Street children's right to education : the failure of international law in protecting the rights of a vulnerable group.
This thesis studies the role of international law in protecting the rights of marginalized groups and examines the case of street children as a group whose rights are not adequately protected. It argues that the omission of a reference to street children in international law is a contributing factor to the systematic violation of street children's rights. This discussion examines the concept of group and the meaning of group status in international human rights law. It links the notion of a "vulnerable group" to discrimination and discusses the required special measures and attention in applying the principle of non-discrimination. To illustrate this, the example of the right to education is employed to demonstrate the difficulty in applying international human rights law as it currently stands to street children. The right to education serves to illuminate the discrimination against street children and provides concrete meaning to the application of the principle of non-discrimination to specific groups. Therefore, the thesis examines the international rights of the child and all relevant binding and non-binding instruments to explain how particular provisions and principles may, constructively or adversely, affect the implementation of street children's right to education. The study finds that notwithstanding the apparent inadequacy of international law, relevant provisions have not been used optimally. An examination of the case study of Brazil confirms this, while underscoring the difficulty in linking norms and practice nationally and internationally. The discussion concludes that international law has the potential to better protect street children's right to education. By extension, the practical applications thereof extend to the rights of other groups that are not expressly covered at present. The key to this lies in exploring the role of human rights mechanism in teleologically interpreting human rights norms to determine, and monitor, state obligations towards specific groups.
- Theses