Although it may seem ironic that a policy affecting so few children should engage so much political and social attention, the symbolic significance of intercountry adoption far outweighs its practical import. A recent reminder of this fact on the African continent is the 2009 Madonna adoption case. This note considers Madonna’s second adoption of a child from Malawi in the light of international children’s rights laws. Although human rights groups have alleged that Madonna was “acting like a rich bully” in the main, Madonna’s adoption can withstand the scrutiny of children’s rights, and in fact, has contributed towards helping the discourse of children’s rights in Malawi “stumble” forward.
This article argues that, despite its promise to mainstream the best interests of the child into all EU policies, the European Commission has failed to ensure that the EU internal market and consumer policies, which are at the heart of the EU legal order, adequately protect children. Two main pieces of EU legislation illustrate the argument: the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive and the Audiovisual Media Services Directive.
On the occasion of continuation of The International Journal of Children’s Rights with two eminent new Editors-in-Chief, the founder of this Journal (Dr. Philip Veerman) interviewed a rising star of children’s rights: Dr. Benyam Dawit Mezmur (born in 1980 in Addis Ababa). Mezmur was elected at 30 years of age to the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (acerwc Committee) of the African Union (au). Dr. Mezmur stands out not only by his great diplomatic skills, but also because he is a real builder. For instance, during his tenure as Chairperson of acerwc this Committee obtained greater visibility for its work and secured a separate budget from the African Union Commission. Dr. Mezmur’s vision and hard work contributed much to a new situation in which many colleagues in the children’s rights field recognise that the acerwc Committee is now doing significant and unique work of which the added value (next to the un Committee on the Rights of the Child, the crc Committee) has become clear. Dr. Mezmur was elected on 18 December 2012 (at 32 years of age) as a member of the crc Committee and in May 2013 he became the Vice-Chair of the crc Committee. From May 2015 until May 2017 he served with great dedication as Chairperson of the crc Committee. This unique combination of two different key posts led to interesting observations on developments in the children’s rights field. Through the interview we have a rare look behind the scenes of two important committees on children’s rights.
The protection of children confronting adversity has become one of the central priorities of humanitarian interventions worldwide. The array of child-focused rights and protections established by international, regional and national frameworks provides a normative foundation guiding efforts to facilitate the (re)establishment of more secure conditions. Despite a rhetorical acknowledgement of participation as enhancing children’s provision and protection rights, much of children’s rights activism in Africa continues to emphasise a protectionist approach over an empowering one. Furthermore, actualising children’s rights constitutes a formidable challenge in fragile countries like South Sudan where difficult post-war conditions are compounded by significant discrepancies regarding the treatment of children in the various applicable legal systems. Advancing the view of children’s rights as a living practice moulded by children’s everyday realities, this paper discusses the situation of South Sudan as illustrative of the dilemmas of upholding the right of conflict-affected children in Africa to participate in their own protection.