The paradox of children's rights in Trinidad: translating international law into domestic reality

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
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The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has been criticised for its ambiguous language and lack of applicability to developing countries. This qualitative thesis explores diverse perspectives of children’s rights in Trinidad through interviews with teachers, child-care providers, children, and parents. Participants revealed a number of structural, ideological, and cultural challenges to the recognition of children’s rights in Trinidad. Structural challenges included shortcomings in the social development system, education system and government initiatives, while ideological challenges were identified as flowing from respondents’ fear of rights, their view of rights as privileges, and the disjuncture between policy and practice. Finally, cultural challenges stem from the conception of children as property, the tolerance of infringements on privacy, and the ongoing use of corporal punishment. The future of children’s rights in Trinidad will depend on increased international funding to alleviate poverty and enhanced public awareness and acceptance of children’s rights.
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