Katre Luhamaa will defend her doctoral thesis titled„Universal Human Rights in National Contexts: Application of International Rights of the Child in Estonia, Finland and Russia“ on 14 September in the Faculty of Law (Näituse 20 - K-03) of the University of Tartu.
Supervisor: Professor Lauri Mälksoo, University of Tartu
Opponents: Professor Martin Scheinin, European University Institute (Firenze), Professor Ria Wolleswinkel (University of Maastricht).
Universality of international human rights is a mainstream argument in international law. The ultimate aim of this dissertation is to analyse the interpretation and implementation of selected children’s rights in three states: Estonia, Finland, and Russia (hereinafter ‘the states’ or ‘the three states’). In particular, whether significant differences occur in the national implementation of the minimum core of these – purportedly universal – rights and what factors might cause any such differences are discussed. The main hypothesis of the work is that even in such a universally recognized document as the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the universality claim does not hold true for the understanding, and, furthermore, the interpretation and practical application of the minimum core of rights in these states differs considerably.
For achieving this goal, the conditions of national implementation of international human rights were first analysed. Secondly, the implementation of two primary principles of the CRC were analysed in Estonia, Finland, and Russia: the definition of a child and the best interests of a child. The research undertaken showed that there were considerable differences in the national implementation of the rights of the child. A number of these discrepancies were substantiated in different values or traditions.