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Children as Legal Subjects

In law, which is the discipline that by definition deals with rights, to be a rights-holder is to be entitled to have certain claims of one’s own legally protected and thus forcefully satisfied. To be a duty-bearer is to be held accountable for one’s deeds, for one’s condition as a member of a society whose members have ties with each other. To be a rights-holder and a duty-bearer, in its fuller sense, is to be a full-fledged legal subject vis-à-vis the law and society (i.e., a citizen, someone who is a necessary member of the present community).

The status of children as legal subjects, which is tantamount to the status of their rights-holding and duty-bearing capacities, is relevant because throughout history, or more specifically, Western ...

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