Children's rights

My research in this area focuses on the transition from childhood to adulthood and the related issues of the evolving capacities of the child and the use of minimum ages. While focusing predominantly on the CRC and its definition of the child, my research also explores multidisciplinary approaches encompassing sociological, anthropological, cultural, political and developmental studies.

My doctoral research on the minimum age for marriage, in particular, adopts such a multifaceted line of reasoning to advocate for a more flexible conceptual framework that takes into account

  • conformity to the content and the principles of the CRC
  • consistency with and between relevant national laws (on majority and other minimum ages)
  • contextual circumstances
  • cogency of argument
for a more realistic "translation" of international standards in children's everyday life.
Open the attachment below to read the abstract of my PhD thesis

The right to education 

For this topic, I work within the 4A scheme (Availability, Accessibility, Acceptability and Adaptability of education) and the human rights-based PANEL approach (Participation, Accountability, Non-discrimination, Empowerment and Legality).


Starting from the premise that education is a legal right with corresponding obligations for duty-bearers, I am interested in linking theory and practice in order to facilitate knowledge sharing, advocacy and social mobilisation at the substantive, structural and socio-cultural levels.


Specific foci of my current research include:

  • the end of compulsory education within a children's rights framework
  • using human rights advocacy for gender equality in education 
  • beyond statistics: measuring education as a human right
  • the right to education in situations of extreme poverty
  • the use of monitoring and reporting mechanisms for the protection of the right to education in fragile States

The UN human rights system

Five years in Geneva and New York have taught me that any human rights work within the UN system requires a great deal of patience, persuasion and perseverance. And if you are lucky enough to be gifted with power, then it is all the better! I have not lost all hope, though. There I have also learnt about the work of incredibly committed experts, be they Special Rapporteurs or members of Treaty Bodies. Their analysis, monitoring and assessments are a source of continuous inspiration and interest.


In particular, I am always keen to follow and study developments in the following areas:

  • the interaction between the CRC Committee and State Parties in assessing and monitoring the implementation of the Convention
  • the possible cooperation between Treaty Bodies, in paticular the CRC and CEDAW Committees
  • the setting of standards for individual complaint mechanisms (for both ICESCR and CRC)
  • the efforts of the OHCHR to develop rights-based indicators 
  • the reports of Special Procedures to the Human Rights Council, especially with reference to economic, social and cultural rights
angela melchiorre,
23 Jan 2011, 14:55