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Deconstructing the Convention on the Rights of the Child: semiotics, significs and semioethics of gendercide

Clara Chapdelaine-Feliciati

Keywords: human rights; child law; gendercide; female infanticide; semiotics of law; significs; semioethics

This article engages in a semiotic analysis of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) to assess whether it addresses the issue of gendercide, more specifically female infanticide. It applies the science of semiotics and the doctrine of ‘significs’ devised by Victoria Welby to deconstruct the sense, meaning and significance of the phrasing of rights in the CRC. To begin, it examines the ‘sense’ of the terminology employed in the CRC, and studies the travaux préparatoires of the Convention which portray the deliberations of its drafters to uncover their ‘meaning-intention’. It thereafter explores the ‘significance’ of the wording of rights in the CRC as regards female infanticide. Finally, it applies the novel doctrine of ‘semioethics’ developed by Susan Petrilli and Augusto Ponzio to suggest amendments to the CRC for the purpose of strengthening the protection of infant girls under international law.

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