Child rights: young children

The Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989 was the first instrument to incorporate the complete range of international human rights, including civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights as well as aspects of humanitarian law. A general comment paper submitted to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) maintains that early childhood is a critical period for the realisation of rights. Research highlights that the particular risks to young children are from malnutrition, disease, poverty, neglect, social exclusion and a range of other adversities. Proper prevention and intervention strategies during early childhood have the potential to impact positively on young children's current wellbeing and future development. Children’s participation is also an important element in enhancing children’s self esteem and confidence. All people, however young, are entitled to have their views respected and valued.

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Selected resources

Books, reports, etc

A guide to General Comment 7 : implementing child rights in early childhood

UNITED NATIONS COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD,
UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN'S FUND,
BERNARD VAN LEER FOUNDATION
Eds
2006

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The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child applies to all children under 18 - but its implementation poses particular practical challenges when it comes to young children. This book is a guide to implementing child rights in early childhood. It is based around the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child's General Comment no 7. It contains extracts from the papers submitted to the committee at the time of the Day of General Discussion which preceded the General Comment, and other relevant material

Can you hear me? The right of young children to participate in decisions affecting them

LANSDOWN, Gerison
May 2005

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This paper makes the case for children's participation and discusses how it can be put into practice and measured. Participation enhances children's self-esteem and confidence, promotes their overall capacities, produces better outcomes, strengthens understanding of and commitment to democratic processes and protects children more effectively. It is also a matter of social justice and human rights -- all people, however young, are entitled to have their views respected and valued

Child rights : a guide to strategic litigation

GEARY, Patrick ( Thacher, Simpson & Bartlett)
May 2008

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This guide has been produced to help those working for children's rights to understand what strategic litigation is and consider this as an option for effecting change for children by using the law. It is aimed at legal and non-legal NGO staff and can be adapted to local settings and procedures

Children to the fore! : an easy-to-use training handbook that promotes child rights and cultural issues in the face of HIV in southern Africa

STALLY, Aulora,
AZEVEDO-BASCHDORF, Delfina
March 2009

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This handbook aims to get children's rights known, recognised and respected in communities, particularly where they might be compromised by traditional and cultural practices, and where their realisation is threatened by the HIV and AIDS epidemic. It provides methods for upholding positive cultural practices,as well as opportunities to revisit harmful cultural ways. It aims to develop positive approaches to sensitive issues within the community,such as child abuse and discrimination against young girls

Future forsaken : abuses against children affected by HIV/AIDS in India

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH (HRW)
2004

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This report documents abuses against India’s HIV/AIDS-affected children, including doctors refusing to treat or even touch HIV-positive children, schools expelling or segregating children because they or their parents are HIV-positive, and orphanages and other residential institutions rejecting HIV-positive children or denying that they house them. Children from families affected by AIDS may be denied an education, pushed onto the street, forced into the worst forms of child labour, or otherwise exploited, all of which puts them at greater risk of contracting HIV. This report calls on the Indian government to recognise their plight and to take immediate action to protect them from discrimination and exploitation

HIV/AIDS : what about very young children?

DUNN, Alison
July 2004

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This short paper reflects findings from research carried out to identify current responses to meet the needs of children age 0-8 living in HIV/AIDS affected communities. The overall results show that at local, national and international levels there are gaps in programming and policy to engage ideas and mobilise resources to address the needs and experiences of very young children both infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. The question is then raised: What can we actually do to include very young children in programming and policy responses in HIV/AIDS affected communities? Supporting existing family and community networks and current efforts that are being made by people confronting HIV/AIDS on a daily basis are important strategies. Conclusions are drawn indicating that services are required urgently to support very young children both directly and through the families and communities in which they live. Ways of listening to and including very young children in these processes need to be developed and used. Partnerships need to be developed between parents, families, NGOs, CBOs and government to ensure the holistic development of the child. At policy levels, very young children need to be included in programmes that address children, HIV/AIDS and community development. All government ministries can participate in meeting the needs of very young children in HIV/AIDS affected communities

Protecting the rights of young children affected and infected by HIV/AIDS in Africa : updating strategies and reinforcing existing networks

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)
June 2003

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This report attempts to identify strategies, lines of action and innovative approaches to respond to the needs of young children faced by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Key issues addressed in the workshop and report are around obstacles that prevent the provision of appropriate services, key issues that affect young children, and the cultural and religious causes of discrimination. It suggests principles that should be observed in programming in this area, ways of advocating for the needs of young children affected by HIV/AIDS, and ways of moving forward by developing an action plan

State of the world's children 2005 : childhood under threat

UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN'S FUND (UNICEF)
2004

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The latest UNICEF report concentrates on the theme of the quality of a child’s life. There have been significant advances in the fulfillment of children’s rights to survival, health and education through the provision of essential goods and services, and a growing recognition of the need to create a protective environment to shield children from exploitation, abuse and violence since the Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989. Worryingly, however, in several regions and countries some of these gains appear in danger of reversal from three key threats: poverty, armed conflict and HIV/AIDS. The rights of over 1 billion children are violated because they are severely underserved of at least one or more of the basic goods and services required to survive, grow and develop. Swift and decisive action is required to reduce the poverty that children experience, protect them from armed conflict and support those orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS

Journal articles

Child rights and the MDGs

CHILD RIGHTS INFORMATION NETWORK (CRIN)
October 2008

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This special edition looks at how the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) relate to child rights and what the limitations and criticisms are

Listening to children [whole issue]

SMALE, Jim
Ed
January 2000

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This edition focuses on participation by children of 0-7 years in the conceptualisation, implementation and evaluation of early childhood development programmes. Articles show how adults are taking the crucial steps in developing that participation: establishing environments and practices that enable young children to express themselves confidently and fully, and to develop some experiences in participation

Multimedia

The state of the world's children : special edition

BRAZIER, Chris
et al
November 2009

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This report celebrates 20 years of the Convention of the Rights of the Child. Chapters consider the timeless relevance of the convention; offer essays on a number of different perspectives on the convention; and look at the challenges for making the convention a reality in the 21st century. The online pack includes the report, statistics, panels, photo panels, a video and a press centre

Websites

Child Rights Information Network (CRIN)

February 2006

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The Child Rights Information Network (CRIN) is a global network that disseminates information about the Convention on the Rights of the Child and child rights among non-governmental organisations (NGOs), United Nations agencies, educational institutions, and other child rights experts. The Coordinating Unit is based in London, UK. The Convention on the Rights of the Child is available from this site as well as NGO alternative reports, international treaties, and a directory of organisations working in child rights. The CRIN newsletter, published three times a year, is a thematic publication that examines a specific issue affecting children. The CRINMAIL email lists provide regular news bulletins about child rights issues as well as information about new publications and events in English, French and Spanish, and on specific topic areas

Orphans and other vulnerable children support toolkit

INTERNATIONAL HIV/AIDS ALLIANCE,
FAMILY HEALTH INTERNATIONAL
December 2005

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This is a collection of information, tools and guidance on supporting orphans and other vulnerable children living in a world with HIV/AIDS. It covers a wide range of subject areas, including running a programme, health and nutrition, education, psychosocial support, economic strengthening, living environments and children's rights. It contains a wide range of useful resources on the different topic areas. It also contains a section on early childhood development