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Keywords:

  • children's rights;
  • United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children;
  • non-Western culture;
  • misconceptions of rights;
  • sociodemographic context

Children's rights have become a cornerstone of discussions of human rights and human services around the world. However, the meaning of children's rights and their significance for policies and programs vary across nations, cultures, religions, and families. Only recently has research begun to study the conceptualization of children's rights in non-Western and non-Christian-dominated cultures and, thus, in more traditional and authoritarian families. This article reports on a cross-sectional survey among 810 Jewish and 582 Arab children (372 Muslims. 210 Christians), aged 12–14 from eastern and western Jerusalem to examine how children view their rights. Adolescents completed a structured, anonymous. self-report questionnaire. Results suggest that nationality/ethnicity is a major factor in explaining differences in children's views of their rights, with religion playing a minor role. Results also suggest that family values and practices are significantly correlated with the approach to children's rights, as is gender, although its explanatory power is weaker. These findings should guide practitioners and children's rights advocates as they strive to enhance the support for children's rights in the Middle East and develop appropriate policies.