Guidance on the Rights of Child Human Rights Defenders
Guidance on the Rights of Child Human Rights Defenders, written by School of SSESW academic Laura Lundy, was launched recently by Child Rights Connect. The launch comes after a year-long consultative collaboration between Child Rights Connect, Queen’s University, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, many international child and human rights organisations and experts and child human rights defenders (CHRDs).
The 2018 Day of General Discussion of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on ‘Protecting and empowering children as human rights defenders’, for which Laura acted as an expert advisor, shed light on the generalised lack of understanding of the rights of CHRDs and identified major protection gaps at all levels. Laura’s Implementation Guide on the Rights of Child Human Rights Defenders clarifies: the definition of ‘child human rights defender’; what is distinctive about CHRDs and the contexts in which they act; the rights that CHRDs are entitled to and how these must be respected, protected and fulfilled at all levels through the coordinated implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Declaration on human rights defenders.
The Implementation Guide provides recommendations for States, parents/guardians, schools and other public service providers, national and international human rights organisations, civil society organisations and Child Human Rights Defenders themselves.
Speaking at the launch, Laura Lundy (Director of our Centre for Children’s Rights) said:
"We need to move from a discourse that is based on permission – we ‘allow’ children to act as human rights defenders – to a recognition of a child rights-based focus – that children are entitled to act as human rights defenders. We must stop asking questions such as: ‘When can they?’ ‘At what age should we let them join an association, attend a protest and access social media’? The question should be: 'How can they? How can states, civil societies and other actors support children and enable children to exercise the full range of civil and political rights?' We need to reframe our thinking… and this is what I hope the Guide does."
The Implementation Guide and a quick introduction document are available at https://bit.ly/38xzzfs