Children's Human Rights: Progress And Challenges for Children Worldwide edited by Mark Ensalaco, Linda C. Majka (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers) (Paperback) Each day, countless children around the world are exposed to dangers that hamper their growth and development. They suffer immensely as casualties of war. . . . Each day, millions of children suffer from the scourges of poverty and economic crisisfrom hunger and homelessness, from epidemics and illiteracy, from the degradation of the environment. . . . Each day 40,000 die from malnutrition and disease, including immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), from lack of clean water and inadequate sanitation. World Declaration on the Survival, Protection, and Development of Children and Plan of Action for Implementing the World Declaration (adopted by the World Summit for Children in New York, 30 September 1990)
Children are the future. Investing in children's education, health, and wellbeing and protecting them from harm and exploitation strengthens local communities and contributes to sustainable national development. Nothing could be simpler. But the reality for children in much of the world is stark, and powerlessness obscures their condition. In 1990 world leaders taking part in the World Summit for Children noted that "each day, countless children around the world are exposed to dangers that hamper their growth and development." Twelve years later, when the UN General Assembly met in a special session to renew the appeal to the international community to give every child a better future, the condition of many of the world's children had not appreciably changed.
Appearing fifteen years after the United Nations World Summit for Children in 1990 and three years after the UN General Assembly special session on children in 2002, this book is an edited collection of ten chapters of original interdisciplinary research conducted by scholars from the social sciences, law, education, and public administration. The book takes as its frame of reference the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the two optional protocols to the CRC, other treaties and resolutions, and the declarations and plans of action of the 1990 World Summit and the 2002 UN General Assembly special session on children (found in A World Fit for Children). Using different methodologies and theoretical frameworks, the researchers examine the global challenges to the well-being of children, as well as the public policies, community initiatives, and advocacy strategies that best protect children and promote their development.
The chapters in the book reflect different disciplinary, theoretical, and methodological perspectives but share two core assumptions. First, it is critically important to take a human rights approach to the problems confronting children. This premise defines the normative dimension of the research presented here. A human rights approach to the problems confronting children rejects the presumption that children are entitled to only those rights that governments grant them, that the dominant culture will tolerate, or that the market will bear. States have the individual obligation to implement all the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child through effective national action, and the international community has the collective obligation to honor all the resolutions adopted at the 1990 World Summit on Children and the 2002 special session of the UN General Assembly through effective international cooperation.
The human rights approach transforms the cost-benefit analysis that too often dominates public policy debates about children. While it is critically important to implement cost-effective programs to promote the education, health, and nutrition of children and to protect them from harm and exploitation, cost cannot be the overriding criterion in the public policy debates about investments in children. For states, fulfilling their obligations under the CRC means redefining budgetary priorities for example, by redirecting military expenditures to education, health care, nutrition, and other social programs. For the world's wealthiest states, honoring the commitments of the World Summit and UN General Assembly special session means allocating more development assistance for poor countries and taking other measures to ensure that globalization ameliorates rather than exacerbates the problems affecting children.
Ultimately, the survival, protection, and development of children depend on poverty reduction and the narrowing of the social and economic inequalities that adversely affect children around the world. Poverty and inequality hamper the development of children everywhere and force them into situations that expose them to harm and exploitation. The reality described in this volume is that poverty and inequality harm children in rich states as well as poor ones. A human rights approach to the problems affecting children reaffirms the principle of the indivisibility of human rights: it is impossible to give a better life to all children without promoting their economic, social, and cultural rights, as well as protecting their civil and political rights.
Second, interdisciplinary research is indispensable for policymaking and human rights advocacy. This premise defines the empirical dimension of the chapters in this book. Empirical research into the condition of the world's children is critical to situate both policy analysis and human rights analysis in the real-life circumstances of children, to document the many systemic injustices that harm children and hamper their development, and to give specificity and force to abstract human rights principles and norms. Interdisciplinary research is necessary to reveal the gulf between human rights theory and the reality in which children live. Moreover, interdisciplinary research can evaluate the human rights impact of public policies, as well as the effectiveness of human rights advocacy strategies and community-based initiatives intended to promote the well-being of children. These research streams are complementary because human rights advocacy is primarily oriented toward altering or improving public policy. A core assumption of this book, in other words, is that knowledge is a prerequisite of the effective action that the international community must take to complete the unfinished agenda of the 1990 World Summit for Children.
Part I, Children's Rights in International Law, examines the evolution of international norms relating to children and the critical role of nongovernmental organizations in drafting the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and litigating on behalf of children in the European and American courts for human rights using the CRC as the interpretive guide. As noted in chapter 1, the drafting and near-universal ratification of the CRC represent real progress. (To date, only Somalia and the United States have not ratified the convention.) It had taken the international community more than sixty years, since the League of Nations adopted the first Declaration on the Rights of the Child in 1924, to establish children's rights in international law. Similarly, the ability of nongovernmental organizations to push for the conclusion of two optional protocols to the CRC on, one, the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography; and, two, the involvement of children in armed conflict strengthens the normative framework for children's rights and therefore represents real progress. Moreover, human rights NGOs have succeeded in incorporating references to children in the declarations and plans of action of six world conferences since the adoption of the CRC. As a result of all these efforts, the best interests of children are now squarely on the international agenda. Finally, in this regard, the willingness of the European and American courts of human rights to use the CRC in making its rulings on a range of issues indicates that the convention is beginning to acquire the force of law in practice as well as theory. However, global implementation of the CRC and achievement of the goals of the 1990 World Summit for Children and the 2002 UN General Assembly special session will ultimately require that the rights of children be integrated into national and international strategies of economic development.
Part II, Children in a Dangerous World, examines two grave challenges to the survival, protection, and development of childrenthe trafficking of children for sexual exploitation and the use of child soldiers as well as efforts of nongovernmental and civic organizations to improve the well-being of children in three specific settings. Chapters 4 and 5 document the physical and psychological harm to children resulting from the economic dislocation that makes children vulnerable to traffickers and the ethnic conflicts that expose children to the scourge of modern war. These chapters reveal the huge gap between the norms codified in the CRC; the optional protocols on the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography and the involvement of children in armed conflict; and the reality in which thousands of children live and die. Chapters 6 and 7 examine the efforts of nongovernmental and civic organizations to confront dangers to children at the local level in Nicaragua, Mexico, and the United States. These chapters highlight the need for civil society to take action to implement the CRC and to protect and promote the well-being of children. Ultimately, they speak to the need to build communities around the principles of social justice and human rights. The challenges are immense. Nongovernmental organizations are forced to take action where local and national governments have neglected their obligations to children and to struggle against the tide of globalization. The authors consider an array of strategic choices and forms of engagement in a realistic assessment of the opportunities and challenges of promoting compliance with the CRC. The ability of human rights NGOs to develop innovative advocacy strategies and community-based initiatives is going to be critical to the achievement of the goals of the UN General Assembly special session on children.
Part III, "Children's Rights in the United States," examines two practices that harm the life chances of children in the United Statesthe exploitation of children in migrant farm labor and the disturbing trends in the administration of juvenile justiceas well as efforts to promote human rights education in American schools. The refusal of the United States to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child does not mean that human rights and children's rights advocates cannot make normative judgments about the failures of the world's wealthiest advanced democracy to protect children. To the contrary, the United States' moral obligation to children, if not its treaty obligation, is sharpened by its insistence on criticizing the human rights records of otherstates. The research presented in chapters 8 and 9 reveals failure to meet those obligations. The unacceptably high levels of risk and harm to minor teen and child farm workers violate the norms established in the CRC, as well the International Labour Organization's Convention 182 on the worst forms of child labor. The widespread practice of processing juveniles as adults, sentencing them to lengthy prison terms, incarcerating them with adults, and sentencing minors to life without parole violate the CRC's provisions relating to juvenile justice as well as provisions of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Chapter 10 discusses the challenges of human rights education in the world's most advanced democracy. Two facts stand out about education in America. The U.S. education system is marked by vast disparities of funding and quality of education, a fact with obvious human rights implications. At the same time, human rights education has yet to be meaningfully incorporated into the K-12 curriculum in the United States, perhaps because of the unsettling issues related to the United States' refusal to ratify all the major human rights treaties or to implement fully the treaty commitments the United States has assumed.
Global implementation of the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child is the measure of the international community's professed commitment to making a world fit for children. Implementation is the central concern of this book, as the chapters look backward and forward. We look backward to assess the progress made in the decade between the adoption of the CRC and the World Summit for Children and the subsequent UN General Assembly special session on children. We look forward to 2015, when the international community will again report on the progress madeand identify the obstacles that obstruct more speedy achievement. At this midway point, educators, advocates, and policymakers need to understand the importance of taking a human rights approach to the problems affecting the well-being of children.
Crueler Tyrannies: Accusation, False Witness, and
Other Terrors of Our Times by Dorothy Rabinowitz (Wall Street Journal Press) In
1742, Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, wrote, "There is no
crueler tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of law and in
the name of justice." Two hundred forty-three years later, in 1985, Dorothy
Rabinowitz, a syndicated columnist and television commentator, encountered the
case of a New Jersey day care worker named Kelly Michaels, accused of 280 counts
of sexually abusing nursery school children -- and exposed the first of the
Crueler Tyrannies recalls
the hysteria that accompanied the child sex-abuse witch-hunts of the 1980s and
1990s: how a single anonymous phone call could bring to bear an army of
recovered-memory therapists, venal and ambitious prosecutors, and hypocritical
judges -- an army that jailed hundreds of innocent Americans. The overarching
story of No
Crueler Tyrannies is
that of the Amirault family, who ran the Fells Acres day care center in
Crueler Tyrannies is
at once a truly frightening and at the same time inspiring book, documenting how
these citizens, who became targets of the justice system in which they had so
much faith, came to comprehend that their lives could be destroyed, that they
could be sent to prison for years -- even decades. No Crueler Tyrannies
shows the complicity of the courts, their hypocrisy and indifference to the
claims of justice, but also the courage of those willing to challenge the
runaway prosecutors and the strength of those who have endured their
Privacy Card: A Low Cost Strategy to Combat Terrorism by Joseph W.
Eaton, Amitai Etzioni (Rowan & Littlefield) Certainly the events of 9/11
have forced the
text is thought provoking and highlights many approaches to widespread adoption
of some form of metrics. He discusses a system involving what we might call
triangulation: (1) the individual, (2) his documentation, (3) a database. Such a
system of identification could ensure accurate identification.
recognizes the importance of national identification cards and in The
Privacy Card has the guts to say so, even when it may be an unpopular
position to take.
and Human Rights: The International Rules for the Protection of
Biodiversity by Elli Louka (Transnational Publishers) It is
a common belief that species are becoming extinct due to forest destruction and
other threats to the biosphere. Because of this belief, policies and regulations
have been enacted to protect and preserve biodiversity. Unfortunately these
policies are frequently flawed due to their notion that biodiversity is a static
condition. They conflict with the livelihood of indigenous peoples and promote
nationalistic control over biodiversity resources.
The author of this study proposes a fundamental review of biodiversity protection policies. Instead of conservation/preservation, a shift to attention to ecosystem management with human rights and human dignity at the center is recommended. This study prescribes a comprehensive system for the protection of biodiversity. Human rights standards, free trade in wildlife and regulated free access to plant genetic resources are proposed as the elements of this system.
Practitioners and scholars concerned with environmental issues, human rights, and sustainable development problems will find this work of great interest.
The Prevention of Human Rights Violations edited by Linos-Alexander Sicilianos ; Christiane Bourloyannis-Vrailas (International Studies in Human Rights, V. 67: Kluwer Law) The persistence of human rights violations around the world clearly demonstrates the need to focus more attention on preventive action.
Consequently, international organizations are increasingly strengthening the preventive dimension of their human rights activities. Preventive mechanisms have also emerged and continue to gain ground at the national level.
These new realities, however, seem to have received little attention by the academic community. Yet they raise many important issues, which need to be further explored. The above considerations prompted the Marangopoulos Foundation for Human Rights to mark its twentieth anniversary by organizing an International Colloquy on the topic of the prevention of human rights violations.
The present Volume contains contributions by the participants, based on the reports they presented at the Colloquy, substantially revised and updated. It constitutes the first attempt at a systematic analysis of the subject of the prevention of human rights violations, focusing on the following five aspects: conventional regimes, non-conventional monitoring mechanisms, international commissioners and Ombudsmen, national Ombudsmen and human rights institutions and the development of a human rights culture. It closes with a theoretical synthesis of the various approaches to the prevention of human rights violations, focusing on the context, the concept and function, as well as methods and techniques of prevention. [Review pending]
Contents & Contributors:
Southern Journey: A Return to the Civil Rights Movement by Tom Dent What significant changes, if any, have resulted from the enormous efforts of the 1960s civil rights movement? To find out, in 1991 Tom Dent took a grassroots journey through today's South, revisiting the places where protesters and their supporters took a stand for equality. For Dent, an African American who grew up in New Orleans one generation before desegregation, this journey became a personal one, as he explored his own reasons for leaving the South and for returning home. His interviews with blacks, whites, civil rights workers, and everyday citizens recount their personal experiences of the demonstrations and protests that shaped the movement and the impressions these events left on their communities.
Dent shows how the civil rights movement continues its positive influences on people's lives, but he also demonstrates that equality has not yet been fully realized. Through his portrayal of everyday people and their experiences and through his own memories, Dent offers a story of discovery and hope that invites us to see and feel how the civil rights movement still shapes our world today.
Author: Tom Dent (1932-1998) served as public information director for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund during the civil rights movement and later as executive director of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation. He wrote or edited several books, including two volumes of poetry and the play Ritual Murder.No Human Rights Possible without Religious Rights!
HUMAN RIGHTS IN GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE: Religious Perspectives
by John Witte Jr. (Editor), Johan D. Van Der Vyver (Editor)($192.50, Hardcover, Martinus Nijhoff, ISBN: 9041101764) PAPER $ 29.95 9041101799
HUMAN RIGHTS IN GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE:
by J. D. Van Der Vyver (Editor), John Witte (Editor)
($192.50, Hardcover, Martinus Nijhoff, ISBN: 9041101772) PAPER $ 29.95 9041101802
Now that a noninstitutional priced edition is available these useful studies will find more readers. At the close of the second millennium, the world is torn by crisis and tumult by a moral Armageddon, if not a military one. With the memories of world wars, gulags, and the Holocaust still fresh in our minds, we see the bloody slaughter of Rwanda and the Sudan, the tragic genocide of the Balkans, the massive unrest of the Middle East, Western Africa, Latin America, and the former Soviet bloc. On every continent, we see clashes between movements of incremental political unification and radical balkanization, gentle religious ecumenism and radical fundamentalism, sensitive cultural integration and rabid diversification, sensible moral pluralization and shocking moral relativism. Even in the ostensibly peaceful societies of the West, bitter culture wars have aligned defenders of various old orders against an array of social, legal, and cultural deconstructionists. "Cultural conflicts are increasing and are more dangerous today than at any other time in history," Czech President Vaclav Havel declared in 1994. "The end of the era of rationalism has been catastrophic, [for now] the members of various tribal cults are at war with one another.... The abyss between the rational and the internal, the objective and the subjective, the technical and the moral, the universal and the unique constantly grows deeper."
These companion volumes take the measure and test the meaning of religious human rights, using the methods and insights of religion and law, theology and jurisprudence. One volume on the religious sources and dimensions of religious rights, the other volume takes up the legal sources and dimensions of religious rights as human rights. Comprehensive analysis of this topic, of course, properly requires a score of volumes thicker than these two. Selection, truncation, and distillation are necessary evils. The editors have restricted their analysis to the three religions of the Book and the four corners of the Atlantic. In the volume on religion, they focus on religious discussions included in the human rights values, that have thus acquired universal endorsement. These are the ones associated with the notion of religious freedom.
Both volumes offer a religious perspectives as part of an ongoing project on religion,
democracy, and human rights undertaken by the Law and Religion Program at Emory
University. The 22 papers in Legal Perspectives volume cover a comparative framework and
methodological foundations for discussing religious liberty; the role of the UN, secular
non-governmental organizations, and the media; a draft model law on freedom of religion;
and tensions and ideals. They also report from a wide range of countries and regions,
including Germany, eastern Europe and the Balkans,
Russia, Africa, Latin and Central America, and the US. Except for the Middle East, Asia is not considered. In the Religious Perspectives volume, written mostly by North American scholars of law or religion, 19 papers examine what sacred texts and church authorities in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have to say about religious freedom. Among the topics are a historical perspective, Biblical legal thought, human rights in
the church, women and children in the three religions, a Jewish tradition for respecting dissenter rights in religious communities, an apologia for religious human rights, and identity and difference in terms of religious and cultural rights.
It is time for us to take religious rights seriously to shake off our political indifference and parochial self-interest and to address the plight and protection of people of all faiths. It is time to "exorcise the demons of religious intolerance' that have beset both religious and non-religious peoples around the world and to exercise the "golden rules" of religious rights, doing unto other religious believers and beliefs what we would have done to us and ours.
Human rights norms provide no panacea to the world crisis, but they are a critical part of any solution. Religions are not easy allies to engage, but the struggle for human rights cannot be won without them. For human rights norms are inherently abstract ideals, universal statements of the good life and the good society. They depend upon the visions of human communities and institutions to give them content and coherence, to provide "the scale of values governing the exercise and concrete manifestation. Religion is an ineradicable condition of human lives and communities; religions invariably provide universal sources and "scales of values" by which many persons and communities govern themselves. Religions must thus be seen as indispensable allies in the modem struggle for human rights. To exclude them from the struggle is impossible, and indeed catastrophic. To include them to enlist their unique resources and to protect their unique rights is vital to enhancing and advancing the regime of human rights.
The ancient teachings and practices of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have much to commend themselves, as the chapters in these volumes amply demonstrate. Each tradition has produced a number of the basic building blocks of a comprehensive theory and law of religious human rights conscience, dignity, reason, liberty, equality, tolerance, love, openness, responsibility, justice, mercy, righteousness, accountability, covenant, community, among other cardinal concepts.
These companion volumes are important contributions to understanding of religious human rights throughout the world. With understanding, we hope will come improvement.
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