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Charlotte Parree wins Jaap Doek Children's Rights Thesis Award

Charlotte Parree won the Jaap Doek Children's Rights Thesis Prize on Tuesday afternoon, 6 December, with her thesis entitled 'Suffering knows no age; active termination of life does.' The prize was awarded for the tenth time by em. prof. Jaap Doek.

Charlotte Parree and Jaap Doek (Photo: Daniella van Bergen Photography)

The Children's Rights Thesis Award goes to the best master's thesis from the Netherlands or Belgium in the field of children's rights. The prize is an initiative of Defence for Children and the Child Law Department of Leiden University.

Charlotte sat in the front row of the room with her parents and was visibly surprised with her win. 'I really didn't expect this,' she said. 'I was even a bit shocked.' The now junior lecturer at VU University Amsterdam drew inspiration for her thesis from her mother's work: 'She works in healthcare and has had to deal with active termination of life in cases of unbearable suffering. That is always incredibly complicated. I wondered how this is legally regulated for children.'

'Charlotte has found a gap in the Dutch legal system.' - Jaap Doek

Her lectures paid little attention to this, so she decided to research this herself. She noticed that the subject was topical. 'In recent years, I read and heard in the media about parents with children facing hopeless suffering.' Among other things, Charlotte discovered that in the Netherlands there is still very little legally possible in terms of active termination of life for one- to 12-year-old children who - due to an incurable disease, for example - are suffering unbearably and hopelessly.

Jaap Doek praised Charlotte's thesis for its innovative nature: 'She has found a gap in the Dutch legal system.' Charlotte's thesis was chosen from six nominated theses. The theses were judged on the importance and scope of the topic, the quality of the substantive argumentation, its relation to children's rights and its attention to methodology. The thesis was rewarded with a free to spend €500 and an organised trip to Geneva with a visit to the UN Children's Rights Committee.

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