A theological analysis of children’s rights in the context of working children in South East Nigeria

  • Innocent Ezeonyeasi

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Despite the availability of child’s rights legislation for the fight against exploitative child labour, it still thrives in its various forms in Nigeria. The dignity of human labour seems to lessen when it comes to children in Nigeria. The research focuses on child labour practices in South East Nigeria, an area predominantly made up of Catholics. The research contends that child’s labour legislation is insufficient in preserving the dignity and rights of working children especially in the informal sector, away from the view of law enforcement agents. The goal of the research is to support the efforts of the Catholic Church in Nigeria with a synthesized theologico-legal resource for the protection of the rights of working children. The research observes that there is a near total absence of reference to working children in Catholic social teaching. Working children were not directly included in the historic encyclical of John Paul II (1981) on human work, Laborem Exercens. The research integrates the legislation on children’s rights with the social teaching of the Catholic Church in a bid to provide a Christian basis for supporting and developing laws protecting the rights of working children. The Catholic Church upholds the natural law/rights tradition. The natural law/rights tradition places the Catholic Church on familiar ground for the acceptance of “human rights” that are founded on the human being created in the image of God. As a panacea to exploitative child labour, it offers a theologico-legal resource for working children made up of twenty sample articles. It suggests “see-dialogue-judge-act-accompany” as a child-sensitive social justice principle. It encourages the formation of children’s workgroup/solidarity, foster family support groups and Catholic agencies for working children to ensure that the recommendations of the research are implemented and thereby promote a good practice of child labour in South East Nigeria.
    Date of Award31 Mar 2020
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Roehampton
    SupervisorTina Beattie (Supervisor) & Richard Burgess (Supervisor)


    • Child labour in South East Nigeria
    • Child work
    • Child labour
    • Working children in Nigeria
    • Rights of working children

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