Children’s Constitutional Rights in the Nordic Countries: Do Constitutional Rights Matter?
This chapter consists of a comparative analyses of children’s constitutional rights in the Nordic countries. First, we analyse children’s constitutional rights in general in the Nordic countries to assess if and how a Constitution is in line with the child’s rights approach of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (crc). We build on a model developed by Conor O’Mahony that measures the protection of children’s constitutional rights in Europe across three spectrums: visibility, agency and enforceability. Our study is a more detailed analysis of fewer countries and enables us to discuss the reasons for the differences. Second, we discuss how international instruments supplement constitutional law in the Nordic countries. Third, we compare implementation and enforcement of children’s rights in each of the three domains included in this volume: the principle of the best interests of the child, participatory rights and the right to family life. Finally, we assess whether and how enshrining children’s rights explicitly in the Constitution influences the enforcement and implementation of those rights. A key question is whether constitutionalisation of children’s rights is a culmination of a shift in our view of children, or the start of a new era.