convention, the Committee on the Rights of the Child (hereafter: ‘the Committee’), with regard to the right to freedom of expression.