Document Type

Capstone Project

Publication Date



Stevenson Center, children's rights, Dominican Republic


The protection of basic human rights and a higher level of community development are two closely connected elements that have the power to drive a nation. Over history, we have seen case after case in which human rights violations are closely linked to the plaguing occurrences of conflict, exclusion, and poverty, all of which are directly related to the quality and pace of development of a country (OECD, n/d). Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General once said, "Humanity will not enjoy security without development, it will not enjoy development without security, and it will not enjoy either without respect for human rights" (Stevens, 2012). Human rights and development exist hand in hand, and the two concepts should be explored together.

Many have contested whether or not children’s rights should have the same active role as human rights in the development of a nation. Over the last decade this issue has animated much debate. The Dominican Republic makes for a fascinating case study of not only how implementing children’s rights can have a powerful influence on community development, but also of how a disconnect between policy and reality can produce serious violations that threaten the very basis of children’s rights, and therefore community development, in a lesser-developed country.

This paper explores the following questions: How do children’s rights implementation and violations affect community development? What changes are needed in the community in order to protect children’s rights? This paper seeks to inform these questions by providing qualitative insight into concepts of children’s rights, and more pointedly into the violations of these rights in the Dominican Republic, with a focus on how children’s rights situations relate to the higher development of the country as a more progressive society.