While young children's rights have received considerable attention and have accordingly advanced over the last two decades, adolescent rights have been neglected, resulting in a serious rights lacuna. This manifests itself in pervasive gender-based violence, widespread youth disaffection and unemployment, concerning levels of self-abuse, violence and antisocial engagement, and serious mental and physical health deficits. The cost of inaction on these issues is likely to be dramatic in terms of human suffering, lost social and economic opportunities, and threats to global peace and security. Across the range of disciplines that make up contemporary human rights, from law and social advocacy, to global health, to history, economics, sociology, politics, and psychology, it is time for adolescent rights to occupy a coherent place of their own.
Human Rights and Adolescence presents a multifaceted inquiry into the global circumstances of adolescents, focused on the human rights challenges and socioeconomic obstacles young adults face. Contributors use new research to advance feasible solutions and timely recommendations for a wide range of issues spanning all continents, from relevant international legal norms to neuropsychological adolescent brain development, gender discrimination in Indian education to Colombian child soldier recruitment, stigmatization of Roma youth in Europe to economic disempowerment of Middle Eastern and South African adolescents. Taken together, the research emphasizes the importance of dedicated attention to adolescence as a distinctive and critical phase of development between childhood and adulthood, and outlines the task of building on the potential of adolescents while providing support for the challenges they experience.