Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About us Faculty of Law Research Centres of Expertise Groningen Centre for Health Law Onderzoeksprojecten Children's Rights in Healthcare

Children’s Rights in Health Care

Children’s Rights in Health Care

- What does the child’s right to health mean in a health care setting?
- Do children have autonomous rights in such a setting, separate from their parents?
- Are prenatal health interests sufficiently protected?


Children represent a special category of human beings, due to their vulnerability, dependency of others and evolving physical and mental capacities. These aspects of childhood play a particular role when it comes to pediatric care. In this regard, various questions arise as to how the fundamental rights of children are at stake in health care. Under the UN-Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC, 1989) these rights are protected. This Convention calls upon the international community as well as upon States Parties to take appropriate actions in order to safeguard these rights. Furthermore, respecting these rights is a great responsibility of health care institutions as well as individual health care providers. Yet, how these agents are to bear this responsibility has – also in the Netherlands – hardly been investigated in a structured and rather systematic fashion. The Children’s Rights in Health Care Section (CRHC) aims to describe and analyze these responsibilities of care takers, health institutions and national governments, so as to contribute to a better understanding of children’s rights issues in health care.


Through systematic investigations into various aspects of child health care with regard to domestic, European and international law, the CRHC targets how fundamental legal interests of children are involved, maybe even jeopardized, in a context of health care. We focus on the legal position of children in health care, as well as related issues and bottlenecks in pediatric practice, in order to identify implantable solutions. Ultimately, the Section aims to contribute to prudent regulations and policies which seek to protect the health and well-being of children in need of care.


The main activities of the CRHC-Section involve:

  • education & training;
  • scientific research;
  • counseling & consultation

Our activities include:

  • state responsibilities and the child’s right to health care;
  • issues of prenatal health law;
  • children & medical treatment;
  • child- and youth psychiatry; compulsory care in an institutional or ambulant setting;
  • legal position of minors as participants in medical-scientific research;
  • the right of the (donor) child to access to information on parental descent;
  • children & organ donation en –transplantation;
  • children & euthanasia / physician-assisted suicide;
  • minor refugees / asylum seekers and the realization of the right to access to health care;
  • children and HIV/aids, Corona, infectious diseases;
  • children, health & international cooperation.
These areas, and others similarly concerned with children’s interests in health care, thus far received but little attention in normative and multidisciplinary research. While the CRC pays broad attention to various issues, current European research appears to fall short in studying matters which address such interests. The CRHC-Section aspires to fill this gap in available scientific knowledge.
Last modified:17 August 2023 1.02 p.m.
View this page in: Nederlands