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Considering the Rights and Best Interests of a Child in a Multi-cultural Civil Society with Special Reference to Nigeria

By Fortune Amezhinim Ihua-Maduenyi

Abstract

The emergence of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) 1989 is a welcome development in the international community. However, there is difficulty in understanding the extent to which some of the principles contained therein are manifested, especially where questions as to the universal application of these principles arise. One of such principles is the best interests of the child (BIC). This thesis argues that the way this principle is interpreted and applied by various states will to a large extent, be influenced by pluralistic cultural conditions of those states despite the view that in interpreting the UNCRC consideration should be given to cultural relativism. The thesis shows how cultural, religious, economic and social factors affect the implementation of the BIC principle. It focuses on some factors which influence the definitional process and application of this major concept in the UNCRC with a view to establishing that there is no single meaning for the term ‘best interests’. In the light of the foregoing, the thesis seeks to establish that the standard varies from societies thereby resulting in difficulties in ascertaining the universal definition of the BIC. \ud By way of analysis, the thesis draws examples from other jurisdictions with particular emphasis on Nigeria and demonstrates that the country’s diverse ethnic, cultural and religious inclinations which conflict with the legislative provisions constitute impediments in effectively implementing children‟s rights. One of the problems is the domestication of international treaties into national law. The thesis concludes that there is need to strike a balance to ensure that the BIC is protected globally irrespective of the factors affecting its proper implementation across jurisdictions. This research is intended to provide the necessary insights that would assist policy makers to build children’s best interests into national priorities and policies bearing in mind multi-culturalism

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2011
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/9632

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