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 renewed 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. Rather than justified from the perspective of the law of peace, drawing on the staged findings of a study on the Law of Peace and Children’s Human Rights, a related paper on Children’s Right to have Rights suggests this is mostly revealing of broader subjugation. 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 argues for renewed engagement with international human rights law, in particular its framework of obligations for ensuring women’s right to have rights on substantively equal basis as an affirmation of women’s dignity and worth — and a foundation for pursuing international peace and security.