The Youngest Citizens traces the historical evolution of children's rights in Latin America before turning its focus to the dramatic shift in discourse and policy experienced by the continent in the last 20 years.
This book explores the new global regime on childhood, child advocates' sustained efforts to influence domestic policy, the ongoing challenges they face, and the implications for democracy and citizenship in Latin America. Risley addresses the disconnect between rights granted and the realities that young people face through in-depth case studies of child advocacy and legislation to prove that rights in theory do not suffice; the status of children must be improved in practice. Key issues are discussed, such as child labor in Bolivia and Brazil, child soldiers in Colombia, child sexual exploitation in Costa Rica and Mexico, and unaccompanied child migrants detained at the United States' southern border. The Youngest Citizens takes the cautiously optimistic view that children themselves are increasingly being recognized as rights-bearing subjects and included in the decisions affecting them.
This book is an essential text for both undergraduate and graduate students interested in Latin American studies, with a focus on themes surrounding childhood and the family, human rights, and migration.