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Therese Mortensen

Therese Mortensen

Doctoral student

Therese Mortensen

Localising De-Institutionalisation : The Potentials of Article 20 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the Context of Rajasthan, India


  • Therese Mortensen

Summary, in English

Article 20 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
recognises the vulnerability of children growing up outside a family
environment, and sets the ground for the paradigm of ‘institutions as
a last resort’. However, ‘care homes’ or ‘hostels’ are still common forms
of alternative care solutions for children from impoverished families
in India. This article asks to what extent the clear impetus towards
de-institutionalisation in human rights discourses, especially among
international NGOs, has potential to change such practices. The study
contributes to a body of scholarship on ‘localising children’s rights’ by
presenting findings from an ethnographic case study of an institution
for HIV-infected/affected children in Rajasthan, India. The institution in
question played a range of social functions other than childcare such as
education, a means for parents to rescue their children from extreme
poverty, and a supportive and de-stigmatised environment for the
community of people living with HIV/AIDS. The article argues that
social functions of existing institutions should be taken into account
when developing rights-based de-institutionalisation strategies.

Publishing year





Asia in Focus



Document type

Journal article


Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS)


  • Law and Society




  • ISSN: 2446-0001