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International Children’s Rights Symposium

Year: 2018
Topic: International, Legislation
Author: Dr Susan Elsley, Dr Ian Milligan

This report captures the main themes of our international symposium on children's rights that took place in June 2017 at the University of Strathclyde. The event was part of our partnership with the Institute for Inspiring Children's Futures.

The event brought together an unprecedented gathering of people who are committed to shaping and promoting children's rights from across the world. Delegates and speakers included those who had been instrumental in the development of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children; and those currently working on the realisation of children's rights in Scotland, the UK and internationally.

The event reflected on the progress and successes in realising children's rights so far, clarifying what must be our focus to address the challenges ahead. The symposium called for children's rights champions 'to continue to be bold' working for the realisation of children's rights.

The report, and supporting films, aim to be a record of the conversations and main themes emerging from the event. This is one of a number of tools we have developed to support organisations and individuals globally in delivering the Guidelines.

Speaker and Delegate Vox Pops

We asked a number of the contributing speakers and delegates their views in relation to some of the questions that were looked at throughout the day.


Which Children’s Rights have been most difficult to promote?

What are the most effective strategies to press governments to prioritise childcare reform?

What practical steps can we take to advance children’s rights further?

Where is children's rights advocacy needed most?

Main Conference

Opening remarks: Professor Jennifer Davidson, Executive Director of the Institute of Inspiring Children’s Futures

The day began with an introduction by Jennifer Davidson, Executive Director of the Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures and Chrissie Gale, International Lead at CELCIS.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

This session considered the development and implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It was led by:

  • Florence Bruce, Former Director of the Child Abuse Programme, Oak Foundation
  • Ann Skelton, Director of Centre for Child Law, University of Pretoria
  • Jaap Doek, Chairperson, Supervisory Board of Child Helpline International.

Development of the guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children

This session considered the development and implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It was led by:

  • Dr Nigel Cantwell, International Consultant
  • Alexandra Yuster, Associate Director, Programme Division, Section Chief, Social Inclusion and Policy, UNICEF
  • Murilo Vieira Komniski, Advisor to the Director, Brazilian Cooperation Agency, Ministry of External Relations, Brazil.

The Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children

This session introduced participants of the Symposium to the recently formed Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children led by the partnerships Director, Susan Bissell, the Director a.i. for the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children.

The State and Their Commitment

This session explored the role of the State in the commitment to and, realisation of, children's rights. It was led by:

  • Bruce Adamson, Children and Young People's Commissioner for Scotland
  • Rosemary McCreery, Former Head of UNICEF Russia and Belarus.

The Future

This session involved a panel session of young adults with experience of care from across Europe and students of social work from the University of Strathclyde looking at the future of alternative care, drawing on symposium discussion.

The closing remarks were delivered by: Dr Nigel Cantwell, International Consultant and Professor Jennifer Davidson, Executive Director of the Institute for Inspiring Children's Futures.

We talked about alignment and the importance of collaboration.

Related resources

CELCIS is committed to the implementation of the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, which sets the international standards relevant to children’s care. We have developed a number of tools and resources to support organisations and individuals globally in delivering the Guidelines.

Moving Forward: Implementing the ‘Guidelines for the alternative care of children’, implementation handbook and online resource for practitioners, organisations and governments across the globe who are seeking to provide the best possible rights-based care for all children.

Tracking Progress: Measuring the implementation of the UN Guidelines, a free online tool to determine the extent to which a region has implemented the UN Guidelines and to support the setting of prioritise for next steps to advance the quality of children's care.

Getting Care Right for All Children, free massive online open course (MOOC) which delves into what the UN Guidelines look like in practice.

Contact us

University of Strathclyde, Curran Building, Level 6
94 Cathedral St, Glasgow G4 0LG
0141 444 8500
celcis@strath.ac.uk

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