Policy advocacy and partnerships for children's rights

New book, launched at UNICEF, examines legal framework for child rights

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF/2007
At a roundtable discussion on 'Protecting the World's Children' (left to right): Emilio Garcia Mendez of the University of Buenos Aires, Savitri Goonesekere of the University of Colombo, international consultant Rebeca Rios-Kohn and Shaheen Sardar Ali of the University of Warwick.

By Elizabeth Kiem

The Convention on the Rights of the Child was ratified 18 years ago, on 20 November 1989. For this landmark anniversary, UNICEF has launched the 'CRC@18' campaign to raise awareness about child rights and the impact of the Convention. Here is one in a series of related stories.

NEW YORK, USA, 20 November 2007 – A new guide examining various strategies for implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in different legal systems worldwide was launched today at UNICEF House in New York.

The guide, ‘Protecting the World's Children: Impact of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Diverse Legal Systems’, was developed as a reference for legal reformers, public officials and child-rights advocates.

Using country-specific examples, the book examines the specific challenges associated with implementing child rights within common law, civil law, Islamic law and plural legal systems that incorporate more than one form of jurisprudence.

UNICEF Image
© Cambridge-UNICEF/2007
The cover of the new guide on children's rights, developed as a reference for legal reformers, public officials and child-rights advocates.

Roundtable discussion

“The book came out of the conviction that international treaties are useful in developing countries, even in those countries where one is apt to write off the legal systems,” said Savitri Goonesekere, one of the book’s four authors.

Other contributors to the volume, which is being marketed as an advocacy tool by publisher Cambridge University Press, are Shaheen Sardar Ali, whose area of expertise at the University of Warwick lies in Islamic law and jurisprudence; Emilio Garcia Mendez, Chair of the Criminology Department at the University of Buenos Aires; and Rebeca Rios-Kohn, who works as an international consultant on human rights and human development.

After the launch of the book, UNICEF hosted a roundtable discussion about its significance.

Most widely ratified treaty

Philip Alston, a professor at New York University and special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, said one of the “many strong points” of ‘Protecting the World’s Children’ is its recognition that economic rights and social rights have not fared as well as the legal and political rights enshrined in the CRC.

Eighteen years after its adoption, the Convention is the most widely ratified multi-national treaty in existence; only the United States and Somalia have not yet ratified it.

UNICEF has been a key player in securing ratification and remains active in the legislative reform necessary to implement the Convention’s more controversial principles, including those dealing with child trafficking and child labour.


 

 

Video

20 November 2007:
Savitri Goonesekere of the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, explains the purpose of the new publication, ‘Protecting the World’s Children’.
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Shaheen Sardar Ali of the University of Warwick discusses how the CRC relates to Islamic law.
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Emilio Garcia Mendez of the University of Buenos Aires talks about implementation of the CRC in Latin America.
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Rebeca Rios-Kohn, international consultant, discusses the importance of achieving universal ratification of the CRC.
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