Dr Hedi Viterbo (CLPN's Director) recently gave a talk at Oxford University, titled 'Problematising Children’s Rights – Insights from Israel/Palestine.' The talk was based on his similarly titled book, Problematizing Law, Rights, and Childhood in Israel/Palestine (Cambridge University Press, 2021). Moderator: our member, Chelsea Wallis.
In the talk, as well as the discussion that followed, Dr Viterbo challenged dominant assumptions about children’s rights and child law, both in and beyond the Israel/Palestine context. He revealed how Israel, rather than disregarding international legal and human rights norms concerning children, has used these norms to hone and legitimise its violence against Palestinians. He also exposed the complicity of human rights actors in this situation, due to their problematic conceptions of childhood, their uncritical embrace of international law, their use of a mental health rhetoric, and their recurring emulation of Israel’s security discourse. Bridging disciplinary divides, the book examines how, and to what effect, both the state and its critics manufacture, shape, and weaponise the categories ‘child’ and ‘adult.’