3 June 2013 – Why protecting children on the move matters?
Protecting and fulfilling migrants’ rights is not a matter of charity, not is it a reward for obeying immigration rules states the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Pillay. She calls on the upcoming High-Level Dialogue to put in place an agenda for action on migration, migrants and human rights.
Millions of children are without appropriate care due to violence and abuse, poverty, conflict, parental illness, HIV and AIDS, disability and humanitarian disasters, etc. Such children live in many different circumstances, including being on the move.
International migration has become a large-scale and complex phenomenon and the number of children who are “on the move” is growing dramatically. It is estimated that there are approximately 750 million internal migrants and 214 million international migrants globally today – a number expected to grow to 400 million by 2040. An estimated 33 million international migrants worldwide are under the age of 20 (representing around 16 per cent of the total migrant population) and 11 million are children between the ages of 15 and 19 years.
Many of these migrants are children or young people moving either alone or with their parents, on a permanent or a seasonal basis. These children are invisible and ignored. They are not listened to. They are seen as a threat and not as children. They suffer isolation, prejudice and marginalization. Their mobility increases their vulnerability and risks of being exploited but it can also represents a potential for their future life and personal development if they can benefit from adequate protection along their trip or at destination.
Ms Pillay‘s statement was shared during a UN side-event organized by the permanent mission of Italy and Mexico, the Inter-Agency Group on Children on the Move and Save the Children.The speakers included amongst others high-level panelists, the Mexican Ambassador, the Minister Counsellor of Italy and the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants.
The side-event opened-up a discussion on experiences and lessons learned from interventions focused on children on the move to share views on solutions through policies and concrete and coordinated measures in preparation of the UN High Level Dialogue on International Migration & Development in October 2013.
Ms Vojockova-Sollorano of the International Organisation for Migration highlighted the need of consistent and harmonized approach between countries in protecting migrants which will avoid unaccompanied children to fall through the crack when migrating to other countries.
The Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, M. Crépeau, addressed the negative impact extensive criminalisation of irregular migrants including migrants children can have on migrants. He also added that all key stakeholders should recognize all children under 18 regardless of their status as right holders, that they should be provided with an alternative to detention and ensured they have a proper legal representative.
More on the Background Paper
Children on the move is a subtheme within the Children without Appropriate Care Child Protection priority area. Read Save the Children´s Child Protection Strategy 2013-2015.
29 May 2013 – Quality education for the poorest and most vulnerable children discussed at the Human Right Council
With only two years left to the Millennium Development Goals’ deadline (MDGs), finding ways to tackle inequality and discrimination through a focus on the poorest, most marginalized and vulnerable groups, is fundamental.
One central post-2015 challenge is responding to the learning crisis: around 250 million children are currently failing to acquire basic literacy skills.A second major challenge is reducing educational inequality: the poorest and most marginalized are more likely to be out of school or receive a poor quality education.
In its new report “Ending the hidden exclusion”, Save the Children argues that two key principles should inform education thinking on the post-2015 framework: “learning and equity”.
These two core principles were discussed during a side-event in Geneva which reinforced the importance of including clear goals and targets in the post-2015 framework to ensure that all children everywhere receive quality education and have good learning outcomes by 2030.
Amongst the panellists were the Ambassadors of Australia, Portugal, Qatar and Senegal, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education and the Secretariat of the UN Global Education First Initiative, UNESCO.
The speakers also included a youth representative from the UN Global Education First Initiative Youth Advocacy Group (GEFI-YAG) and a Save the Children representative from the Education Global Initiative.
Attended by Governmental representatives, staff of UN agencies and bodies, representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs), the event sought to build consensus in the international community on the need to secure en education goal in the post-2015 framework.
“Ending the hidden exclusion”
Click here to access the full report (in English)
7 March 2013 - Child right to health at the heart of the Human rights debate.
First the first time in the history of the Human Rights Council, Child right to health was at the center of the debate in Geneva.
This year’s focus on health is the result of close collaboration with concerned member states by Save the Children and World Vision.
The discussions included morning and afternoon panel sessions andRichard Horton, editor of The Lancet, who moderated the discussion, asked to the delegates: What practical, feasible steps can States take to make the intersection between human rights and health work for children?
The morning session examines challenges in achieving the child’s right to health and emphasis was placed on the discrimination that children face while seeking access to health care.
The afternoon panel session focused on the implementation and accountability mechanisms of the child’s right to health. The speakers included Paul Hunt, Professor of Law at the University of Essex and former Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, and Maria Herczog, Member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Thomas Chandy, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children India, addressed the panel to highlight the importance of engaging the community through local accountability mechanisms to deliver substantive impact on child health. “This meeting is an important opportunity to develop concrete recommendations for member states to promote and protect the right of the child to health, and also to highlight the role that civil society can play in encouraging communities, in particular children, to claim their right to health,” notes Chandy.
From right to left, Division director; T. Chandy, CEO Save the Children India; I.de la Mata, Directorate-General Health and Consumers, European Commission; P.Hunt, Professor of Law; R.Horton, editor The Lancet
Paul Hunt, former Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, highlighted some key enablers, such as enshrining the right to health in national constitutions, translating the right into a package of health services, actively engaging with civil society, and allowing remedial action through national courts. WHO is launching a new report at the upcoming 66th World Health Assembly, which will include country case studies to exemplify that impressive health gains can be achieved through human rights.
We delivered an oral statement stressing our priorities including equity and access to health care, nutrition and accountability.
Save The Children will continue to follow the negotiations on the child health resolution to ensure our priorities are included and that the Council commits to devoting attention to child mortality as a human rights issue in its future sessions.
5 March 2013 - How to ensure Child's right to health in a fragile context ?
A very exciting discussion happened in Geneva within the context of the 22nd session of the Human Rights Council.
Organized by Save the Children and World Vision, the debate focused on the Child’s right to health through adequate nutrition and how it can be ensured in a fragile context.
Amongst the panelists were the Canadian, the Mexican and the Yemeni ambassadors.
The speakers also included our EVERY ONE Campaign Advisor from Mali, a Senior Policy Adviser for World Vision and a Child from Haiti who talked on behalf of World Vision.
The Canadian ambassador pointed out that Geneva is the right place to be tackling the issue of Malnutrition but that the international community should be more ambitious in scaling up nutrition.
The event was very well attended, with a variety of missions, NGOs and UN agencies present. The presence in the audience of high profile figures such as the Sierra Leonean ambassador, the Haitian ambassador and the Deputy coordinator for UNICEF-Global nutrition Cluster shows the profile of engagement on the issue of nutrition. Contributions from the floor from these and other figures added to the excellent panel speakers.
See the event report.
18 February 2013 – ‘Superfood for Babies' – New report’s launch
Breastfeeding saves lives. It’s the closest thing there is to a ‘silver bullet’ in the fight against malnutrition and newborn deaths.
Through a series of launch events around the world, Save the Children released its new report « Superfood for Babies - How overcoming barriers to breastfeeding will save children’s lives ».
The report shares the latest evidence on global breastfeeding trends and ways in which the key barriers to breastfeeding can be overcome. It says that the lives of 95 babies could be saved every hour -‐ 830,000 a year -‐ if new mothers around the world breastfed immediately after giving birth. It also highlights questionable marketing practices adopted by some breast milk substitute companies active in emerging markets.
In Geneva, a global capital for nutrition policy, the occasion was marked by a roundtable which gathered together institutions and individuals who have a lead role on this issue. More than 50 people attended the event including missions, NGOs and UN agencies.
Elisabeth Dahlin, the Secretary General from Save the Children Sweden who presented the report said she was astonished that so little progress was made to prevent newborn deaths. If mothers were to breastfeed within the first hour of birth, twenty-two percent of these deaths could be prevented.
The panelists from PMNCH, WHO and UNICEF welcomed the report for its synthesis of the problem and specific recommendations and actions at different levels that it outlines.
From right to left : Vilma Tyler, UNICEF - Bernadette Daelmans, WHO - Andres de Francisco, PMNCH (Chair), Elisabeth Dahlin, Save the Children Sweden and Simon Wright, Save the Children UK
28 November 2012 - UN Universal Periodic Review preparatory session:
Serbia and Montenegro
On November 28th, Save the Children supported national child rights coalitions from Serbia and Montenegro at a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) pre-session in Geneva. They presented their key child rights concerns to the representatives of the United Nations Missions. Other countries we supported at that session included Romania.
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process. It involves a review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States every four and a half years, to ensure they fulfil their human rights obligations. The UPR pre-sessions enable Civil Society Organisations to meet delegations and share with them their assessment of the human rights situation in the country under review ahead of UPR sessions.
Save the Children supports and coordinates UPR advocacy with countries offices and coalitions that wish to submit information on child rights to the UPR process.
For the preparatory sessions of the Republic of Serbia, the Coalition representative spoke of the need to ban corporal punishment of children as a method of discipline in the family, problems within the juvenile justice system and the obstacles in the development of an inclusive society. The statement of the Coalition representative can be found here.
From the right to the left, Marija Petrovic on behalf of the Coalition for Monitoring Child Rights in the Republic of Serbia and the Child Rights Centre, Milan Antonijevic from the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights - YUCOM and Vesna Petrovic from Belgrade Center for Human Rights.
For the preparatory sessions of Montenegro took part (from the right to the left):
* Ms. Zdenka Perovic, Secretary General, Ombudsman of Montenegro,
* Ms. Maja Jovovic Schmidt, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Montenegro to the UN office and other International Organizations in Geneve
* Ms. Edina Hasanaga Cobaj, Executive Director, NGO Civic Aliance
* Mr. Milan Radovic, Human Rights Program Coordinator , NGO Civic Aliance
* Ms. Maja Maras, Advisor for International Cooperation and Public Relations, Ombudsman of Montenegro
* Ms. Diarra Diop, Save the Children Geneva Office
The oral statement presented by Diarra Diop on behalf of the NGO Coalition, can be foundhere.
5-6 november 2012 - Interpretation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child – General Comment
A Regional consultation for the clarification of the Child Rights to Health (article 24) from the Convention of the Rights of the Child was held in Manila from 5-6 november.
This Regional consultation attended by Bangladesh, Indonesia, China, Philippines helped to design the General Comment on the Article 24 . The process of developing a General Comment on the Child Rights to Health was launched in February 2011 by the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in partnership with WHO, UNICEF, World Vision and Save the Children.
20 September 2012 – Improving Maternal and Child Health through good budgeting practices
A “Budget, rights, maternal and child health” side-event discussion organized by the Save the Children Geneva Office, explored the linkages between budgets, accountability and human rights frameworks for improving maternal and child health. It was also an opportunity to share and gather best practices on budgeting and on the use of budget analysis by civil society to monitor state performance and advocate for change in budgetary allocations.
The event was held during the 21st Human Rights Council where a technical guidance on applying a human rights approach to reducing maternal mortality and morbidity was introduced.
Among the panellists and as part of the Local to Global project, we invited a local level « champion » from the District Health Office in Lufwanyama, Zambia as well as the Deputy Director of Save the Children in Zambia to share their experiences. They highlighted some of the key concerns and challenges with regards to budgeting for child and maternal health at district and national level.
Participation by communities was highlighted as being essential; both at local and national level to ensure that decisions on budgeting reflect the concerns and needs of the affected communities. This can be encouraged through training in child rights for Government officials and communities. As the representative from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said: “Communities need to be empowered to ask why they only get that much money […]. They need to create demand and in time this will be supplied.”
The Health Advocacy Adviser from Save the Children UK also presented the new advocacy toolkit on health sector budget advocacy, which helps demystify the budget process, and highlights the importance of a bottom up approach.
Click here for a full report of the event.
22 May 2012 – Side-Event on “Improving Child Health Outcomes: The Universal Periodic Review”
The Geneva Office organized a side-event together with World Vision during the 13th session of the Universal Periodic Review on the use of a human rights mechanisms (the UPR) to improve child health outcomes. The event attracted both a human rights and public health audience, given the timing of the UPR and World Health Assembly during the same week – a rare opportunity to bring both audiences together.
As part of the Local to Global project, Shailey Hingorani from Save the Children India was among the panelists to highlight the two key health recommendations which figured in our submission to the UPR: 1 – to increase the national health budget and specifically the amount allocated to maternal and child health, and 2 – to ensure access to affordable quality health services for mothers and children, including through the recruitment of frontline health workers. These messages were reinforced in a meeting with the Indian Ambassador in Geneva, Mr. Dilip Sinha, the following day. The team in India also met with the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Manmohan Singh, that same week to reinforce yet again these messages on child and maternal health.
As a result of our continued advocacy through this and other events, our health recommendations were reflected in several State recommendations during the UPR Review of India.
21 May 2012 – World Health Assembly Side-Event on “Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition: Global Targets and National Success Stories”
Over 100 people attended the event hosted by the Mexican Mission at the height of the World Health Assembly.
Presenters included Francesco Branca from the WHO on the global nutrition targets, Rica Garde from Save UK on the stunting research and Kate Eardley from World Vision on an example from Uganda on scaling up nutrition.
Through the Local to Global Project, we were also able to secure the participation of a key nutrition advocate within the Ministry of Health in Afghanistan to share the Afghan example on addressing child malnutrition.
The event and discussion helped to influence the debate on the Implementation Plan on Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition. Many countries present at the event ended up leading the negotiations on the nutrition resolution which endorsed the Implementation Plan and therefore the six global nutrition targets, including the target on stunting.
20 April 2012 – “Lessons in Leadership: Save the Children’s experience of co-leading the Education Cluster” Report Launch
“We don’t often have lessons that are so applicable and relevant to our work. We hope others will build on Save the Children’s Lessons in Leadership and follow their example.” John Ging | Director Coordination and Response Division, OCHA
Lessons in Leadership: Save the Children’s experience of co-leading the Education Cluster captures the highlights from the four years of our co-leadership, both at a global and country level. The report includes a preface by Valerie Amos, Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, reiterating her support for the Education Cluster and the importance of shared UN and NGO co-leadership.
The report is based on face-to-face and phone interviews with more than 40 individuals working directly with and alongside the Education Cluster at country, regional and global levels and represents the wealth of our combined experiences and understanding.
The launch was held at United Nations Office in Geneva on Friday 20 April at an event hosted by the Dutch Mission to the UN and moderated by their Deputy Ambassador. Mike Penrose participated in the panel discussion along with guest speaker, John Ging, the Director of OCHA’s Coordination and Response Division, Dermot Carty, UNICEF’s Deputy Director of Emergency Operations. We also heard from Marian Hodgkin, Education Cluster Co-Coordinator in South Sudan. The launch was well attended by UN agencies, NGOs and UN member states, including representatives from Switzerland, Japan, Mexico, Australia, Canada and ECHO.
Utilising the lessons we have learned
The overwhelming message coming from all participants at the launch was the importance of NGOs taking a strong role in strengthening humanitarian response and the Education Cluster was held up as a model to be replicated. The calibre of the presenters on the panel and the high level of interest from donors, the UN and other organisations in this event further demonstrate that our co-leadership of the Education Cluster enhances our credibility as a humanitarian organisation and provides us unparalleled access, profile and leverage for our humanitarian work.
As Cluster co-leads we must take the opportunity to voice our beliefs in how the leadership and co-ordination of humanitarian aid should implemented. We believe Lessons in Leadership is an excellent tool which can be used to support advocacy discussions for increased overall support for education in emergencies.
If you would like hard copies, please contact the Education Cluster Unit with the number of reports you would like and an address and contact name to send them to.
5 March 2012 – “The right to nutrition: key to children’s health and survival” Human Rights Council side-event discussion
Jointly organised with World Vision, the event featured the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier de Schutter, an Indian parliamentarian Dr Charles Dias as part of the close Local to Global link with India, and Ben Phillips, our Everyone Campaign Mobilisation Director.
The side event served to further explore how human rights can reinforce efforts to promote access to adequate diets, one of the most urgent challenges facing the world today. The figures speak for themselves. Hunger and malnutrition contribute to one third of all deaths among children under the age of five. One in three children in the developing world suffer from chronic malnutrition, with malnourished girls later delivering low birth weight babies, reinforcing a vicious intergenerational cycle of high maternal and child mortality.
The event was very well attended, with a variety of missions, NGOs and UN agencies present. The presence in the audience of high profile figures such as David Nabarro (Special Representative of the Secretary General for Nutrition and Food Security) and Francesco Branca (WHO Director, Nutrition for Health and Development) was indicative of the timeliness and profile of engagement on the issue of the right to nutrition. Contributions from the floor from these and other figures added to the excellent panel speakers. See the event report and watch the speakers’ video interviews about the right to food.
28 February 2012 – Official UN signing ceremony of a third optional protocol to the UNCRC
The signing ceremony took place during the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva opening the Protocol for signature and ratification .
For the first time and more than twenty years after the official recognition of their rights, children are provided with the possibility to access justice at the international level through a newly adopted complaints procedure to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The adoption of this new international treaty by the UN General Assembly on 19 December 2011 will allows individuals, groups or their representatives, claiming that their rights have been violated by a State that is a party to a Convention, to bring a communication before the relevant UN treaty body; provided that the State has accepted the procedure and that the complainants have exhausted domestic remedies.
The signing ceremony at the United Nations is the result of active campaigning by an NGO coalition representing child rights and human rights NGOs across the world since 2006. The NGO coalition campaigned for this new instrument to offer children a level of protection equivalent to that provided to adults at the UN level.
Twenty States from across the world, namely Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Finland, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Maldives, Mali, Montenegro, Morocco, Peru, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Uruguay, demonstrated strong leadership and political commitment to protecting children’s rights by signing the Protocol today.
This is an important first step, but those States will still need to ratify the Protocol in order to be bound by its provisions and at least ten countries must ratify the Protocol before it can be used.
15 February 2012 – Launch of Save the Children new global report on child malnutrition
New global survey shows that, following year of rocketing food prices, nearly half of surveyed families are forced to cut back on food and children do not have enough food to eat.
Through a series of launch events around the world, Save the Children released the new report ‘A Life Free from Hunger: Tackling Child Malnutrition’ that sets out the scale and dimensions of malnutrition globally, its impact on child mortality and development, and the policy solutions that can tackle malnutrition and boost child survival. See the full report.
In Geneva, a global capital for nutrition policy, the occasion was marked by a roundtable which gathered together institutions and individuals who have a lead role on this issue, drawing attention to the need for committed action around the world. See the event report.
19 December 2011 – Adoption of a third optional protocol to the UNCRC
The UN General Assembly has taken a remarkable historical step forward for the protection of children’s rights by adopting the Optional Protocol (OP) to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on a complaints mechanism for children’s rights violations.
This Protocol will enable children who are victims of abuses and violations of their rights to submit complaints to the Committee on the Rights of the Child. A wide range of cases will be able to be brought to the attention of the international community – from child soldiers in Africa to children from minority groups who are discriminated against in Europe, from children who are forced into sexual exploitation, to those who are denied a fundamental right such as health or education – thus breaking the silence around these violations and forcing States to take responsibility for children.
Save the Children with over 80 international and national NGOs have been campaigning for many years to offer children a level of protection equivalent to that provided to adults by other core human rights treaties. Now that the international legal framework is created, the NGO coalition is dedicated to campaigning for the widespread ratification of the Protocol and making sure it is used to make a real difference in the struggle to protect children around the world.