Children’s Rights, Bodily Integrity and Poverty Alleviation

  • Gunter Graf
  • Maria del Mar Cabezas
Part of the Studies in Global Justice book series (JUST, volume 14)


In this chapter, we explore the potential of children’s rights for the alleviation of poverty with a special focus on a child’s right to bodily integrity. In the first section, we analyze the children’s rights discourse, which is closely connected to the Convention on the Rights of the Child of the United Nations (CRC). We recognize its importance but also detect a need to connect it more thoroughly to philosophical theories. In Sect. 4.2 therefore, we present a capability approach to children’s rights and suggest that these rights should be seen as means that justice for children can be secured. We suggest four criteria to identify which capabilities/functionings are crucial in terms of social justice for children and which therefore should be protected by rights, claiming that they should (1) reflect the best available empirical knowledge, (2) be societally influenceable, (3) be objectively determinable, and (4) integrate an evolving perspective. In Sect. 4.3, we then turn to the functioning/capability of and right to bodily integrity. While not explicitly part of the CRC, such a right is helpful to identify the harms that poverty may generate to children’s well-being and well-becoming in a holistic way. Finally, in Sect. 4.4 we point to the relation between a right to bodily integrity and the empowerment of children in poverty, paying special attention to the fact that it connects concerns about children’s bodies with children’s agency and self-relations.


Capability approach Human rights Children’s rights Bodily integrity Child poverty 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Zentrum für Ethik und ArmutsforschungUniversität SalzburgSalzburgAustria

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