15/04/2014 - Centre for Children’s Rights responds to Delivering Social Change for Children and Young People consultation
15/04/2014 - Coffee morning on the challenges of child-led research with visiting Australian researcher Samia Michail
10/03/2014 - Centre's Director presents at international medical ethics symposium
07/03/2014 - Children and young people’s participation in advocacy conference
07/03/2014 - Child Rights Education International Survey
05/12/2013 - Legal Options for Implementing Children’s Rights in Northern Ireland
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
The Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister initiated a consultation process in January 2014, seeking views on the draft Delivering Social Change for Children and Young People Strategy. The strategy seeks to integrate the Northern Ireland Executive’s commitments under the Child Poverty Strategy, the Ten Year Strategy for Children and Young People and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Centre for Children’s Rights response highlighted key concerns about the strategy from a rights-based perspective, including the need for: a comprehensive strategy to cover children and young people’s lives holistically, which should be developed with participation from all relevant stakeholders; a coordinated approach by all government departments with duties towards children and young people; monitoring and reporting on the basis of children’s rights-based indicators. The Centre’s response is available here. The Centre also contributed to the response submitted by Queen’s University Belfast.
On 3rd April 2014 the Centre for Children’s Rights hosted a coffee-morning with Samia Michail, senior researcher with Australian NGO UnitingCare. UnitingCare has been the leading organisation developing the Child-Led Research approach in the Australian context, with a special focus on involving the most marginalised and disadvantaged children; and is currently launching a major Children’s Citizenship project building on the learning from this experience, questioning assumptions about what it means to be a citizen. Participants in the Queen’s event were an equal mix of university research staff and students and practitioners involved in child-led research in the NGO sector. As well as hearing from Samia about her work in Australia, participants shared aspects of their own work, leading to an insightful discussion focusing on some of the challenges and complexities in working with children as researchers. As a general conclusion, this event reinforced our belief in the value of researchers inside and outside the academy meeting, sharing and learning together.
On March 6th, Professor Laura Lundy, Director of the Centre for Children’s Rights, was an invited speaker at the 6th Annual A. David Kline Symposium on Public Philosophy: Exploring the Synergy Between Pediatric Bioethics and Child Rights. The purpose of the international symposium, held at the Florida Blue Centre of Ethics in conjunction with the University of Florida College of Medicine, Jacksonville, USA, was to explore the relevance and potential rationale to support and advance the integration of the theory and practice of child rights and medical ethics. Laura presented on the influence of the principles and norms of human rights on public policy in Europe.
Delegates from across Ireland and Northern Ireland attended the ‘Children and Young People’s Participation in Advocacy’ conference, hosted by the Centre for Children’s Rights on 27th-28th January. Gerison Lansdown, international children’s rights expert, delivered the keynote address in the MAC Theatre, followed by a video presentation entitled ‘Participation: What Really Matters to Children and Young People’. Voluntary sector organisations from across the island brought staff, children and young people to present diverse and rich examples of children and young people’s participation in advocacy to workshops held at Riddel Hall the following day. Nearly half of the ninety delegates were children and young people (aged 10-23), who participated in all aspects of the conference. Thematic workshops were participant-led and created opportunities for delegates to reflect on themes emerging from the initial Advancing Children’s Rights research. The conference was formatted to be delegate-led and open to emerging themes. This was the first in a series of five conferences to be hosted by the Advancing Children’s Rights in Ireland, North and South, project led by Prof. Laura Lundy of the Centre for Children’s Rights at Queen’s University Belfast and Prof. Ursula Kilkelly from the Child Law Clinic at University College Cork. This research project is funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies.
The Centre for Children’s Rights has been awarded the contract to investigate the extent to which Child Rights Education (CRE) is being implemented in countries with a UNICEF National Committee presence.
The research project has three aims:
- To explore and analyse the extent to which CRE in formal education settings is being implemented in countries with a UNICEF National Committee presence.
- To identify the factors and processes that support or inhibit progress in CRE implementation in formal education settings, good practice, lessons learned and recurrent ‘bottlenecks’, across a range of country contexts.
- To provide baseline data and benchmarks which National Committees and PFP can use to advocate for, and measure progress in, CRE implementation in formal education settings.
The project will establish a baseline for each country in relation to the implementation of CRE and identify a series of countries for more in-depth case studies, to explore specific strengths and weaknesses. The final report will indicate potential CRE key performance indicators that could be used to track progress in these countries and inform further research within and across education systems.
For further information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Bronagh Byrne and Prof Laura Lundy were invited speakers at the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People’s (NICCY) Annual Conference. They presented their findings from a collaborative ESRC Knowledge Exchange project with NICCY. The project sought to enhance the implementation of children’s rights in Northern Ireland, and was intended to inform the development of children’s rights legislation here through stakeholder engagement and critical analysis of the existing evidence base and literature around the implementation of the CRC in domestic law. The project culminated in a paper which sets out the legal options for implementing children’s rights in Northern Ireland.
For more information see Children’s Rights in Northern Ireland: Past, Present and Future
A copy of the ‘options’ paper by Bronagh and Laura can be downloaded here:
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 contributed to 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. Facilitated by the Improving Children’s Lives initiative at Queen’s, the event was co-organised by the Centre for Children’s Rights with: Save the Children; Children in Northern Ireland; the Children’s Law Centre; Health and Social Care Board; Public Health Agency; and the Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership.
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.
Videos of all of the presentations will be made available shortly on the Improving Children’s Lives website.
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.