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Edited by Trude Haugli, Anna Nylund, Randi Sigurdsen and Lena R.L. Bendiksen

The book presents a comparative study of children’s constitutional rights in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The authors discuss the value of enshrining children’s rights in national Constitutions in addition to implementing the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC). Central issues are whether enshrining children’s rights in a constitution improves implementation and enforcement of those rights by providing advocacy tools and by mandating courts, legislators, policy-makers and practitioners to take children’s rights seriously. The study assesses whether the constitutions are in line with the child rights approach of the CRC both on a general level and in detail in three domains; the best interests of the child, participation rights, and the right to respect for family life.

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Mary McAleese

In the first study of its kind Mary McAleese subjects to comprehensive scrutiny the Roman Catholic Church’s 1983 Code of Canon law as it applies to children. The Catholic Church is the world’s largest non-governmental organisation involved in the provision of education and care services to children. It has over three hundred million child members world-wide the vast majority of whom became Church members when they were baptised as infants. Canon law sets out their rights and obligations as members. Children also have rights which are set out in the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to which the Holy See is State Party. The impact of the Convention on Canon Law is examined in detail and the analysis charts a distinct and worrying sea-change in the attitude of the Holy See to its obligations under the Convention since the clerical sex abuse scandals became a subject of discussion at the Committee on the Rights of the Child, which monitors implementation of the Convention.

Edited by Bina D'Costa and Luke Glanville

In Children and the Responsibility to Protect, Bina D’Costa and Luke Glanville bring together more than a dozen academics and practitioners from around the world to examine the intersections of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) principle and the theory and practice of child protection. Contributors consider themes including how the agency and vulnerability of children is represented and how their voices are heard in discussions of R2P and child protection, and the merits of drawing together the R2P and Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) agendas, as well as case studies of children’s lives in conflict zones, child soldiers, and children born of conflict-related sexual violence.
This collection of essays was first published in the journal Global Responsibility to Protect (vol.10/1-2, 2018) as a special issue.

Contributors are: J. Marshall Beier, Letícia Carvalho, Bina D’Costa, Myriam Denov, Luke Glanville, Michelle Godwin, Erin Goheen Glanville, Cecilia Jacob, Dustin Johnson, Atim Angela Lakor, Katrina Lee-Koo, Ryoko Nakano, Jochen Prantl, Jeremy Shusterman, Hannah Sparwasser Soroka, Timea Spitka, Jana Tabak, Shelly Whitman.

Edited by Bina D’Costa and Luke Glanville

Luke Glanville

Abstract

This introduction outlines in broad strokes some key aspects of the relationship between the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and the practice and scholarship of child protection. It lays out the parallel development of the R2P and Children and Armed Conflict agendas over the last two decades and surveys how key R2P documents developed during this period have engaged with issues of child protection. It then outlines the chapters that follow.

Jeremy Shusterman and Michelle Godwin

When the United Nations (un) agreed on a definition of the Responsibility to Protect (r2p) at the 2005 World Summit, the two paragraphs it endorsed articulated what r2p stands for, giving the concept a focused but narrow remit around protecting populations specifically from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity in armed conflict. In its next paragraph, the un Membership reiterated concerns on the impact of armed conflict on children echoing the landmark 1612 Resolution by the Security Council on Children and Armed Conflict (caac) adopted a few weeks before. Though side-by-side in the text, caac and r2p were not linked. To this day, for international practitioners in emergency responses, the interaction between both remains unclear. While this simultaneous peak moment for r2p and caac may have occurred by chance, this article describes how both concepts (as advocacy tools and instruments for practitioners to ‘respond’) emerged out of similar concern for protecting civilians – including children – in conflict. However, the link between both concepts should not be overstated. While r2p and caac fit together for the intentions they share, this happened more coincidentally than purposefully. This article argues, taking an international practitioner’s perspective, that both concepts should not be understood as always operating at the same level. caac has grown from an advocacy platform to an umbrella of different programmes, responses, tools and frameworks, including the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (mrm) on Children and Armed Conflict. Even if applied with variable success, these tools and approaches under the caac agenda chart some ways practitioners can hope to do more towards protecting children in conflict. But for those same practitioners, delivering on a Responsibility to Protect is a different question – one where their ‘responsibility’ is at best secondary and implicit, because r2p sits squarely as a primary and explicit responsibility of states – who are also the ultimate duty bearers for children’s rights. While the echoes of a child rights agenda can be heard in the conversation around r2p, and while r2p can help frame and drive efforts by child protection practitioners to respond to some of the worst situations children face, r2p is, for the protection agency field officer, an aspirational goal, necessarily out of reach.

Timea Spitka

Children are disproportionally affected in violent conflict, are vulnerable to exploitation and lack protection when a state is failing in its responsibility to protect. In the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, children, particularly those living in Gaza, East Jerusalem, parts of the West Bank are not only vulnerable during escalations but are subject to exploitation, detentions and severe security measures. Divisions over culpability have made the local representatives and the international community incapable or unwilling to take collective action to protect this most vulnerable population. Given the divisive international context, are there R2P tools that can be used effectively to enhance protection for children and teenagers in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict? The focus on the protection of children demonstrates: Firstly, the need to closely analyse current protection tools particularly under Pillar iii of R2P, Secondly, the importance to eradicate unintended effects of protection efforts, and finally the potential contribution of focus on children towards reaching a consensus on a protection regime.

Edited by Bina D’Costa and Luke Glanville

Katrina Lee-Koo

The United Nations Security Council’s Children and Armed Conflict agenda is animated by a protection ethic. While the protection of children from violence in armed conflict is entirely appropriate, this article demonstrates that the Council’s singular focus upon protection goes beyond merely appropriate, and borders upon overbearing. The article traces the ways that dominant conceptualisations of children as ‘innocent victims’ has animated an agenda that focuses primarily upon their victimisation that, in turn, reinforces the legitimacy of the protection ethic. It argues that this excludes a nuanced understanding of the lived experiences of children in conflict. In this sense, the agenda is closed to exploring the ways in which children resist, adapt, shape, and survive conflict in ways that position them as agents of their own protection and – in some circumstances – agents of community resilience amidst conflict. Ultimately, this article argues that re-visioning children’s relationship to armed conflict provides a strategy to better ensure children’s rights and reflects their relationship to peace.

Bina D’Costa

The endorsement of R2P by the unga and the unsc does not give the doctrine legal status, however, such broad acceptance in the international community gives the concept some normative force. Although the unga formulation of R2P can be considered to be the most authoritative, as demonstrated by the articles in this special issue, the doctrine could be further advanced in relation to children in conflict zones. This article provides some reflections about recent unicef emergency response experiences in dealing with the Rohingya displacement in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.