Celebrations to mark the 30th anniversary of the enactment of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child are now firmly underway across the globe. The International Journal of Children’s Rights marked the occasion with an academic conference in London on 20–21st June 2019 on the theme of ‘Thirty Years of Children’s Rights Scholarship: Taking Stock and Thinking Ahead’. Discussions covered trends in research methods, theory, law and policy across a range of children’s rights issues, including participation, juvenile justice, education, family rights and migration, and were informed by interdisciplinary papers from early career scholars working alongside more established scholars in each field. ijcr founder, Professor Michael Freeman, also presented his thoughts on some of the key achievements and challenges facing children’s rights since the adoption of the uncrc. The conference offered an invaluable opportunity to reflect critically on the limitations of current children’s rights research, not least the importance of drawing on and supporting scholars from the global south. Apparent also, is the need to adopt more creative methodological approaches to capture and respond appropriately to developments in this inherently interdisciplinary field. The papers from the conference will be published in a special issue of the ijcr at the end of this year and will help set the agenda for children’s rights scholarship in the coming years.
Turning to this issue, we feature fresh perspectives on children’s rights in the political contexts of peace negotiations (Field), the regulation of digital advertising (Verdoodt) and protest rallies in Russia (Riekkinen, Adilghazi and Tasbulatova). Strømland, Andersen, Johansen and Bahus offer an alternative theoretical exposition of how the Capabilities Approach, developed by Sen and Nussbaum, might be applied to assessments of children’s best interests, using family cases in Norway to exemplify. An alternative perspective of rights is presented by Stewart-Tufescu in an empirical analysis of children’s understanding of well-being and its interplay with notions of rights in Canada. Staying with the Canadian perspective, Ward and Raphael consider the rights implications of policies that allow for the detention of children in immigration holding centres, with a particular focus on its implications for children’s health and the welfare economy.