The stream includes two working papers: the first focuses on children’s right to have rights; and the second women’s right to have rights.
International law’s affirmation of everyone’s right to have rights came into being through a peacemaking process. Its deprivation continues to typify the emergent context that brings peace processes into being — and for some cohorts of the people, namely children, the process itself. The right is intuitively seductive. It resonates as self-evident: an inexorable abstraction of having rights. Yet it is also enigmatic and challenging to concretise. What is its content? What substantive rights are expressive of this right? What is their scope in peacemaking? And why is it — above for example more corporeal rights — so fundamental? Guided by these questions, the paper begins by reflecting on the right as crystallised by Hannah Arendt: it then shifts to reflecting on, first, its expression in international law and, second, its interrelations with the law of peace. In doing so, it yields legal and political opportunities for ensuring the right in peacemaking, and imagines a framework of evolving measures for bringing the right to life in the staged process. The paper concludes by arguing renewing engagement with this understated right offers a beacon for guiding responses to the complex child rights challenges yielded by peacemaking — and our interdependent and fragile twenty-first century world more generally.
International human rights law affirms everyone’s right to have rights. Yet peace processes transform and silence. In doing so, they reinforce the privileging of selected subjects of human rights over others that typifies our world. As feminist scholars have long noted, women’s right to have rights is typically under qualified, eclipsed by bodily and sexualised harm and subject to pacification. Is this justified from the perspective from the law of peace? May women’s right to have rights yield to the legitimate aim of pursuing peace? Or is it a reflection of broader gender inequalities that pervade our world? A study on the Law of Peace and Children’s Human Rights and a related paper on Children’s Rights to Rights reflected on these questions more generally. The paper aims to share the paper’s analysis of the interrelations between the laws of peace and the right to have rights — and illustrate its resonance for qualifying women’s right to have rights in peacemaking. In doing so it yields legal and political opportunities for claiming women’s right for their presence and agency to be qualified in the staged process, and unlocks a framework of obligations to ensure respectively women’s rights and views are made effective and accorded significance on an equal basis — as an affirmation of women’s dignity and worth, a fundament to having rights and a foundation for pursuing international peace and security.