UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti
The Convention on the Rights of the Child introduces for the first time in an international human rights treaty, the concept of the ‘evolving capacities’ of the child. This principle has been described as a new principle of interpretation in international law, recognising that, as children acquire enhanced competencies, there is a diminishing need for protection and a greater capacity to take responsibility for decisions affecting their lives. The Convention allows for the recognition that children in different environments and cultures, and faced with diverse life experiences, will acquire competencies at different ages. Action is needed in law, policy and practice so that the contributions children make and the capacities they hold are acknowledged. The purpose of the study is to open the discussion and promote debate to achieve a better understanding of how children can be protected, in accordance with their evolving capacities, and also provided with opportunities to participate in the fulfillment of their rights. The study has been conducted in close collaboration with Save the Children Sweden.