I Book Review: Deprivation of Liberty of Children in Light of International Human Rights Law and Standards

Publication Date01 Sep 2010
SubjectPart C: DocumentationI Book Review
Netherlands Q uarterly of Human R ights, Vol. 28/3, 483–512, 2010.
© Netherlands I nstitute of Human Ri ghts (SIM), Printed in the Net herlands. 483
Ton Liefaard, Deprivation of Liberty of Children in Light of International Human
Rights Law and S tandards, School of Human Rights Resea rch Series, Intersentia,
Antwerp, 2008 , 696 + xxx p., ISBN: 978–90–5095 –838–7*
With this book on the deprivation of liberty of children i n light of hu man rights
law, Liefaard has made an import ant contribution to chi ldren’s rights. All too oen,
children’s rights are st udied rather supercially (if at all), and disconnected from t he
general human rights f ramework. Liefaard has avoided both pitfalls: he has produced
a fairly comprehensive and in-depth st udy of the topic, and has managed to integrate
and contextu alise specic children’s rights provisions into the overal l human rig hts
law framework. Moreover, he oers a sophisticated integ rated picture of a ll relevant
international norms, regardless of their hard or so nature. Given their dierent
degrees of spec icity, binding treaty provisions on the one hand, and g uidelines and
principles on the other hand , complement each other and benet therefore from an
integrated reading.
e book consists of two ma in parts. e rst par t focuses on the relevant
international huma n rights law and standards. e second par t deals with the
deprivation of liberty of chi ldren in the Netherlands. Notwithst anding the broad
reference to deprivation of liber ty in the title , the book is mainly concerned with the
deprivation of liberty of ch ildren in the context of juvenile justice.
e rst par t on the international lega l framework is covered in t he chapters two
and three . Chapter two (‘International Human Rights L aw and Standards regarding
Deprivation of Liberty of Children’) oers a historica l account of the emergence of
a normative framework for the deprivation of liberty of children, i ncluding general
human rights law, t he 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Chi ld (CRC), and t he
1990 UN Rules for the Protect ion of Juveniles Deprived of eir Libert y (Havana
Rules). ese in struments are a nalysed along two ordeni ng principles: one is the
distinction bet ween international and regional instruments , the other the distinction
between provisions that are direct ly applicable to individuals deprived of their l iberty
(for example the right to l iberty), and prov isions t hat are ‘especia lly relevant’ to
individuals deprived of their liberty (for example the prohibition of tor ture; fair tria l
and so on).
* Wouter Vandenhole is profe ssor at t he University of Antwerp Law Research School, Law and
Development Re search Group and UN ICEF Chair in Chi ldren’s Rights, Antwerp, Belgium.
UNICEF respect s the academic freedom of the chair holder. Opinions ex pressed by the chair holder
do not commit UNICE F.

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