The Child’s Right to its own Identity: A Comparative Analysis based on The Convention on the Rights of the Child


  • Magdalena Butrymowicz, Ph.D. The Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow, Poland


Human Rights, Child's Rights, Convention of the Rights of the Child


From birth, each individual has the right to have an identity. The identity of an individual is the assertion of his or her existence in a society. It is also a matter of recognition of their individuality and what differentiates them from their peers1. The traditional western legal view of human development assumes that people possess the active tendency toward psychological changes and integration with the society. This tendency is called the self–determination, which is described as the psychological growth and development in unity to fly in the face of everyday behavioural observation. Self – determination in the science of psychology it is the widely known as the inherent tendency towards psychological growth, a unified self, and autonomous, responsible behaviour. These tendencies have two aspects: theoretical and practical. Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states: All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. This endogenous tendency is across a variety of inner tendencies such as: growth, self-construction and inner coherence. This inner behaviour in some point will influence the external behaviours and tendencies2. Human behaviour is conduct by specific values (personal and socially preferable modes of conduct). These values lead to specific behaviours and experiences that individuals assign to the desirability of special objects or behaviours3.

An international system of human rights was created to protect the most important values of the world: the right of the human being to dignity. The right of the each human in the world to have his/her fundamental rights is protected by the international legal systems. One of the most essential principles of the international law is the right to identity. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948,4 under the auspice of United Nations states, in Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. Further on it reads: Everyone has the right to a nationality (art. 15) and in article 29 we can read that (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which the free and full development of his personality is possible. (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations, as are determined by the law, solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others, and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society5.