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CRIN - Child Rights Information Network
 
Children's rights
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Frequently Asked Questions

 

 1 - What is the Child Rights Information Network?

The Child Rights Information Network (CRIN) is a global network promoting information and action on children's rights. We press for rights, not charity, and are guided by a passion for putting children's rights at the top of the global agenda by addressing root causes and promoting systemic change.

Our inspiration is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which we use to bring children's rights to the top of the international agenda. We launch advocacy campaigns, lead international children's rights coalitions, and strive to make existing human rights enforcement mechanisms accessible for all.

More than 2,100 organisations in 150 countries rely on CRIN's publications, research and information. Our network includes NGOs, government departments, academic institutions, media organisations and legal aid providers, among others.

Read more about our mission, activities and donors: http://www.crin.org/about/index.asp

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 2 - How can I participate in the network?

The success of CRIN is owed to the countless organisations and individuals that work with us to promote children's rights. There are many ways you can participate in the network.

Take part in international children's rights campaigns

Current campaigns include:

Inhuman sentencing
 CRIN together with other partners has launched a campaign to prohibit and eliminate inhuman sentencing of children – defined to include sentences of death, life imprisonment and corporal punishment.
Find out more here.

The future of children's rights – in whose hands?

In 2009 CRIN launched a campaign to stimulate open and transparent appointment processes for the top jobs in children's rights. The campaign also aims to identify the leaders with the appropriate commitment, skills and experience to fill such positions.
Find out more here.

Campaign for a complaints procedure under the CRC
A group of agencies are campaigning for the United Nations to establish a communications/complaints mechanism to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Such a procedure would mean that children could file complaints at the international level if their rights are violated in a State which refuses or for some reason cannot deal with the complaint nationally.

The UN Human Rights Council has now adopted a draft procedure which is now awaiting adoption by the UN General Assembly.
Find out more here.

Share information about children's rights

If you have news or reports about children's rights in your country that you would like to share with the CRIN network, you can send it to us at info@crin.org. We are particularly interested in hearing about children's rights issues which do not receive enough attention, such as juvenile justice, children and religion and children and sexuality.

Also, if you are running a campaign or event to promote children's rights, we can advertise this for you on our website and through our email list.

If you would like to submit information, you can complete the Submit Resource form.

Join CRIN's Directory of organisations working on children's rights

Read  more below

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3 - How can I be listed in CRIN's Directory?

Organisations working in children's rights can apply to be listed in CRIN's Directory. This service is free. CRIN is unable to accredit or authenticate any organisations listed and we are not a funding organisation.

CRIN policy requires that organisations listed in the Directory are:

  • involved in child rights activities
  • support all rights set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • committed to sharing information

You can find a full list of criteria and an online application form here: http://www.crin.org/join/index.asp

Application forms are available in English, Arabic, French and Spanish.

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4 - Does CRIN provide financial or material assistance?

CRIN is not a funding organisation. We are therefore unable to provide any financial or material assistance to other organisations. You may wish to search our directory for organisations whose mandate includes funding other organisations.

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5 - How can I search for information about children's rights

You can find information on children's rights on CRIN in different ways:

- For news, publications and events on child rights issues, go to CRIN's resources section where you can search by information type, theme, country or language
- For information on particular themes, search our the themes menu on our homes page
- For information about children's rights in a particular country, go to our A-Z of countries
- For information about your State's report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Committees recommendations and NGO Alternative reports, search our CRC documentation section.

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6 - Where can I find contact details of other children's rights organisations? 

CRIN has a Directory of more than 3,000 organisations in 160 countries. Some 84 per cent of organisations listed are NGOs; and 60 per cent are in the South. All their contact details are on the CRIN website. To look for specific child rights organisations worldwide, go to the directory, and search by keyword, country, theme or mandate.

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7 - How can I get the latest information on children's rights?

  • CRINMAILs: CRIN publishes several email lists on children's rights issues in English, French, Spanish and Arabic. We also issue thematic editions on armed conflict, violence against children and strategic litigation. You can subscribe to any of these email lists and unsubscribe at any time. Archives of CRINMAIL issues are also available from CRIN website.

  • CRIN website: The CRIN website is updated every day with the latest news, reports and events on children's rights. These items are sourced in two ways: they are sent to us from organisations around the world and sourced by the CRIN coordinating team.

  • News feeds: 'RSS feeds' allow you to identify the content you are interested in and have it delivered to your inbox when new content is added: http://www.crin.org/resources/news/newsfeed.asp

  • Facebook: Our Facebook page provides extra coverage of CRIN’s work and broader children’s rights issues. You can contribute by posting your comments and other relevant information, articles and campaigns.

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8 - What are children's rights?

Children's rights are human rights for children. Children face particular exclusions and discrimination against which they have a right to full protection.

The fact that children are not adults, and the low social status afforded to them in most societies, means they may receive unfair treatment, or be left out of decision-making. For example, in almost every country children under 18 are denied political power because they cannot vote, and most countries allow parents to hit their children, even though they would be prosecuted for assault if they hit another adult. Children's status in society, among other factors, also means they are more vulnerable to sexual abuse and other forms of violence and exploitation.

There are therefore a number of rights in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which apply especially to children. These include, for example, the obligation to consider their views, and limitations on the use of children in armed conflict. Read more.

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9 - What is the Convention on the Rights of the Child? 

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is a United Nations treaty that sets out the basic human rights that all children everywhere are entitled to. It was drafted in 1989 and came into force in 1990. There are 54 articles in the Convention that spell out the rights of all children from 0-18.

The CRC is important because it emphasises that children are the subjects of rights, have individual identities, and have voices that must be listened to and given due weight. It establishes a direct relationship between a child and the State.

The CRC is the most ratified (agreed to) of all the instruments, and includes provisions on the right to health, the right to adequate housing, the right to be free from violence and the right to play.

Every country in the world has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, apart from the United States and Somalia.

Read the CRC
Read about how NGOs can get involved

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10 - Why haven't Somalia and the US ratified the CRC?

The US and Somalia have both signed but have not yet ratified the CRC.

Somalia has been in turmoil for many years and has not had a functioning government. However, it has now announced that the ratification process is under way in the national parliament.

The US participated heavily in the process to draft the CRC throughout the 1980s, and the government formally signed the CRC under President Bill Clinton on 16 February 1995. However, both President Clinton and President Bush failed to initiate the ratification process, which would have bound the US to the Convention's provisions (what is the difference between ratification and signature?).

Reasons for US resistance to the CRC can be subject to interpretation. Opposition to the CRC is very politicised, and opponents to it have made unsubstantiated claims saying that the UN would encourage children to sue their parents or have abortions, or it would dictate parents how to raise their children, for example.

In addition, the ratification process is lengthy. Typically, treaties are first reviewed by the State Department, which prepares documents for submission to the Senate. The President then reviews these documents before formal submission to the Senate, which may then hold hearings to address public concerns and any need for special implementation. A recommendation for ratification requires the approval of two thirds of the Senate, a much higher bar than the traditional party majority vote.

Prior to his inauguration as President, Obama indicated his intention to bring the US back to the human rights table, with discussions of children's rights on the agenda.

When asked whether he would seek ratification of the CRC in the Presidential Youth Debate, Obama expressed, at least, some support for that goal: "It's important that the United States return to its position as a respected global leader and promoter of Human Rights. It's embarrassing to find ourselves in the company of Somalia, a lawless land. I will review this and other treaties and ensure that the United States resumes its global leadership in Human Rights."
(video available at http://debate.waldenu.edu/video/question-12/)

Read about what ratifying the CRC would mean for the US here.

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11 - Where can children complain if their rights are violated?

Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, there is currently no procedure for individual complaints. This means that an individual cannot go to the Committee on the Rights of the Child to lodge an official complaint, however, the drafting process for such a procedure is under way. Find out more here.

In addition, children's rights issues may be raised by other Committees in the UN with competence to consider individual complaints. If you live in Africa, the Americas or Europe, you can file a complaint with a regional mechanism. Find our more here.

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12 - How can I work/ volunteer with CRIN?

Job vacancies with the Child Rights Information Network are rare. At present CRIN is a small team based in London, UK, and does not employ staff overseas. When vacancies do come available they are advertised through our email list, the CRINMAIL.

Volunteers: CRIN does not run a formal internship programme, but we do work with volunteers. Volunteers come in regularly to help the CRIN coordinating team with various tasks, including: translations, research, website maintenance. Volunteer posts are unpaid, but travel within London and lunch expenses are covered. If you are a student in law, development, languages or any relevant field, live in London, and can commit to working one to two days a week for a minimum of three months, email your CV, and we will contact you if we have any opportunities which match your skills.

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