Universal Children’s Day = 20th November 2012

Universal Children’s Day takes place annually on November 20th. First proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1954, it was established to encourage all countries to institute a day, firstly to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children and secondly to initiate action to benefit and promote the welfare of the world’s children. It was also chosen as the day to celebrate childhood.

November 20 is also the anniversary of the day when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1956. Convention on the Rights of the Child was then signed on the same day in 1989, which has since been ratified by 191 states.

Despite this worldwide consensus on the importance of our children, 70% of the approximately 11 million child deaths every year are attributable to six potentially preventable causes: diarrhoea, malaria, neonatal infection, pneumonia, preterm delivery, or lack of oxygen at birth. These deaths occur mainly in the developing world. An Ethiopian child is 30 times more likely to die by his or her fifth birthday than a child in Western Europe. Among deaths of children, South-central Asia has the highest number of newborn deaths, while sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rates.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic is taking a huge toll on children, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. The number of children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS is projected to reach 25 million by the end of the decade, 18 million of them in sub-Saharan Africa. This, along with only modest progress fighting malaria, means the threats facing child survival are as grave as ever.

Sources: UN Dag Hammarskjöld Library, UNICEF

Resource links listed by HREA
Selected learning materials

Study Guide on the Human Rights of Children and Youth (HREA)

Conversation about child labour and the right to education with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education (15 June 2005)

Children’s Rights Here and Now (Amnesty International-USA)

Fields of Hope: Educational Activities on Child Labor. Teacher’s Guide

“How to Protect Human Rights?” Lesson Plan: Children’s Rights in the UN System of Human Rights Protection (Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Poland)

Raising Children With Roots, Rights & Responsibilities: Celebrating the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (USA)

Teaching for Human Rights: Pre-school and Grades 1-4

Teaching for Human Rights: Grades 5-10

International treaties on children’s rights:

– Convention on the Rights of the Child

– Simplified version of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

– Declaration of the Rights of the Child

– African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

– ILO Convention (No. 138) concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment

– ILO Convention (No. 182) concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor

– Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict

– ptional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography


Useful links

Right to Education Project

International Labour Organization (ILO) on Child Labour

Child Rights Information Network (CRIN)

Organisations that promote and protect the rights of children & youth

 

Universal Children’s Day – 20 November 2011

By resolution 836(IX) of 14 December 1954, the General Assembly recommended that all countries institute a Universal Children’s Day, to be observed as a day of worldwide fraternity and understanding between children. It recommended that the Day was to be observed also as a day of activity devoted to promoting the ideals and objectives of the Charter and the welfare of the children of the world. The Assembly suggested to governments that the Day be observed on the date and in the way which each considers appropriate. The date 20 November, marks the day on which the Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, in 1959, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 1989.

In 2000 world leaders outlined the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015. Though the Goals are for all humankind, they are primarily about children. UNICEF notes that six of the eight goals relate directly to children and meeting the last two will also make critical improvements in their lives.

From HREA:

Despite this worldwide consensus on the importance of our children, 70% of the approximately 11 million child deaths every year are attributable to six potentially preventable causes: diarrhoea, malaria, neonatal infection, pneumonia, preterm delivery, or lack of oxygen at birth. These deaths occur mainly in the developing world. An Ethiopian child is 30 times more likely to die by his or her fifth birthday than a child in Western Europe. Among deaths of children, South-central Asia has the highest number of newborn deaths, while sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rates.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic is taking a huge toll on children, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. The number of children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS is projected to reach 25 million by the end of the decade, 18 million of them in sub-Saharan Africa. This, along with only modest progress fighting malaria, means the threats facing child survival are as grave as ever.

Sources: UN Dag Hammarskjöld Library, UNICEF
Selected learning materials

Study Guide on the Human Rights of Children and Youth (HREA)

Conversation about child labour and the right to education with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education (15 June 2005)

Children’s Rights Here and Now (Amnesty International-USA)

Fields of Hope: Educational Activities on Child Labor. Teacher’s Guide

“How to Protect Human Rights?” Lesson Plan: Children’s Rights in the UN System of Human Rights Protection (Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Poland)

Raising Children With Roots, Rights & Responsibilities: Celebrating the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (USA)

Teaching for Human Rights: Pre-school and Grades 1-4

Teaching for Human Rights: Grades 5-10

International treaties on children’s rights:

– Convention on the Rights of the Child

– Simplified version of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

– Declaration of the Rights of the Child

– African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

– ILO Convention (No. 138) concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment

– ILO Convention (No. 182) concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor

– Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict

– ptional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography
Useful links

Right to Education Project

International Labour Organization (ILO) on Child Labour

Child Rights Information Network (CRIN)

Organisations that promote and protect the rights of children & youth

Building capacity in Afghanistan – 40,000 more troops or 40,000 schools? Girls education.

BBC SarwaryShazia

BBC Sarwary

‘Good girls’

“I am Shazia and I am the only daughter of my parents. They always tell me that they want me to be educated because my parents work in the field all the time. We have a house in the mountains, but we don’t have water, wood and food most of the time. I have learned a lot. In my village everyone tells their children, ‘please learn from Shazia and attend school’.

“I love my school friends – they are very good girls.”

We know that investing in education, particularly for girls, can help re-buld a society.

There are several compelling benefits associated with girls’ education, which include the reduction of child and maternal mortality, improvement of child nutrition and health, lower fertility rates, enhancement of women’s domestic role and their political participation, improvement of the economic productivity and growth, and protection of girls from HIV/AIDS, abuse and exploitation. Girls’ education yields some of the highest returns of all development investments, yielding both private and social benefits that accrue to individuals, families, and society at large.

Lets think about arguments for investing more in education or increasing the number of troops in  Afghanistan. The following  is an article by Nicholas Kristof, New York Times
Dispatching more troops to Afghanistan would be a monumental bet and probably a bad one, most likely a waste of lives and resources that might simply empower the Taliban. In particular, one of the most compelling arguments against more troops rests on this stunning trade-off: For the cost of a single additional soldier stationed in Afghanistan for one year, we could build roughly 20 schools there.

It’s hard to do the calculation precisely, but for the cost of 40,000 troops over a few years – well, we could just about turn every Afghan into a Ph.D.

The hawks respond: It’s naïve to think that you can sprinkle a bit of education on a war-torn society. It’s impossible to build schools now because the Taliban will blow them up.
In fact, it’s still quite possible to operate schools in Afghanistan – particularly when there’s a strong “buy-in” from the local community.

Greg Mortenson, author of “Three Cups of Tea,” has now built 39 schools in Afghanistan and 92 in Pakistan – and not one has been burned down or closed. The aid organization CARE has 295 schools educating 50,000 girls in Afghanistan, and not a single one has been closed or burned by the Taliban. The Afghan Institute of Learning, another aid group, has 32 schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with none closed by the Taliban (although local communities have temporarily suspended three for security reasons).

In short, there is still vast scope for greater investment in education, health and agriculture in Afghanistan. These are extraordinarily cheap and have a better record at stabilizing societies than military solutions, which, in fact, have a pretty dismal record.

Already our troops have created a backlash with Kabul University students this week burning President Obama in effigy until police dispersed them with gunshots. The heavier our military footprint, the more resentment – and perhaps the more legitimacy for the Taliban.

Schools are not a quick fix or silver bullet any more than troops are. But we have abundant evidence that they can, over time, transform countries, and in the area near Afghanistan there’s a nice natural experiment in the comparative power of educational versus military tools.

Since 9/11, the United States has spent $15 billion in Pakistan, mostly on military support, and today Pakistan is more unstable than ever. In contrast, Bangladesh, which until 1971 was a part of Pakistan, has focused on education in a way that Pakistan never did. Bangladesh now has more girls in high school than boys. (In contrast, only 3 percent of Pakistani women in the tribal areas are literate.)

For roughly the same cost as stationing 40,000 troops in Afghanistan for one year, we could educate the great majority of the 75 million children worldwide who, according to Unicef, are not getting even a primary education. We won’t turn them into graduate students, but we can help them achieve literacy. Such a vast global education campaign would reduce poverty, cut birth rates, improve America’s image in the world, promote stability and chip away at extremism.

Education isn’t a panacea, and no policy in Afghanistan is a sure bet. But all in all, the evidence suggests that education can help foster a virtuous cycle that promotes stability and moderation. So instead of sending 40,000 troops more to Afghanistan, how about opening 40,000 schools?

And some quotations from students trying to study in Afghanistan,on the BBC site

‘I want to be educated’

 

BBC Sarwary

BBC-Sarwary

Zarmina, 8, lives in the remote Sherzad district, south-west of the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad. Sherzad is not far from the Tora Bora cave complex near the Pakistan border.

“I travel every day for an hour from my village to school. I am in class one and I can write my name. I have made a lot of friends.

“However, we can’t study most days because it’s rainy or windy. I want to be an educated Afghan girl.”

Yasamina, 14“I fetch water every day – it takes about an hour. But, I also go to my school. I walk with my friends for four kilometres every day but I like walking to my school with my friends. I want to be a nurse when I finish my school here.”

BBC SarwaryYAS

BBC Sarwary

Stories

“My name is Lema and I am from that village in the mountain. I walk for a long long time with my friends. I like coming to school because we tell stories among ourselves. “I don’t like it when it rains or is windy because we can’t sit outside, so we walk all the way back to our village. I don’t know what I want to be in the future, but I like teaching a lot.”

 

Lema BBC Sarwary

BBC Sarwary

Is it worth creating schools and giving girls an education? Just revisit the benefits:

  • Reducing women’s fertility rates. Women with formal education are much more likely to use reliable family planning methods, delay marriage and childbearing, and have fewer and healthier babies than women with no formal education. It is estimated that one year of female schooling reduces fertility by 10 percent. The effect is particularly pronounced for secondary schooling.
  • Lowering infant and child mortality rates. Women with some formal education are more likely to seek medical care, ensure their children are immunized, be better informed about their children’s nutritional requirements, and adopt improved sanitation practices. As a result, their infants and children have higher survival rates and tend to be healthier and better nourished.
  • Lowering maternal mortality rates. Women with formal education tend to have better knowledge about health care practices, are less likely to become pregnant at a very young age, tend to have fewer, better-spaced pregnancies, and seek pre- and post-natal care. It is estimated that an additional year of schooling for 1,000 women helps prevent two maternal deaths.
  • Protecting against HIV/AIDS infection. Girls’ education ranks among the most powerful tools for reducing girls’ vulnerability. It slows and reduces the spread of HIV/AIDS by contributing to female economic independence, delayed marriage, family planning, and work outside the home, as well as conveying greater information about the disease and how to prevent it.
  • Increasing women’s labor force participation rates and earnings. Education has been proven to increase income for wage earners and increase productivity for employers, yielding benefits for the community and society.
  • Creating intergenerational education benefits. Mothers’ education is a significant variable affecting children’s education attainment and opportunities. A mother with a few years of formal education is considerably more likely to send her children to school. In many countries each additional year of formal education completed by a mother translates into her children remaining in school for an additional one-third to one-half year.
  • As Obama reflects on a new approach to Afghanistan, I hope some of these stories become part of the ‘armoury of the arguments’ for a more humane and constructive policy review.

    Human Rights Education – Crimes of War

    child_soldiers_07$demobsTime

    Demobilised Child Soldiers DRC. Time

     

    We have a duty to build capacity in people so that they know what their basic human rights are, how to find support for protection of these rights and to understand how they can take action to protect other people’s human rights.

     

    Check out UNICEF’s Voice of Youth site for more information about children’s rights.

    twogirls unicef

    Unicef -Sudan

     

    Instead of heeding lessons of the past, we seem to be reading more and more in the news about child soldiers, sexual violence being perpetrated as a weapon of war, civilians being injured, tortured, killed as a way of ‘undermining governments’ policies’ and as a general threat to innocent civilians. This is also in the context of a wide availability of more sophisticated weapons in the poorest of countries and a general plundering of natural resources , particularly minerals such as diamonds leading to a wider range of conflicts.

     

    unicef2window

    UNICEF

     

    The next generation will already be receiving this situation, handed down by their parents -education of the next two generations is necessary to get a real change in attitudes and behaviour and and for all children , no matter where they live, have their basic rights protected and enforced.

    logoHREA

    The text below comes from  the HREA Quarterly Newsletter (  July-September 2009)

    The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE/ODIHR), the Council of Europe, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have jointly published Human Rights Education in the School Systems of Europe, Central Asia and North America: A Compendium of Good Practice. HREA was retained to develop the Compendium under the guidance of these partners.

    HRightscompendium

    Designed for primary and secondary schools, teacher training institutions and other learning settings, the new tool, which collects 101 exemplary practices from Central Asia, Europe and North America, is a valuable resource for teachers and education policymakers.

    It provides resource materials relevant to key elements for successful human rights education, including 1) laws, guidelines and standards; 2) learning environment; 3) teaching and learning tools; 4) professional development for educators, and 5) evaluation.

    The collection demonstrates creative approaches to human rights education and aims to facilitate networking and exchange of experience among education professionals. The practices can be adapted to local conditions anywhere in the world.

    Below is an example of a good practice included in the Compendium:

    Crimes of War – What the Public Should Know: Educator’s Guide

    cow_bookcoverCrimes

    Intended Audience: Upper secondary school and university students (ages 16-22) and their teachers.

    Purpose
    : The Educator’s Guide was developed to make the reality of war crimes more accessible to youth, young adults and future decision makers in a classroom learning environment.

    The assumption is that if students and their teachers know the depth of the horrors of war – the same wars that are often described in mainstream media as “precise”, “modern”, or “just” – they would take a more active role in deciding when, where and why to go to war, and in influencing the way those wars are fought.

    Description: The Educator’s Guide accompanies the second edition of Crimes of War: What the Public Should Know, composed of case studies written by prominent field journalists. The Educator’s Guide was developed in co-operation with the Crimes of War Project (publisher of the second edition) and the United States Institute of Peace.

    In the Educator’s Guide, there are eight thematic chapters: weapons, violence against civilians, child soldiers, sexual violence, terrorism and torture, genocide, international courts and tribunals, and humanitarian intervention. Each of the thematic chapters is linked to case studies contained in the second edition of Crimes of War, as well as United States national education standards. The chapters include the following elements:
    • an essential question;
    • learning objectives;
    • methodology;
    • background information on the theme;
    • discussion questions (organized from simplest to most complex);
    • extension activities (that can be used for additional class work or homework);
    • ways that learners can take action; and
    • additional film, Web and print resources for the classroom.

    In addition to thematic, case study chapters, the Educator’s Guide contains a Glossary of Terms and a “Background and Key Concepts” section that presents the history of international humanitarian law and key concepts of the Geneva Conventions and its Additional Protocols.

    UGANDA Artwork 01AI

    Child Soldiers.Uganda.Amnesty International

    In order to strengthen students’ sense that they can do something positive in addressing crimes of war, each chapter provides an “action” section with practical activities, such as participating in awareness raising and action campaigns. Furthermore, two of the chapters address justice mechanisms for addressing crimes of war: courts and humanitarian intervention.

    girlwithgun

    Strengths: The Educator’s Guide supports educators in addressing the themes of crimes of war and international humanitarian law, which are rarely addressed in school settings. While making use of journalistic case studies to engage students, the lessons also provide historical and technical backgrounds necessary for understanding the themes.

    The resource is designed for flexible use by teachers. For each thematic issue, educators can choose from a range of related case studies in the second edition of Crimes of War. The discussion questions are organised from simplest to most complex thinking so that those most suitable for the students can be selected. The reference section of each chapter links teachers with original sources and multi-media tools that can be used to enhance the lesson.

    drawing 09 (3 fighters & cut hand)AI

    Child Soldiers.Uganda. Amnesty International

    Adaptability: The Educator’s Guide is intended for use in cross-national settings and was written to be culturally nonspecific, with regional examples from Europe, Africa and Asia. The second edition of Crimes of War is available in English and Arabic, and a French edition, as well as additional translations, are forthcoming.

    Availability: The Educator’s Guide can be downloaded at http://www.hrea.org/crimesofwar. Two sample chapters, “Weapons” and “Violence Against Civilians: Sieges and Sanctions”, are included in the Compendium Annex. The main text, Crimes of War: What the Public Should Know (second edition), can be found on-line in English and Arabic at http://www.crimesofwar.org/thebook/book.html.

     

    E-learning  – online capacity building

    resourceHREA2

    HREA is offering fourteen e-learning courses in the first trimester of 2010 (1 February-20 April), including courses on child rights programming, gender mainstreaming, human rights-based programming, human rights litigation, human rights of migrants and migrant workers, introduction to human rights education, monitoring children’s rights (in French), national human rights institutions, and the UN Human Rights Council. Find out more about these and other upcoming e-learning opportunities.

    Convention on the Rights of the Child -a guide to non-discrimination.

    The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is a beautiful piece of legislation…however, when in the field you understand how difficult it is to realise the goals of the CRC  in practical terms. Many laws and constitutions have to be re-written or amended to allow for children to have basic rights.

    20090511_pakistan_child

    Teachers and other educators should have the CRC as the basis on which to build relationships with their students. However, at present, it would be hard to find overt recognition of the CRC in any teacher training curriculum in the world.

    The CRIN has been working hard not only to document abuses of the CRC but also to find ways to interpret the CRC in terms of practical use in the variety of contexts in which it should be used. First, a description of the CRC for those who are not cognizant of the Convention and secondly specific reference to a new guide to  non-discrimination. Download in pdf

    The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, often referred to as CRC or UNCRC, is an international convention setting out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of children. Nations that ratify this international convention are bound to it by international law. Compliance is monitored by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child which is composed of members from countries around the world. Once a year, the Committee submits a report to the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, which also hears a statement from the CRC Chair, and the Assembly adopts a Resolution on the Rights of the Child.

    Refujiados campamento Cavarette, Haiti

    Governments of countries that have ratified the Convention are required to report to, and appear before, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child periodically to be examined on their progress with regards to the advancement of the implementation of the Convention and the status of child rights in their country. Their reports and the committee’s written views and concerns are available on the committee’s website.

    The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention and opened it for signature on 20 November 1989 (the 30th anniversary of its Declaration of the Rights of the Child).[5] It came into force on 2 September 1990, after it was ratified by the required number of nations. As of December 2008, 193 countries have ratified it,[1] including every member of the United Nations except the United States and Somalia.[4][6]

    Two optional protocols were adopted on 25 May 2000. The first restricts the involvement of children in military conflicts, and the second prohibits the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. Both protocols have been ratified by more than 120 states.[7][8]

    The Convention generally defines a child as any human being under the age of 18, unless an earlier age of majority is recognized by a country’s law.(ref wikipedia)

    Introduction to discrimination

    Children’s rights are violated or left unfulfilled in ways in which those of adults are not. This is a result of systemic discrimination – direct or indirect – against children.

    Children face discrimination in most societies in comparison to adults because they have less power. This is a result of children’s dependence on adults and adults’ reluctance to give them more decision-making power as they develop the ability to exercise it themselves.

    Besides experiencing discrimination as a group (or ‘age-based discrimination’), children face discrimination on other grounds such as their gender, disability, or sexual orientation, and sometimes because of a combination of reasons. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has so far identified 53 grounds of discrimination against children based either on their identity or the identity of their parents.

    All forms of discrimination against children are exacerbated by virtue of their age and vulnerability which mean they have fewer opportunities for challenging discrimination because, for example, they do not have access to courts and complaints mechanisms on an equal basis with adults.

    This document (Download in pdf ) aims to highlight the links between discrimination and the lack of fulfilment of children’s rights. It shows how article 2 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – the right to non-discrimination – could be applied to every right as set out in the Convention. Each article includes examples both of discrimination against children as a group and against particular children.

    Whole Child

    Training teachers to consider ‘the whole child’ can be daunting -but the website  the whole child education help:

    Evaluations since 1992 have shown that community schools
    o improve student achievement.
    o increase parental involvement.
    o demonstrate higher student and teacher attendance.
    o improve school climate.
    o decrease special education referrals.
    o improve mental and physical health for students.
    and more from the whole child newsletter:
    an example from the newsletter:
    Locked in a Conspiracy

    James P. Comer, the Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine’s Child Study Center and a whole child commissioner, often says that the community in which he was raised was, “locked into a conspiracy to make certain that I grew up to be a responsible, contributing citizen.” But what does that look like in a modern world? What do a school and community look like when they truly ensure each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged?

    One possibility is a “full-service community school.” In a recent article, an elementary school principal, a college professor, and the director of whole child partner the Coalition for Community Schools describe their 10-year partnership at a high-poverty school in New York.

    Asking the right questions?

    Asking the right questions?