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Rights CRINMAIL 42

23 September 2008 - Rights CRINMAIL 42



To read this CRINMAIL online, go to:

Rights CRINMAIL is a component of a project of the Child Rights Information Network (CRIN). It is published monthly with the purpose of informing and building the community of practitioners in rights-based programming. Your submissions are welcome. To contribute, email us

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CRIN: Non-discrimination - the advocates’ toolkit [project and call for feedback]

CRIN is planning an overhaul of its rights-based approaches to programming website. Information on the site will be retained and refined and its navigation brought into the 21st century. The site will also play host to a new related project on children’s right to non-discrimination. This edition of CRINMAIL offers an outline of the new project, tells you how you can participate and asks for your feedback.

What is the project?

CRIN is developing a new portal on children’s right to non-discrimination to be launched early next year. The website starts from the premise that children are discriminated against by virtue of their age. The aim is to deepen understanding about how discrimination impacts on all children’s rights and serve as a platform for child rights advocates to promote an inclusive environment for all children.

Children as a group are discriminated against in most societies because they have less power than adults. They face direct and indirect discrimination. In many countries for example, children can be hit by adults as a form of correction – a practice which is called assault when applied to adults and punishable by law. In cases of indirect discrimination, barriers prevent all children from being included, for example ramps may not be installed in schools for children with disabilities.

And yet, it is not widely accepted that children experience age discrimination. Action is therefore needed to challenge the particular ways children experience discrimination.

This web resource will include: advocacy and legal tools, best practice examples of youth-led advocacy, online learning and a campaigns centre.


To date, efforts to address discrimination against children have focused on particular groups of children who are more likely to experience discrimination, such as girls or children with disabilities. This approach locates the problem with the individual child or group of children. This means solutions centre on making ‘special provisions’ for the child instead of on creating an inclusive environment for all children.

This portal takes a new approach to children’s right to non-discrimination,
focusing on removing legal, environmental and attitudinal barriers to promote an inclusive environment in which all children can participate equally and receive equal protection under the law with adults. While there is a need for services to be appropriate to age or other difference, this should not take away from the idea of equality.

How can I participate?

  • tell us about your organisation’s creative ways of programming for non-discrimination;
  • keep us informed about any issues of concern relating to discrimination against children in your country;
  • let us know if there is any information you would like which would support you in your work.

How does this fit in with the rights-based approaches to programming (RBA) website?

As the principle of non-discrimination is fundamental to rights-based approaches to programming, CRIN’s current RBA site will be divided in two to host this new toolkit. This aims to strengthen the link between policy-making and programming for non-discrimination, while retaining and improving the information already available on the rba site.

While we review the RBA website, please let us know whether you would like to continue receiving this CRINMAIL by emailing To unsubscribe to this mailing list, go here:



CRIN REVIEW 22: Children's Right to the City [publication]

[LONDON, 18 September 2008] - The Child Rights Information Network (CRIN) has just launched the latest edition of its Review, 'Children's Right to the City'.

In 2008, for the first time in history, more than half the world’s population will be living in towns or cities. New cities are rising across the globe, from Latin America, Africa and South Asia through to the epicentre of urban growth in China. The face of these new cityscapes is increasingly youthful: according to the UN 60 per cent of children in the developing world will live in urban areas by 2025.

Cities struggle, however, to cope with the number of people attracted to them by the promise of work, better prospects, an urban lifestyle, or the need to escape conflict, rural poverty or environmental destruction. Every day 180,000 more people surge into urban areas from the countryside to swell the growth already underway from the natural increase of the existing urban population. As a result, basic services for children are often under stress or non-existent, air pollution and other forms of environmental damage threaten children’s health, and children are often very vulnerable to exploitation and violence.

In the next two decades most of the world’s urban growth – 95 per cent – will be absorbed by cities of the developing world.*

What price are children paying for this rapid rate of urban growth? What can we learn from the experience of the already urbanised world about the fulfilment of children’s rights in a city setting? And crucially, what opportunities does this ‘second wave’ of urban growth present for the protection and fulfilment of children’s rights?

This edition of the CRIN Review explores the impact of urbanisation, city size, and growth on children’s rights. As noted above, cities can be hubs of risk for children where sprawling slums with inadequate services swallow up green play spaces, where segregation and violence are commonplace and where the world’s millions of street and working children eke out a precarious existence. They can, however, also be forces for good with many parents seeing them as places that will give their children improved opportunities and life chances. Easy access to information means children are better able to learn about their rights whilst basic amenities and support may be more readily available. The numbers of children concentrated in an urban area may also enable children to more easily find ways to organise themselves and claim their rights to services, participation in urban decision-making and to a life free from violence.

“Children’s Right to the City” offers an analysis of the challenges posed to children’s rights in some of the world’s biggest cities. It draws together some creative ways of working, lessons learnt, as well as practical tools, factfiles and case studies to advance children’s rights in urban environments.

Exploring child rights issues such as violence, diversity, participation and poverty through the thematic lens of urbanisation, the Review presents another way of thinking about child rights in general and spotlights the need to think ahead about how global processes such as urbanisation will affect child rights locally.


Opening with a topical piece on the Beijing Olympics, Deanna Fowler and Mayra Gómez document the Chinese government’s breach of children’s housing rights in the lead-up to the Games and urge organisers of such international events to fulfil their obligation to protect human rights and not just stand back as spectators.

Also in the headlines recently, the global food price crisis has triggered riots in cities across the world. While the price rises affect different people in different ways, Michael O’Donnell explains why food price rises are hurting urban children in particular and reflects on how humanitarian response must move with the times to stem the crisis.

Meanwhile, a stealthier global crisis is unfolding: road traffic deaths are now the leading cause of death among 10-19 year olds worldwide. There are ways to halt this trend, say Tamitza Toroyan and Margie Peden, but we need to invest in resources and time to think differently.

‘Eco-friendly cities’ where cars and pollution are sidelined and people and the natural environment take centre stage have become fashionable among local and national governments in recent times, but what are child-friendly cities? Francesca Moneti explains how a growing number of cities are joining the movement to put children at the centre of their city and sets out a good practice checklist.

In his article on southern Africa, Christopher Bjornestad argues that unaccompanied child migrants are often more at-risk in smaller towns and settlements than in big cities. Children who are forcibly displaced share many of these risks. Some recent research by the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children weighs up the pros and cons of living as a young person with a disability in a refugee camp compared to being dispersed in urban areas.

Urbanisation happened some time ago in the richer countries of the world but many challenges to children’s rights remain. In Norwegian towns, young people took the rights of children with disabilities into their own hands when they graded shops and restaurants on their accessibility. The grading upset some people, but managers were forced to listen and make lasting changes, explains Mari Sognnæs Andresen.

Alex Gask and Charlotte Stetzel reveal the extent of discrimination faced by young people in public spaces in Britain where simply meeting up with friends can be a criminal offence. Satya Panigrahi, one of London’s youth mayors, tells an inspiring story of how young people can get involved in local politics, rooting out negative perceptions of young people and starting their own community projects.

Life on the treadmill begins early for children in Japanese cities with the pressure on children to study day and night to meet the expectations of their parents and society. How this cuts into playtime and happiness is described by Noriko Kajiki.

Japan may be home to the world’s most populous city, but the Gaza Strip is one of the densest areas of land in the world with 3,117 people per square km. And yet, trapped by Israel’s military occupation, its inhabitants are living in the equivalent of a concrete prison. Ahmed Abu Tawahina writes about the effects of living under siege on children’s mental health and shares his experience of training communities to mitigate the damage.

Cities in Brazil and Jamaica are notorious for their histories of urban violence. In her article on São Paulo, Paula Miraglia describes how geographic segregation reinforces exclusion and violence against marginalised young men. Rose Robinson Hall, Horace Levy and Peta-Anne Baker reflect on the origins of violence committed by and against children in Jamaica, and how they are working to restore a society based on rights and respect.

Finally, Sharmila Bhagat describes how children in Delhi are turning to writing and new technologies to share their local experiences with global communities.

*UN Habitat: State of the World's Cities 2006/07


Hard copies of the Review, formerly the CRIN Newsletter, will be sent to all CRIN members in the next few weeks. The Review will soon be available in Arabic, French and Spanish. Those interested in receiving extra copies are invited to contact CRIN by email at or download it at:

We regret that we can no longer cover the mailing costs for non-members. If you are not a member of CRIN but would like to receive a copy of the Review, please send a stamp addressed envelope to:

Child Rights Information Network (CRIN)
c/o Save the Children UK
1 St. John's Lane, London, EC1M 4AR, UK


TOOLKIT: Child rights situation analysis

A thorough situation analysis or assessment should form a basis for planning of the programs/projects and strategies. It involves collecting relevant information to enable realistic assessment of what needs to be done in order to improve the lives of children. It is the essential first step towards identification of key issues, establishing priorities and making appropriate choices – whether in an emergency or in more stable situations.

This document provides:

  • Tools on Sources of Information
  • Tools for Analysis of Child Rights Violations and Gaps in Provision
  • Tool for Government Institutions and International Frameworks Analysis
  • Tool for Causality Analysis
  • Tools for Power and Gender Analysis
  • Tool for Identification and Selection of Duty Bearers
  • Tools for guiding writing of the CRSA

Further information

For more information, contact:
Save the Children Sweden - South East Asia Pacific Regional Office
14th fl, Maneeya Centre, South Tower, 518/5 Ploenchit Road, Patumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 2 684 1046/7; Fax: +66 (0) 2 685 1048



EMERGENCIES: Non-discrimination in Emergencies – Training manual and toolkit

Save the Children has launched a new training manual for those involved in emergency response to improve their focus on the most powerless groups, and ensure that emergency responses are more effective.

Agencies who respond to emergencies are also in danger of maintaining or even worsening the entrenched exclusion and prejudice experienced by many people before an emergency. This may happen by default if action is not taken from the beginning to identify pre-existing and new patterns of discrimination and power, which must then be challenged in emergency responses.

Children, as an already powerless group, may be particularly at risk of discrimination in an emergency. These risks can be multiplied if children are subject to discrimination because they are girls, have a disability or are members of oppressed religious, ethnic or linguistic groups.

More than 60 million children and young people are affected by natural or man-made disasters every year, and an additional 40 million are acutely malnourished.

In some of the poorest and most fragile countries, millions of children are now growing up in families who are unable to feed them for some months of the year, and who depend on food and humanitarian aid. These chronic and acute food shortages have a lifelong effect on the health, education and employment prospects of children. Similarly, disasters and conflicts have immense impact on children throughout the world. Natural disasters appear to be on the increase due to climate change and the impacts of industrialisation. The immediate effects of man-made and natural disasters are devastating for children and their families. The results include disease and epidemics, severe malnutrition and stunting, psychological trauma, and lack of shelter, water, food, education and other basic necessities.

In the 1990s, two million children were killed as a result of conflict, six million were disabled or gravely injured, and one million orphaned or separated from their families. At least 300,000 children under the age of 15 are actively involved in conflict around the world today.


  • Children and young people often make up around half of those affected by an emergency, sometimes more.
  • Emergencies act as magnifiers of existing vulnerabilities – particularly in the case of groups already subject to discrimination. Our experience tells us that certain groups, such as some religious and ethnic minorities, women and girls, and people with disabilities – who were on the edges of society and lacked decision-making power beforehand – face increased isolation and challenges when an emergency strikes. For many, the burden of multiple discriminations severely affects their life chances both during and after an emergency.
  • Children and young people are often the most voiceless in a society before an
    emergency and after. Many agencies do not specifically highlight the rights of
    children in their responses.

This training manual and toolkit builds on the experiences of Save the Children’s work in emergencies across the world and is applicable to man-made or natural emergencies. It draws on the experiences gained in the 2004 tsunami response and this is reflected in many of the examples used. The publication aims to provide easy-to-use training materials and tools for highlighting discrimination with partners, communities and children in all emergency contexts.

The manual has three functions:

i. a manual for trainers who may be new to work on non-discrimination in emergencies, offering tips on designing training for diverse audiences;

ii. to provide exercises to raise awareness and increase knowledge about discrimination in emergencies;

ii. a toolkit of easy-to-use checklists and handouts for reference.

Working on discrimination

Work on discrimination is emotive. There are facts and figures outlining the statistics of discrimination and international legislation which provides a framework for tackling it. But it is the emotional dynamic and injustice of discrimination that participants must connect with to be effective advocates for change. It is all too easy to avoid the uncomfortable and painful experiences that can be evoked when examining attitudes towards those who are different from oneself. The aim of this manual is to provide a safe and structured way for staff to work within teams, and with partners and communities to challenge discrimination in emergency responses.

Use the handbook:

  • When preparing for an emergency.
  • When designing a ‘first response’.
  • To learn lessons to improve implementation post-emergency.
  • To strengthen community rebuilding after an emergency

To request a hard copy edition of the toolkit,
email Tina Hyder at:

Further information




DISCUSSION: Child rights [event]

Equalinrights will host another e-discussion on Child Rights, facilitated by Wout Visser of War Child, The Netherlands, as a follow-up to the previous e-discussion on the same topic last May.

The e-discussion will run over a 14-day period, from 10-24 November. This process has a distinct advantage over fixed time sessions as participants are given ample opportunities to provide their input. Equalinrights invites you to sign up and provide ideas and suggestions for issues to be discussed during this upcoming session.

Please contact Equalinrights through Mariam Munang (

For more information, contact:
Equal in Rights Project
The Netherlands Institute of Human Rights
Tel: :+31 (0) 30 253 8510


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