Child Rights and Security
Children and young people are particularly vulnerable to the impact of security arrangements in the context of extractive activities. The risks to children can arise through the actions of public and private security personnel and entities, and might occur during the course of security activities when dealing with community protests, trespassing, theft, vandalism and artisanal mining. As a result, children may be recruited and used by private and public security or suffer other human rights violation at the hands of security personnel including sexual exploitation, injury or harm outside of and during investigation, arrest and detention. The harm to children is further compounded when legal and judicial systems do not adequately protect the rights of children during detention, sentencing or imprisonment in accordance with international standards.
In 2016, a multi-stakeholder working group of companies, governments, civil society organizations and expert consultants came together to bring focus to children as a distinct stakeholder group in relation to extractive sector security-related impacts. Building on the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights framework, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Children’s Rights and Business Principles, the group developed the Child Rights and Security Checklist.
The Checklist is designed to help governments and companies assess the extent to which their security frameworks are attentive to and protective of children’s rights. The Checklist can be used by both extractive and non-extractive companies to identify, improve, and create greater stakeholder confidence in their protection of children’s rights within their security programs. The Checklist can be used in the same way by governments as a means of maintaining accountability for their public security agencies. The Checklist overall aims to help companies and governments in reducing security-related human rights violations against children and young people around the world.
As part of the next phase, the working group will focus on the development of models, examples, guidance and training materials, to help public and private security providers implement the items identified in the Checklist.
Engaging Stakeholders on Children's Rights
UNICEF's tool Engaging Stakeholders on Children's Rights [PDF] offers guidance to companies on engaging stakeholders on children's rights as part of enhancing their standards and practices at both the corporate and site levels. Engaging stakeholders on children's rights can inform the development of company policies, and human rights due diligence processes (assessing actual and potential human rights impacts, integrating and acting upon the findings, tracking responses and communicating how impacts are addressed), and the development of grievance remediation mechanisms. Stakeholder engagement can also feed into a company's broader sustainability strategy and long-term goals.
This tool provides:
- Guidance to help companies determine the relevance and appropriate level of engagement with stakeholders on children's rights
- Guidance and tools on identifying and prioritizing child rights stakeholders, including children
- Guidance for companies that plan to consult children directly, and how to do so ethically, with appropriate safeguards for children in place