Partners Relief and Development
"Displaced Childhoods" is the first comprehensive report of its kind to document the experiences of internally displaced children against the backdrop of Burma's obligations under domestic and international law. April 2010 (pdf).
The protection of children's rights was first brought up on the international agenda in the first half of the twentieth century due to child labor and its hazardous working conditions, trafficking and sexual exploitation (UNICEF 2005).
One of the first key instruments in the development of children’s rights legislation was the proclamation of the 1924 declaration of the Rights of the Child by the League of Nations. However, children’s rights as we know them today emerged from the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1989 which came to replace the former declaration.
The CRC is one of the most important human rights instruments proclaiming children’s rights, as it has been ratified more quickly and by more governments (all except Somalia and the US) than any other convention until this day. It presents a holistic approach since it incorporates civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights as well as aspects of humanitarian law. The Convention defines a child as a human being under 18. Some of the most important children's rights mentioned on the CRC that the State has the obligation to protect are:
Freedom of expression
Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
Special protection to refugee children
Special care, education and training to disabled children
Right to health
Right to an adequate standard of living
Right to education
Respect of cultural identities of children of minorities or indigenous populations
The Committee on the Rights of the Child, which is a body of experts, contains a significant function, as they monitor the implementation of the CRC by states parties. They also examine the reports that the states are committed to submit on a regular basis on progress made in fulfilling their commitment. All countries that have ratified the CRC, have an obligation to apply and enforce the rights expressed in the convention into the domestics laws and provide mechanism and measurements to realize those rights in practice.
Even if international agreements such as the CRC are crucial for the progress of children’s rights, national laws play a vital role in securing its implementation. According to a study made by UNICEF (Unicef 2005) , it is within a domestic context where “accountability is to be sought primarily and principally”. On the other hand, other aspects including social, historical and cultural factors are of great significance for the realization of rights in general and children’s rights in particular. Factors such as poverty, conflicts, social instability, and discrimination contribute to today’s increasing violations and breaches against children’s rights in both industrialized and developing countries. Different groups of children are also more vulnerable to discrimination on account of their sex, race, religion, national, ethical or social origin and disabilities to name a few.
In order to take action for the child’s best interest requires not only the engagement from governments, but from every part of society and its institutions at all level.
Established in 2005 by the UN Security Council, the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism is a groundbreaking step in the protection of children. Four years on, Save the Children UK has conducted a global study to see what impact this mechanism has had on children’s lives. September 2008 (pdf).
The ACERWC draws its mandate from articles 32-46 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, which was adopted by the Heads of State and Government of the OAU on 11 July 1990 and came into force on 29 November 1999. The Charter provides for the Establishment of an African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child consisting of 11 members.
On 1 March 2008 the Ibero-American Convention on Young People’s Rights entered into force. The Convention, which is the only international treaty of its kind, sets out specific rights for young people between 15-24 years old and recognises them as strategic actors in development. The Convention, which contains 44 articles, focuses on sexual and reproductive rights, political participation, and the right to be a conscientious objector, among others. March 2008 (Spanish version).
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights was established by the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. There is no single instrument that deals specifically with children’s rights in the Inter-American System. However, other instruments can be invoked to report violations of children’s rights and to seek reparations for these.
Since its adoption in 1989 after more than 60 years of advocacy, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has been ratified more quickly and by more governments (all except Somalia and the US) than any other human rights instrument. It is also the only international human rights treaty that expressly gives NGOs a role in monitoring its implementation. See the convention and the list of countries that have ratified it.
The African Union has several mechanisms for monitoring child rights: The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, and the African Court on Human and People’s Rights. See a guide on how the human and child rights mechanisms in the AU works including links and contacts.
From 8 to 10 May 2002, the nations of the world committed themselves to a series of goals to improve the situation of children and young people. The Special Session of the UN General Assembly on Children culminated in the official adoption, by some 180 nations, of its outcome document, 'A World Fit for Children'. 2002.
Children have the right, without discrimination, to special care and protection from their family, society and the state. While practices such as child labour have a long history in Africa, and particular cultural or traditional practices have a negative impact on the health and development of thousands of children, it is nonetheless true that African children have traditionally received care and protection from their parents and care-givers. November 2007.
The ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) was created in 1992 with the overall goal of the progressive elimination of child labour, which was to be achieved through strengthening the capacity of countries to deal with the problem and promoting a worldwide movement to combat child labour.
Watching 12-year-old Rangamma pound rocks with a 2-kg hammer in a stone quarry, the statistics on child labour leap to life, says Mari Marcel Thekaekara. Anti-Slavery International estimates that roughly 1 million children do extremely dangerous work in India’s stone quarries. January 2009.
This guide examines of modern responses to child labour as embodied in policy and legislation. It covers where and how the lines have been drawn between the types and arrangements of work that have no harmful effect on children and those that do; how countries have expressed their antipathy to child labour and created institutions to combat it; how governments have responded to children not getting a proper education; and how governments have responded to adults' exploitation of child labour. 2007 (pdf).
Abolishing child labour is a long-term objective, but in the short-term there's a need to be careful about taking actions that might make life worse for child labourers and their families. Without educational opportunities and transitional support, dismissed child labourers may end up working in more dangerous jobs or in unregulated underground garment factories.
Some types of work make useful, positive contributions to a child's development. Work can help children learn about responsibility and develop particular skills that will benefit them and the rest of society. Often, work is a vital source of income that helps to sustain children and their families. However, across the world, millions of children do extremely hazardous work in harmful conditions, putting their health, education, personal and social development, and even their lives at risk.
The Global March Against Child Labour is a movement to mobilise worldwide efforts to protect and promote the rights of all children, especially the right to receive a free, meaningful education and to be free from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be harmful to the child's physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.
The first organised movement of working boys, girls and adolescents started in Lima in 1976. In almost 30 years, the experience in Peru spread throughout other countries in Central and Southern America, Africa and Asia, involving tens of thousands of young workers in countries of the Southern hemisphere. The NATs movement unites children and adolescents who work out of economic needs, in order to help their families, to pay for school fees and also for cultural reasons.
Child labour is widespread in home based manufacturing activities in the informal sector in most developing countries. This report examines the incidence in such households, the child’s schooling, reasons why children are working, their work conditions, their health, and gender issues. It also attempts to articulate the voices of children working (pdf-file).
Much of the domestic work of children interferes with their education and involves economic exploitation and hazardous work. This report from El Salvador reveals the abuse of child domestic workers which violates national and international law. It’s based on interviews with affected children as well as parents, activists, teachers and government officials (pdf-file).
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have discovered that there are currently at least 2,225 people incarcerated in the United States who have been sentenced to spend the rest of their lives in prison for crimes they committed as children. October 2005.
The International Juvenile Justice Observatory is conceived as an inter-disciplinary system of information, communication, debates, analysis and proposals concerning different areas which affect the development of juvenile justice in the world. The main objective is the development of minors' and young people's situation so they can acquire the skills they need to become free citizens outside the circuits of exclusion and reclusion. Its investigation is carried out from the global perspective in order to draw comprehensive conclusions.
This publication is intended primarily for a field-based practitioner working to improve the system for the administration of juvenile justice in any country. The purpose of the publication is to provide practitioners with concrete guidance on developing effective programmes in the field of juvenile justice. (PDF document).
This report is based on approximately 200 cases conducted by DCI Palestine lawyers in the Israeli Military Courts during January to June 2007, and 30 statements taken from Palestinian children detained in Israeli prisons and interrogation and detention centres, during the same period.
This concept paper aims to de-mystify the relationship between child rights and quality education, showing how Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) articles link to education and thus revealing rights-based and holistic dimensions of quality education, based on the right to education, in education and through education. August 2008 (pdf).
This report by Save the Children shows that even though all states have a legally binding obligation to ensure that all children receive free primary education, they are often not able to take on this responsibility: education for children in conflict affected fragile states is under-funded. 2007. (PDF document).
This 60-page report is based on interviews with hundreds of children in all regions of the world. Human Rights Watch investigations in more than 20 countries found that school fees and related education costs, the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, discrimination, violence and other obstacles keep an estimated 100 million children out of school, the majority of whom are girls.
Country governments and international agencies still need to focus much more on the inclusive participation of disabled children, starting by recognising inclusive education as a right. (PDF). October 2007.
As part of a campaign to promote displaced children and youth’s uninterrupted access to quality and safe education, the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children has produced this resource. 2006. (PDF document).
Poor quality of education, the high cost of schooling and persisting high levels of adult illiteracy are undermining the chances of achieving education for all by 2015 says the new global monitoring report on education for all launched by UNESCO. December 2007.
In January 2006 Irewoc started a child-based research project on deprived children and education in which the focus is on the realities of the children and their parents. This study aims to deepen the understanding as to why many children do not go to school by collecting insights from the source. (PDF document).
This publication takes on the challenges set forth by the Millennium Declaration and the human rights approach embedded in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. by examining the right of children and adolescents to education.
2006. (PDF document) .
One in five countries has used girls as child soldiers, and 100,000 are currently fighting in conflicts around the world. And in many conflicts girls can find themselves forced from their homes, caring for younger brothers or sisters or at risk from rape, beatings and abduction. These shocking revelations are included in Plan UK’s annual Because I Am Girl report launched on Thursday May 15, which focuses this year on girls in war and other forms of conflict. May 2008.
More than 51 million girls younger than 18 are already married. The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) presents this exhibit on child marriage with reports documenting the consequences in girls' lives, rights and health of child marriage.
The report presents global statistics highlighting the scale of the problem. For example: 62,000,000 primary school-aged girls are not in education, more young girls aged 15 to 19 years die from unsafe abortions and birth complications than from any other cause. Published: 2007.
Since 2000, Human Rights Watch has documented violence against girls in more than 15 countries in all regions of the world, with a focus on violence in education, child labor, and juvenile justice systems.
This resource page addresses questions surrounding the girl child. It looks at the ever-present phenomenons of female infanticide/selective abortion, female genital cutting and honor killings. It also explores changes occurring in these areas of gender- based discrimination.
Discrimination is a major reason why children's rights remain unfulfilled. The Child Rights Information Network (CRIN) has launched a new toolkit with information and advocacy ideas to promote children's right to non-discrimination. October 2009.
This is the first-ever global index comparing countries' performance on child well-being. It uses child-specific indicators in health, education and nutrition to rank countries in every region of the world. It is a vital tool for policy-making and development analysis worldwide.
To raise awareness of children's rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People has commissioned two illustrated versions of the articles of the UNCRC. One version is for younger children and another for older children and young people. December 2008.
There is no formal global network of children’s ombudspersons. However, the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children – ENOC – is anxious to share information and strategies with similar institutions worldwide and with other regional networks. Together with CRIN (The Child Rights Information Network) it is constructing a virtual network of children's Ombudspersons.
The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers works to prevent the recruitment and use of children as soldiers, to secure their demobilisation and to ensure their rehabilitation and reintegration into society.
The Latin American and Caribbean network defending the rights of children is a group of 3,000 national and international non-governmental organizations from 24 countries, each of which were involved in the preparatory process for the Special Session on Children at the United Nations. Spanish website.
CRIN is a global network that disseminates information about the Convention on the Rights of the Child and child rights amongst non-governmental organisations (NGOs), United Nations agencies, inter-governmental organisation (IGOs), educational institutions, and other child rights experts.
The World Organization against Torture programme aims to protect children from torture and other forms of violence through prevention, denunciation, reparation and international appeal, and to promote and defend children’s rights.
As a global network, the Watchlist builds partnerships among local, national and international non-governmental organizations disseminating information on violations against children in conflicts in order to influence key decision-makers.
Child Workers in Asia Foundation (CWA) was established in 1985 as a support group for child workers in Asia, and the NGOs working with them. It facilitates sharing of expertise and experiences between NGOs and strengthens their collaboration to jointly respond to the exploitation of working children in the region.
ANPPCAN is a Pan - African child rights organization concerned with the status of children in general and in particular those in need of protection. ANPPCAN has a current network of 21 national Chapters in Africa, with each Chapter addressing specific child rights violations in the countries of residence.
Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict's new policy paper, "UN Security Council Resolution 1612 and Beyond: Strengthening Protection for Children in Armed Conflict", details concrete actions that the United Nations Security Council should take to ensure that children caught in armed conflict are protected from violence and related threats to their security and well-being. 25 May 2009 (pdf).
This section provides an overview of the issues relating to children in war, offering useful links to other relevant content including international humanitarian law, restoring family links, mine awareness and communication programmes for young people.
This report, a companion to the Machel Study 10-Year Strategic Review, compiles the views and recommendations of some 1,700 children and young people in 92 countries, including many who have experienced conflict. Their thoughts and ideas were collected as a key contribution to the Strategic Review through a series of focus group discussions and an online questionnaire. “Will you listen?” presents a wide range of voices and concerns documented from these discussions. 2007.
In this landmark study, Graça Machel, proposed the elements of a comprehensive agenda for action by UN Member States and the international community to improve the protection and care of children in conflict situations, and to prevent these conflicts from occurring. 1996.
While the overall level of violence decreased in 2005, Israeli military activities continued to neglect, and in some cases deliberately abuse, the fundamental rights of Palestinian children, breaching rights guaranteed under international human rights law. (PDF document).
The implementation of the UN-led monitoring and reporting mechanism (MRM) is an important step in improving the protection of children affected by armed conflict, and has met with many successes since its inception. However, some surmountable challenges remain. In an effort to address these challenges, this study presents key findings on the participation of NGOs in the MRM, maintaining security and respecting rights, leveraging networks and resources and, triggering timely responses to violations. January 2008. (PDF document).
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has in a new report called on the Security Council to impose sanctions on armies and groups that make use of child soldiers in at least a dozen countries. January 2008. (pdf version).
This publication presents a brief overview of the various forms of sexual and abuse in and around schools, and recommends priority actions for children, families, aid agencies, and governments to help rid Africa of a major impediment to children’s rights to protection, education and non-discrimination as set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. December 2008 (pdf).
The ECPAT acronym stands for ' End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes'. ECPAT is a network of organisations and individuals working together to eliminate the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
The global response to HIV and AIDS must be significantly reoriented to address the unmet needs of millions of children and their families in the worst affected countries, according to a new report by the independent Joint Learning Initiative on Children and HIV/AIDS (JLICA). The report summarises two years of research and analysis of AIDS- related policies, programmes and funding and their effectiveness in addressing the needs of children. February 2009 (pdf).
Yet, more than 17 million women and young women are infected with HIV every year. And in some parts of the world, young women are three times more likely to be HIV positive than young men. Such figures are enough to explain why HIV prevention for girls and young women matters. They also explain why advocacy is needed. August 2008 (pdf).
New data reveals that HIV/AIDS epidemic in India is smaller than previous estimates. But with the overall number of HIV cases still high – 2.47 million Indians have the virus- it is cause of concern. Chief among them is concern over the growing impact of the disease among children particularly girls. July 2008.
The State of the World’s Children 2008 provides a wide-ranging assessment of the current state of child survival and primary health care for mothers, newborns and children. It examines lessons learned in child health during the past few decades and outlines the most important emerging precepts and strategies for reducing deaths among children under age five and for providing a continuum of care for mothers, newborns and children. February 2008.
Medecins sans frontiers has shown that children with HIV in its care respond well to treatments adapted to their needs. However the development of child-adapted anti-retroviral medicines (ARVs) and diagnostics has been scandalously slow and access to medicines is still critical in most developing countries.
This compilation focuses on the right of children and adolescents to live in a healthy environment with emphasis on adequate access to drinking water and sanitation, including diagnosis as well as policy perspective. 2007. (PDF document).
This 55-page report is based on firsthand testimony from dozens of children in three countries hard-hit by HIV/AIDS: South Africa, Kenya, and Uganda. It documents how governments fail children affected by AIDS when they leave school or attempt to return. Churches and community-based organizations provide critical support to these children, but these groups frequently operate with little government support or recognition. 2005.
Much work still needs to be done to improve the health of South African children says this report by Maylene Shung King, from the children's Institute of the University of Cape Town.
2005. (PDF document).
"Displaced Childhoods" is the first comprehensive report of its kind to document the experiences of internally displaced children against the backdrop of Burma's obligations under domestic and international law. April 2010 (pdf).
The United Nations Secretary-General's Study on Violence against Children has been a global effort to paint a detailed picture of the nature, extent and causes of violence against children, and to propose clear recommendations for action to prevent and respond to it. This is the first time that an attempt has been made to document the reality of violence against children around the world, and to map out what is being done to stop it. November 2006.
More and more States worldwide are reforming their laws to prohibit all corporal punishment of children, including in their homes. A new report by the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children analyses the progress made towards prohibiting all corporal punishment and realising children’s right to equal protection from assault. The Global Report 2007 – Ending Legalised Violence against Children – is published as a follow up to the UN Secretary General’s Study on Violence against Children. It contains a table of legality of corporal punishment in the home, schools, penal systems and alternative care in every state in the world. October 2007 (pdf version).
A thematic guide for non-governmental organizations to include comprehensive information on the incidence of violence in their reports to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. February 2008 (pdf version).
The global scandal of violence against children is a horror story too often untold. With malice and clear intent, violence is used against the members of society least able to protect themselves—children in school, in orphanages, on the street, in refugee camps and war zones, in detention, and in fields and factories. 2001.
This website offers a shared platform for civil society to exert an influence on the UN Study on Violence Against Children and its follow-up. It provides information on the many aspects of the study, including information about regional activities and children's participation in the study.
Common justifications for using corporal punishment are found across different cultures and contexts. Ending all corporal punishment of children can be achieved through education, legal reform, advocacy and children's participation. 2003. (PDF document).
Removal of legal defences available to parents/carers who use corporal punishment is an essential aspect of full prohibition of corporal punishment. This section includes examples of legislation and draft legislation which clearly state that legal defences for using "reasonable punishment", force "by way of correction", etc are no longer available to parents and guardians.
This report shows that an estimated 195 million children under age 5 in developing countries suffer from stunting, a consequence of chronic nutritional deprivation that begins in the period before birth if the mother is undernourished. Of these, more than 90 per cent are in Asia and Africa. October 2009 (pdf).
A country that has the resources to send an unmanned spacecraft to the moon is however unable to save its children from starvation. Ranking India 66th among 88 countries, the Global Hunger Index 2008 shows that despite close to 9 per cent economic growth for the past five years, the hunger situation here is the second worst in Asia and worse than in 25 Sub-Saharan nations. February 2009 (pdf).
This report focuses on discrimination-based violence against undocumented children in the areas of health care, housing, and education in nine EU member states: Belgium, France, Hungary, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK. January 2009. (PDF).
This report is a Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) project in collaboration with its Dutch partner Cordaid. Sixteen child rights organisations and human rights agencies from around the world also collaborated in the research, providing information on the housing rights violations suffered by children and the consequences. (PDF document). 2006.
The sixth issue of Progress for Children reports on the status of child-specific targets set by world leaders at the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children 2002. This special edition examines more than 35 key indicators in the four broad areas identified at the Special Session as requisite to building ‘A World Fit for Children’. It also analyses the Millennium Development Goals and provides information on the state of child protection.