NGOs as Duty Bearers of Child Rights: An Ethnography of ChildLine India

Project: Dissertation

Project Details


The PhD project is concerned with the role of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as de facto "duty bearers" of human rights. The research will focus on children’s protection rights in the political context of India, where it is common practice for NGOs to be sub-contracted by the state for various developmental purposes. But what happens when such sub-contracted services become "rights-based"? According to India’s international human rights obligations, children have a right to protection from e.g. violence and sexual and economic exploitation, and the legal duty bearer is the state. But a crucial mechanism for reporting violations of these rights – ChildLine, a national helpline for children – is dependent on small, local NGOs across the country for implementation and awareness raising. Through an ethnographic study of different levels of the ChildLine, this project will explore how children’s rights are affected in practice when significant aspects of children’s protection rights are left dependent on local NGOs; and discuss how the notions of “human rights” and "duty bearers" are vernacularised in a context where the state retreats as the de facto duty bearer.
Effective start/end date2018/09/032022/08/31

Free keywords

  • Human rights
  • Child rights
  • India
  • NGO
  • Duty bearers