02/12/2013 - Professor John Tobin, keynote speaker: ‘Why Children’s Rights Matter’ event
02/12/2013 - Visit of Professor Michael Freeman
14/11/2013 - Winter's Article on UNCRC one of most downloaded in Child Abuse Review
24/10/2013 - Centre’s Director and Deputy Director Invited Speakers at University of Edinburgh
16/10/2013 - ‘Children's Rights and Education: International Perspectives' edited by Laura Lundy
09/10/2013 - Centre for Children's Rights Members Present at CREAN conference
04/10/2013 - Visit from Swedish Academy of Children's Rights.
16/09/2013 - Right to education in occupied Palestine presented at ANU in Canberra
10/09/2013 - Centre commissioned to write guide to children’s right to participate for EuroChild conference
10/09/2013 - UNICEF research presented at SLS Edinburgh
17/07/2013 - Doctoral research student wins prize for best paper at international conference
05/07/2013 - UCL Presentation: 'Would the UNCR be different if chidren had been involved in drafting it?'
27/06/2013 - Research Grant awared to CCR by Department of Justice
27/06/2013 - Children's Rights Questionnaire under development
26/06/2013 - Centre for Children's Rights Welcomed two new members in June.
28/05/2013 - Education for the 21st Century: Philosophy, Aims and Opportunities of Junior Cycle Reform
24/05/2013 - New CCR and the Child Law Clinic, University College Cork collaboration
21/05/2013 - Visit of international scholar on student voice Professor Alison Cook-Sather
08/04/2013 - Prof. Laura Lundy delivers keynote speech at the SIS Catalyst Conference in Tartu, Estonia
11/04/2013 - Minister welcomes ‘Education Reform in Northern Ireland – A Human Rights Review’
10/04/2013 - Children’s Law Centre's launch of “Opening Doors”
21/03/2013 - Prof Charles Russo joining the Centre as a visiting scholar
15/03/2013 - Centre Presentation at Research Showcase Event
07/03/2013 - Playboard NI seminar to launch process of dissemination for NI children
06/03/2013 - Child-rights based research presented at NCB seminar
31/01/2013 - UNICEF-UK research launched at the Scottish Parliament
25/01/2013 - Children's Rights hosted Frances Bestley and Naomi Danquah from UNICEF
25/01/2013 - Centre for Children's Rights at international research symposium
20/01/2013 - Research Impact: Assessment for Learning - where are we now? with Prof John Gardner
More than one hundred delegates attended the ‘Why Children’s Rights Matter’ event in the Great Hall at Queen’s University Belfast on 26th November. Dr Chelsea Marshall from the Centre for Children’s Rights led the organization of this day-long conference, bringing together academic, statutory, community and voluntary sectors to discuss the role of UNCRC reporting in progressing children’s rights in Northern Ireland. Following contributions from a range of stakeholders involved in previous reporting to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Save the Children and the Children’s Law Centre set out their intention to lead the community and voluntary sector development of the NGO alternative report in the next examination.
In his keynote address, visiting Professor John Tobin, University of Melbourne, offered legal, moral, instrumental, pragmatic and political justifications for children’s human rights. Prof. Tobin encouraged children’s rights advocates to consider the various motivations decision-makers may have for improving the conditions of children’s lives and challenged attendees to employ a wider range of justifications in their advocacy work.
The event included contributions from the Director of OFMDFM’s Equality, Human Rights and Social Change division, the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY), the Children’s Law Centre, a former Youth@CLC member, Save the Children, and international guest, Ilaria Paolaazi, Child Rights Connect. With the UK State Report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child due for submission in January 2014, Junior Ministers Jonathan Bell MLA and Jennifer McCann MLA opened the event by articulating how the NI Executive is progressing children’s rights locally.
Last week, as part of a series of events commemorating the 24th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Centre for Children’s rights welcomed Professor Michael Freeman, a world-leading expert in children’s rights. During his visit, Professor Freeman met with staff and students at the Centre for Children’s Rights, and attended Professor Laura Lundy’s inaugural lecture. Professor Freeman gave a talk entitled ‘Janusz Korczak – the Father of Children’s Rights’ on Thursday at the School of Education. The talk was attended by a wide audience of people from both the University and the children’s sector, including the Children’s Commissioner for Northern Ireland.
Dr Karen Winter’s article ‘The UNCRC and social workers’ relationships with young children’ has been named as one of the Top 10 most downloaded articles in the journal Child Abuse Review for the year 2012.
The article focuses on the quality of social worker relationships with young children which has been a particular concern in recent reports regarding the deaths of children known to social services. A common theme emerging from the many reports is that the children involved are often rendered invisible, voiceless and silent by practice that can sometimes tend to focus on the parents. The article illustrates by way of practical examples how the UNCRC, together with the more detailed advice and guidance contained in the UNCRC General Comments, provides the best framework for developing effective social work relationships with, and safeguarding, young children.
On Tuesday 22nd October, Laura Lundy and Lesley Emerson were invited speakers at the, ‘So what? Measuring Impact in Services for Children and Families’, conference at the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, University of Edinburgh. Laura and Lesley addressed a range of key stakeholders and service providers from across Scotland on the following themes: children’s rights indicators; children’s rights-based outcomes; and how to engage children in the development of outcomes, service design and in measuring impact in their own lives. The invited talk provided an opportunity to share some of the research in the Centre for Children’s’ Rights, our collaborative work with the Centre for Effective Education and also the work of the Improving Children’s Lives initiative at Queen’s.
Laura Lundy, Director of the Centre for Children’s Rights, is one of the editors of a new collection entitled ‘Children's Rights and Education: International Perspectives’ published by Peter Lang in September 2013. The book is co-edited by Beth Blue Swadener, Natasha Blanchet-Cohen and Janette Habashi. It includes a chapter by Lesley Emerson, the Centre’s Deputy Director, and Laura Lundy which examines the education rights of children in conflict affected societies, including the right to be involved in the development of a curriculum which promotes respect for cultural identity, tolerance and human rights. Authors in the collection draw from a variety of disciplines, including critical and cultural studies of childhood, and bring international comparative policy perspectives to share nuanced and contrasting examples of ways in which a rights-based approach to education might empower children and youth.
Representing the Centre for Children’s Rights, Lucy Royal-Dawson, a final year PhD candidate, presented at a conference on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories hosted by the Australian National University in Canberra from 10th to 12th September, 2013. The conference focussed on the impact of the prolonged military occupation on various social, economic and cultural rights, with two sessions narrowing to focus on children and education.
The conference organiser, Dr Vicky Mason, brought together experts and speakers from several different fields, including water, health, housing, economic development, work and education. The key-note address by Professor Richard Falk, the serving UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories and Albert G Milbank Emeritus Professor of International Law at Princeton University, questioned whether ‘occupied territories’ is still valid terminology for the complex, 46 year old military presence by Israel in the West Bank and Gaza. He suggested it was more akin to a ‘creeping annexation’. Professor Falk reiterated his published call for an examination of the suitability of one of the key international legal instruments used to regulate the occupation, the 4th Geneva Convention.
Lucy presented a paper related to her thesis on the right to higher education in the West Bank which examines violations to the right and the grey area in attributing duty bearer obligations under the complex legal landscape. Since 1994, responsibility for the delivery and management of education has been devolved to the Palestinian authorities, but the constant pressure and instances of violence enacted by the occupying forces serve to frustrate clear lines of obligation.
The conference is part of a wider project on ESC rights in the occupied Palestinian territories funded by the British Academy, and, as part of the follow-up, Dr Vicky Mason intends to seek publication of the papers. The conference was accompanied by Barriers to Positive Peace, a photo exhibition by the award-winning photojournalist Richard Wainwright, which includes images from Israel & Palestine, Cyprus and Belfast.
Members from the Centre for Children’s Rights recently attended and presented at the Children’s Rights Erasmus Academic Network (CREAN) conference held at the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain. The conference, which focused on ‘Children’s Rights Research: From Theory to Practice’ provided an ideal opportunity for Centre members to share some of our innovative approaches to research. The following papers were presented: ‘What constitutes a children’s rights-based approach to research?’ (Laura Lundy and Lesley Emerson); ‘Involving children in the development of a measure of children’s participation rights’ (Lesley Emerson and Katrina Lloyd); and ‘Engaging children in doctoral research: applying a children’s rights-based approach to PhD studies’ (Jen Banks and Jamie Yohanis). For further information please contact Lesley Emerson
Professor Staffan Jansan and Dr Jessica Jonsson from the Academy of Children's Rights based in the University of Orebro in Sweden visited the Centre in August and discussed ways of furthering collaboration between the two institutions with a particular focus on the new Masters in Children's Rights which will be running from September 2014.
Professor Laura Lundy and Dr Helen Stalford from the European Children’s Rights Centre at the University of Liverpool have been commissioned by EuroChild to write a guide to children’s participation rights which will be distributed to all those attending its 2013 conference taking place in Milan. Click here to link to EuroChild website.
Laura Lundy was an invited speaker at the Family Law Section of the Society of Legal Scholars annual conference in Edinburgh on September. She presented the findings recent research on the implementation of the UNCRC in law conducted for UNICEF-UK.
Ms. Jen Banks, a doctoral research student in the Centre for Children’s Rights, School of Education, has been awarded ‘Best Paper’ prize for her presentation at the CiCe (Children’s Identity and Citizenship in Europe) Research Student Conference and Doctoral Workshop at the University of Lisbon, Portugal, June 2013. Jen was one of twelve students selected from across Europe to present a paper at the student conference of the network. Her paper ‘Sustainability, Citizenship and Transformation’ was also selected for inclusion in the main conference proceedings.
Prof Laura Lundy and Dr Elizabeth Welty presented an invited paper with the title, ‘Would the UNCRC be different if children had been involved in drafting it?' on the 1st of July at University College London at a conference to honour the work of renowned international children's rights scholar, Prof Michael Freeman. Focus groups of children aged 8 -10 years were asked what they thought the purposes of education should be, and these responses will be used to create a child authored version of Article 29 of the UNCRC. Laura and Elizabeth were presenting on behalf of an international research team including Lacey Peters of City University New York, Natasha Blanchet-Cohen of Concordia University, Dympna Devine of University College Dublin, Beth Blue Swadener of Arizona State University and Kylie Smith of the University of Melbourne.
The Centre for Children’s Rights has been awarded a research grant by the Department of Justice to explore the legal needs of children and young people in Northern Ireland. The project team consists of Lesley Emerson and Katrina Lloyd (Co-Principal Investigators), Professor Laura Lundy and Dr Karen Orr, with consultancy input from Ms Ellen Weaver. The project will involve a series of focus group interviews with children and young people to ascertain: met and unmet legal needs; barriers in accessing legal advice, information and representation; potential solutions to the barriers; potential future mechanisms for meeting identified legal needs. This will be followed by an online survey of young people in Year 12 across a range of schools in Northern Ireland. The survey will be used to ascertain the knowledge and awareness that young people have of their legal rights, where they obtain information about their rights, and the extent to which the statutory curriculum is providing opportunities for this. The project also involves a literature review and interviews with adult stakeholders. Throughout the research project, the Centre for Children’s Rights’ team will work with a group of young co-researchers who will form a Young Person’s Advisory Group for the duration of the project. The young people, from Dundonald High School in Belfast, will assist in the design of the research and in the analysis and interpretation of the findings. They will also assist in producing a young person’s version of the final report.
Members of the Centre for Children’s Rights are working with a group of children from St Ita’s Primary School to develop a Children Rights Questionnaire. Earlier this month, as part of this project, the children spent a day in the School of Education. For an account they put together of their time with us please click here
The Centre for Children’s Rights welcomed two new members of staff in June – Dr Lee Jerome and Dr Chelsea Marshall. Lee joins the Centre from London Metropolitan University where he led Initial Teacher Education for seven years. He has been appointed as a Lecturer in Education, based in the CCR, and will contribute to the new MSc in Children's Rights. Lee is looking forward to developing work on CR pedagogy and citizenship education. Having completed her PhD in the School of Law at QUB in 2011, Chelsea worked for the past year as the Child Rights and Education Policy coordinator at Save the Children, NI. She has been appointed as a researcher to work with Prof.Laura Lundy on the Advancing Children’s Rights in Ireland project, which seeks to capture the learning and good practice of child rights advocacy in Ireland north and south.
‘On May 22nd, Lesley Emerson, Deputy Director of the Centre, was invited to speak at a seminar in Trinity College Dublin on ‘Education for the 21st Century: Philosophy, Aims and Opportunities of Junior Cycle Reform’. Lesley’s input focused on the need for the curriculum to reflect the aims of education as articulated in Article 29 of the Convention on the Rights of Child and had a particular focus on how these aims could be met through values education.’
The project will be conducted in two phases:
Phase I (2013): Information gathering to document and map the impact of children’s rights advocacy on children’s rights in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland
- Desk-based reviews of reports and other research literature on Children’s Rights in Ireland, North and South with a focus on children’s rights advocacy.
- Interviews and focus groups with grantees about their experience of using children’s rights approaches in their advocacy work.
- A series of events at Queen’s and UCC open to those working in children’s rights advocacy to come together to share learning and best practice nationally and internationally and to build capacity.
- The findings and outputs from the research and investigations and training events will be made available in a report. Resources gathered and developed will become available on an on-going basis through the website: www.advancingchildrensrights.com
Professor Alison Cook-Sather is Professor of Education at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and a leading international scholar in the area of student voice in
education. She is visiting the Centre for Children’s Rights on the 12th of June. Professor Cook-Sather is also a visiting fellow at the University of Cambridge where she hosts an annual symposium on student voice. She will be meeting with staff and students at the Centre during her visit.
On Monday 8th April the Minister for Education, John O’Dowd, launched a report by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission ‘Education Reform in Northern Ireland, A Human Rights Review’ at Queen’s University Belfast.
The report was a result of research undertaken by a team from the Centre of Children’s Rights at QUB. The team, led by Professor Laura Lundy, Director of the Centre, also included Lesley Emerson and Katrina Lloyd from the School of Education and Bronagh Byrne from the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work. The report provides a comprehensive review of the human rights considerations relevant to all areas of policy and practice in the formal education sector and attends to issues relating to: equality of access to schooling; access to effective education; the aims of education; human rights education; tolerance and respect for diversity; protection of individual rights in schools; human rights-based approaches in education policy. As Professor Laura Lundy stated: ‘Northern Ireland's education system is undergoing significant changes. It is important that these reforms meet international human rights standards and ensure that every child has access to an effective education in an environment which respects their rights.’
Speaking of the report, Minister O’Dowd said: ‘It is vitally important that from a young age we teach children about the importance of human rights. I therefore welcome the Commission’s report.’
On Tuesday 19th of March, Prof. Laura Lundy contributed to a panel discussion at the Children’s Law Centre's launch of “Opening Doors”, a drama production created from children’s perspectives on mental health provision at the MAC theatre in Belfast. The drama production was created to disseminate findings from research comducted by young people on their experience and perceptions of counselling services in their schools. In the second evening of the production at the MAC, the Minister for Education, John O Dowd attended and answered questions from the children and young people. For more information, please visit www.childrenslawcentre.org/
Prof Charles Russo is the Panzer Chair in Education & Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Dayton Ohio and will be visiting the School of Education and the Centre for Children’s Rights this spring. Whilst in Belfast, Prof. Russo will be leading two workshops. One workshop will focus on how to get academic work published and how to write for publication. The second workshop will explore the relationship between religion, discipline and free speech in the context of schools within the United States. Offering a foundation on the legal and education systems within the United Sates, various cases will be used to illustrate this interesting relationship and the impact they have on students’ rights. See 'Events' on the Centre for Children's Rights Web-site for more information!
On Wednesday 6th March, Lesley Emerson, Deputy Director of the Centre for Children’s Rights, gave a presentation at the Children and Young People as Researchers (CYPAR) network seminar: ‘Engaging Marginalised Groups in Peer Research’ hosted at the National Children’s Bureau, NI. Drawing on a number examples of research projects within the Centre, Lesley’s presentation focused on children and young people’s right to be engaged actively in the research process, the importance of peer research, and on a child rights-based approach to research in general.
“Article 31” is the article of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that assures to every child and young person the right to play, to rest and recreation, and to participate in cultural life and the arts. Although it is a generally accepted principle that there can be no hierarchy of human rights and all are of equal importance, Article 31 has gained an unfortunate reputation as one of the most comprehensively ignored, infringed and misunderstood of all children’s rights.
Fortunately for Northern Ireland’s children, this situation may be about to change. On 1st February 2013 a global campaign led by the International Play Association: Promoting the child’s right to play (IPA) achieved a goal it had worked towards for five years, when the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in session in Geneva formally adopted a General Comment on Article 31. General Comments are the mechanism the UN Committee uses to provide authoritative guidance and instructions, not to individual governments (which it does through its review of periodic reports) but to all the governments of the world. The issuing of a General Comment is thus a sign that the world’s highest authority on children’s rights considers the violation of the right to play to be one of the most significant concerns to be addressed at a global level, and that this message must go directly to all the world’s governments.
One of the critical sources of evidence that convinced the UN Committee to prioritise the long-neglected Article 31 was the “Report of the IPA Global Consultation on Children’s Right to Play”. This document, which identifies hundreds of significant violations of the right to play and categorises them under fourteen major headings, was compiled and edited by QUB Centre for Children’s Rights researcher Harry Shier, who had earlier done pioneering work supporting child coffee workers in Nicaragua in a campaign to defend their right to play.
The Centre for Children’s Rights, along with the Northern Ireland Children’s Commissioner, OFMDFM and the International Play Association, will be supporting a seminar organised by Playboard Northern Ireland in Belfast on 17th April, thus launching a process to determine how the global message of the UN General Comment can be made a reality for Northern Irish Children.
More information from Harry Shier: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Flyer for event on 17th April click here.
To RSVP for event email@example.com or phone 02890 803380
The 2013 International PhD Symposium on Children's Rights was hosted by the European Children's Rights Unit at the University of Liverpool on 10-11 January. PhD researchers from nine universities in seven countries presented work in progress on aspects of children's rights in an interdiscipinary context spanning legal, educational, sociological and historical perspectives, while leading international academics provided feedback and provoked debate. The QUB Centre for Children's Rights was represented by Lucy Royal-Dawson, exploring the power vacuum that threatens higher education in occupied Palestine, Harry Shier, looking at conceptual frameworks for education rights, and the Centre's Director, Professor Laura Lundy, as discussant.
On January 22nd, the Centre for Children’s Rights recent research on the legal implementation of the UNCRC in twelve countries was launched in the Scottish Parliament in an event chaired by Neil Bibby MSP, shadow Minister for Children and Young People. Professor Laura Lundy outlined the key findings of the report and in response, Aileen Campbell MSP, Minister for Children and Young People welcomed the research and said that it would inform their next steps in relation to the Children and Young People Bill and ongoing efforts to implement the UNCRC. Anita Tiessen, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF-UK addressed the implications for the UK government and Professor Kay Tisdall of the University of Edinburgh reflected on the implications of the research for Scotland.
Click here for the report.
This January 2013 the Centre for Children's Rights hosted Frances Bestley and Naomi Danquah from Unicef UK for a two-day working meeting at Queen's University to develop a tool for measuring Children's Rights. Members from the Centre for Children's Rights and the Centre for Effective Education brought a broad range of expertise together to consider what a Child's Right measure looks like and how it can be applied to various Unicef Projects, including the Rights Respecting Schools programme and the Child's Rights Partners programme.
At this Research Impact Event Professor John Gardner from the University of Stirling will introduce discussion on the outcomes of the ESRC funded Consulting Pupils on the Assessment of their Learning (CPAL2) project.
Venue: Riddel Hall, Queen’s University Belfast
Date: Friday 1 February 2013
Time: 4pm - 6.15pm
Please RSVP: Jan Speer