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Introduction to Children's Rights


Admission requirements

The course can be followed by law students, students from other relevant disciplines and exchange students.


Children’s rights have been of growing importance since the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1989. This almost universally ratified human rights treaty stipulates that children must be regarded as bearers of human rights and fundamental freedoms. To this end, the CRC enshrines both civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights. At the same time children are entitled to specific rights, special measures of protection which underscore the special position of the child, among others in relation to their parents and family, and the special responsibility of the State to safeguard the rights of children. This course provides an introduction to children’s rights as part of international human rights law and addresses the meaning of the children’s rights framework for children at the domestic level. To this end, the general principles of the CRC (arts 2, 3, 6 and 12) as well as its monitoring system will be highlighted. In addition, a number of specific issues will be addressed including, among others, child abuse and neglect, child protection and alternative care, children in conflict with the law (juvenile justice) and children in armed conflict.

Course objectives

  1. Students are able to identify and explain contemporary legal issues and developments regarding the specific position of children under international human rights law.
  2. Students are able to identify and explain the different tools for implementing and monitoring children's rights.
  3. Students are able to identify and explain the theoretical aspects of different (legal) children's rights issues.
  4. Students are able to apply the CRC and related international and regional legal instruments concerning children to specific cases, theses and (historical) developments.
  5. Students are able to reflect upon critical and topical children's rights issues in one or more written assignments and during discussions in class.


The timetable of this course can be found in uSis.

Mode of instruction


  • Number of (2 hour) lectures: 10

  • Names of lecturers: various (guest) lecturers

  • Required preparation by students: reading of literature/case law before class meetings and prepare questions for discussion.

Assessment method

Examination form(s)

  • Written exam (90%)

  • Participation through weekly journals (10%)

Students have to turn in a weekly journal (1 A4; further instructions will be published on Brightspace) on the course materials (i.e. five in total). If all five journals have been turned in, this will be graded with a 10 (i.e. counting for 10% of the final grade). Each journal that will not be handed in and/or is not satisfactory, results in a deduction of 2 points. If no journals have been turned in, students will not be allowed to participate in the written exam.

The final grade (the written exam and participation through the weekly journals together) should be a 5.5 or higher to pass the course. Students may retake the written exam if the grade point average of the course components is below 5.5. The grade for the participation through weekly journals remains valid for the retake.
If students fail the course, remaining grades with a satisfactory result will not remain valid.

Submission procedures
The weekly journals must be submitted in hard copy and digitally via Brightspace (Safe Asign).

Areas to be tested within the exam
The examination syllabus consists of the required reading (literature) for the course, the course information guide and the subjects taught in the lectures, the seminars and all other instructions which are part of the course.

Reading list

Obligatory course materials

  • Reader (to be announced on Brightspace)

Course information guide:

  • Outline as posted on Brightspace

Recommended course materials

  • To be announced on Brightspace


Students have to register for courses and exams through uSis. When the course offers only lectures, you need to register for the lectures. Go to uSis for registration. Your registration for this course will give you access to the digital learning environment Brightspace.
Find more information on Brightspace on the students website.

Exchange students have priority and will be registered for the course first. Any remaining seats will be available for students from Leiden University and other Dutch Universities.

Contact information

  • Coordinator: via secretariat Child Law

  • Work address: Department of Child Law, KOG

  • Telephone number: 071 527 6056

  • E-mail:


  • Institution: Private Law

  • Division: Department of Child Law

  • Room number secretariat: KOG, room B2.43

  • Opening hours: Front desk from Monday/Friday 09h00 – 17h00 hours

  • Telephone number secretariat: 071 527 6056

  • E-mail:


  • A maximum of 120 students can participate in this course.