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Children's Rights S/Heroes Seminar Series 2021-22

Dr Nigel Cantwell, University of Geneva

two boys with a skateboard standing beside a tree
November 23, 2021
Streamed live at 20 College Green, Room 0G/004
10:00 - 11:30

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child did not arise out of a political vacuum, but was the culmination of years of activism and lobbying by those who might be considered ‘Children’s Rights S/Heroes’. At a time when children’s rights were considered politically sensitive, and as an addendum to human rights, instead of central to the human rights paradigm, these Children’s Rights S/Heroes campaigned tirelessly for what we now call the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). This seminar series engages in debate with different Children’s Rights S/Heroes over the last four decades to consider what challenges they faced in their advocacy, how these challenges have been overcome, and how different challenges may have arisen. The first Children’s Rights Hero in our series will be Dr Nigel Cantwell: a long-standing children’s rights advocate and one of the children’s rights campaigners involved in drafting the UNCRC. Professor Laura Lundy, Centre for Children’s Rights, will interview Dr Cantwell on his advocacy to date. Dr Nigel Cantwell is a Geneva-based international consultant on child protection policies who has been working in the field of the human rights of children for over 40 years. Dr Cantwell founded the NGO Defence for Children International in 1979, after noting a disregard for children’s rights issues in the charity sector, and coordinated the inputs from the NGO for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child throughout the drafting process. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK in June 2017. In 1994 Dr Cantwell joined UNICEF, initially as a consultant on children’s rights and protection issues and then as head of the 'Implementation of International Standards' unit at UNICEF's Innocenti Research Centre in Florence until 2003. Dr Cantwell lectures on two masters courses at the University of Geneva where he is now based, and where his main focus is on safeguarding children’s rights in intercountry adoption and alternative care. To register for this event, please email

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Event Organiser Details
Name Amy Hanna
two boys with a skateboard standing beside a tree