The Rights of the Child

Child Rights Webinar Series 2020-2021

 

The Diplomacy Training Program, in partnership with Youth Law Australia and Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, are delivering a series of Child Rights webinars over the next year. The webinars will cover various aspects of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in discussion with Australian and international child rights experts.

 

Webinar 12: "The Rights of Children with Disabilities: Australia's Double Failure"
Tuesday 14 December 2021 1.00 - 2.00pm AEDT

This webinar is the twelfth in a series which is developing greater knowledge and understanding of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and other UN human rights treaties.

Australia reported to the UN Committees on the Rights of the Child, and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities during the second half of 2019. Both Committees highlighted concerns about the rights of children with disabilities and made recommendations relevant to Commonwealth and State governments. The recommendations reflected the intersectionality between the CRC and the CRPD. 

Chair of the CRPD Committee, Rosemary Kayess engaged with the Committees’ concerns, namely Australia's double failure on children’s rights and rights of persons with a disability, including the lack of adequate national planning to protect the rights of children with disabilities, the use of medication to control behaviour, forced sterilisation, discrimination in schools, detention and restraint of children with disabilities, inadequacies in the National Disability Insurance scheme, the detention of children of asylum seekers with disabilities, and the continuing removal from their families of Indigenous children with disabilities.    

Adding a personal perspective, Julie Charlton completed the picture by outlining the challenges directly experienced by young people with disabilities in Australia.

For more information, please see the webinar's brochure. To view the recording of this webinar, please click here. Click here for resources shared during the webinar.

 

This webinar received support from the Embassy of Switzerland in Australia.

 

 

 

Webinar 11: "Child Removal in Australia - Violating the Convention on the Rights of the Child"
Thursday 11 November 2021 4.00 - 5.00pm AEDT

This webinar is the eleventh in a series which is developing greater knowledge and understanding of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed concern at the increase in child removals in Australia and the inconsistent criteria for removals across different state/territory jurisdictions. It highlighted the disproportionate rate of removals of children from First Nations families and made a number of recommendations on these concerns.

This webinar addressed these issues considering the perspective of Elizabeth Morgan House (EMH) in Victoria, a front-line service provider responding to the failure of governments to apply a child rights-based approach, and the harmful consequences for First Nations children and families. It challenged the misuse of the “best interests of the child” and “welfare” principles in existing policy approaches.

In drawing on the experiences of EMH from speakers Kellyanne Andy, CEO and Monica Morgan, EMH Board member and CEO, Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation, and developing understanding of CRC’s definition of “best-interests of the child”, the webinar emphasised how the CRC demands changes in current approaches. It emphasised the need for Australian governments to implement the CRC Committee’s recommendations and properly fund solutions led by the Aboriginal community-controlled child and family organisations.

For more information, please see the webinar's brochure. To view the recording of this webinar, please click here. Click here for the resources shared during the webinar and for Kellyanne Andy's presentation.

 

This webinar received support from the Embassy of Switzerland in Australia.

 

 

 

 

Webinar 10: "Using the Convention on the Rights of the Child in practice - A view from the Bar"
Wednesday 20 October 2021 5.00 - 6.00pm AEDT

This tenth webinar webinar looked at the opportunities to advance children’s rights using state based human rights charters, with a focus on Victoria. While these laws do not explicitly refer to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), this does not preclude use of the CRC, CRPD, General Comments and other UN instruments in judicial decision-making, judgments, and legal arguments.

The webinar continued on from the previous webinar in the series held in September, in which New Zealand Judge Tony Fitzgerald reflected on the benefits of applying the CRC (and CRPD) in achieving better outcomes for children and young people and on what using the CRC means for children, litigators, the police, social services and others working with children.

This webinar drew on the perspectives of barrister Michael Stanton and reader Katharine Brown, both from the Victorian Bar, exploring how the CRC and the Victorian Charter of Human Rights could be used in judicial proceedings. They shared their experiences in applying human rights-based arguments and discuss what could be done to enable or encourage reference to the CRC and the UN Committee’s Concluding Observations in cases, litigation and judgments.

For more information, please see the webinar's brochure. To view the recording of this webinar, please click here. Click here for the resources shared during the webinar.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child and Domestic Human Rights Legislation: Opportunities and Future Directions - companion paper to the webinar. 

 

This webinar received support from the Embassy of Switzerland in Australia.

 

 

 

Webinar 9: "Using the Convention on the Rights of the Child in practice - A view from the Bench"
Thursday 23 September 2021 3.00 - 4.00pm AEST

This ninth webinar in the series explored the value of applying the CRC and other rights instruments, in litigation and decision-making in cases involving children and young people. It drew on the direct experience of a Judge in Aotearoa New Zealand who refers to and employs the CRC, CRPD and UN General Comments in his decisions. Judge Tony Fitzgerald reflected on the benefits of applying these instruments in achieving better outcomes for children and young people and what this means for children, litigators, the police, social services and others working with children.

For more information, please see the webinar's brochure. To view the recording of this webinar, please click here and transcription of his presentation. Click here for some reference material for the webinar.

 

Webinar 8: "Climate change and the rights of children"
Tuesday 24 August 2021 4.00 - 5.00pm AEST

Following on from the July webinar, this eighth webinar in our series on Child Rights looked at the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s statement that “… the effects of climate change have an undeniable impact on children’s rights, for example the rights to life, survival and development, non-discrimination, health, and an adequate standard of living” and the forthcoming General Comment on children’s rights and climate change.

Dr Mikiko Otani, Chair of the CRC Committee, spoke about the forthcoming General Comment on children’s rights and climate change, and addressed Australia’s contention that General Comments are not legally binding on States parties and that treating the best interest of the child as a ‘determining principle’ is not supported by the text of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and is ”inconsistent with the reference to the best interests of the child in paragraph 13”.

Solomon Islands student Caleb Pollard, president of Pacific Island Students Facing Climate Change (PISFCC) highlighted the impacts of climate change on Pacific Island countries and young people. He explained PISFCC advocacy for an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice on climate and human rights for current and future generations.

For more information, please see the webinar's brochure. To view the recording of this webinar, please click here. Resources shared during the webinar.

 

 

Webinar 7: "Climate change, the rights of children and the duty of care"
Thursday 29 July 2021 4.00 - 5.00pm AEST

In response to the Government's report on the implementation of the Convention in Australia, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child emphasised "...that the effects of climate change have an undeniable impact on children's rights...". It was also "concerned about the State party's insufficient progress on climate goals and targets committed to in the Paris Climate Agreement and its continuing investment in extractive industries, in particular coal."

Inspired by Greta Thunberg's School Strike for Climate Change, year 11 school girl Anjali Sharma started an Instagram account that soon gained 12,000 followers. With the help of a Brigidine nun and seven other children from around Australia, Anjali went to court claiming the government's approval of a mine in NSW would violate its duty of care to young people who will be impacted by climate change. The court's judgement in their favour has been hailed around the world.

Anjali Sharma and Dr Noam Peleg (Senior Lecturer at UNSW and child rights expert) discuss this landmark case and to consider how explicity reference to Australia's obligations under the CRC may have affected the claim and judgement.                                                                   

For more information, please see the webinar's brochure. To view the recording of the webinar, please click here. Dr Noam Peleg's presentation and resources shared during the webinar are also available.

 

Webinar 6: "The rights of children and the digital environment"
Wednesday 2 June 2021 2.00 - 3.00pm AEST

In March this year the Committee on the Rights of the Child published its General Comment No 25 on children’s rights in relation to the digital environment. In this document the CRC Committee throws light on how digital technologies affect the full range of children’s rights in positive and negative ways. It makes recommendations as to what governments should do to protect, respect and realise children’s rights online, and clarifies the roles and responsibilities of business, parents, educators, service providers and children themselves.

Digital platforms accessible to children and young people have a contribution to make to the realisation of their rights to education, health, and participation. Internet platforms can also enable social interaction and community participation.

However, the deleterious impacts of restrictions to this access have been exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, lockdowns of schools have meant that children with no internet access or limited access to technology have been deprived of proper education. This has impacted heavily on disadvantaged communities in Australia, especially rural and remote communities, First Nations children and children living with a disability.

Dr Faith Gordon, Senior Lecturer in Law at the College of Law at the ANU with special expertise in the areas of criminal justice and criminal law, joined us to share her experiences of working in this field.

For more information, please see the webinar's brochure. To view the recording of the webinar, please click here. Dr Faith Gordon's presentation and resources shared during the webinar are also available.

 

Webinar 5: "Children's right to participation in practice"
Wednesday 21 April 2021 5.00 - 6.00pm AEST

The Right of Children to participate and be heard is enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Committee on the Rights of the Child has repeated the need for the meaningful participation of children in all aspects that impact on their rights in Australia’s policy and practice. Australia’s state and national child rights commissioners have also emphasised the need for children’s voices to be heard. This fifth webinar in the CRC series we heard from Professor Laura Lundy, developer of the 'Lundy Model'. She outlined the practical application of the model, and addressed the steps needed by state and federal government policy-makers tasked with the reporting process, as well as service providers and child rights advocates, to implement the Concluding Observations of the CRC and to ensure children’s participation in this.

For more information, please see the webinar's brochure. To view the recording of the webinar, please click here. Resources shared during the webinar.

 

Webinar 4: "Addressing Poverty: children's rights and Australia's obligations"
Wednesday 24 March 2021 9.00 - 10am AEDT

The Convention on the Rights of the Child does not contain an explicit right to freedom from poverty. However, for children to enjoy the rest of the rights outlined in the Convention, this human right addressing poverty is key. The response from UN members at Australia’s Universal Periodic Review highlighted the shortcomings in the protection of children in regard to poverty and echoed the recommendations in the Concluding Observations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) Committee. This fourth webinar in the CRC series we heard from Professor Philip Alston, former Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights (2014-20) and Professor Sharon Bessell, Director of Gender Equity and Diversity and head of the Children’s Policy Centre at the Australian National University and looked at the impacts of poverty on the rights of children.

For more information, please see the webinar's brochure. To view the recording of the webinar, please click here. Professor Sharon Bessell's PowerPoint presentation and resources shared during the webinar are also available.

 

Webinar 3: "Applying the CRC to policy and practice - the Scottish Experience"
Tuesday 9 February 2021 7.00 - 8pm AEDT

From increasing children's participation in decision making, reducing the number of children in prison, and changes to the education to system, to ensuring the "best interests of the child" guides all decision making, Scotland has undergone significant change by applying the Convention on the Rights of the Child. As the Convention is about to be incorporated into Scottish law, we heard from Scottish Children and Young People's Commissioner Bruce Adamson and Megan Farr as we explored the Scottish model which could inform practice in Australia as Australia looks to implement the recommendations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

For more information, please see the webinar's brochure. To view the recording of the webinar, please click here. Megan's Powerpoint presentation and resources shared during the webinar are also available.

Webinar 2: "COVID, Australia and the Rights of the Child"
Friday 11 December 2020 12.00 - 1.30pm AEDT

This webinar with new National Children’s Rights Commissioner Anne Hollonds, and DTP alumna Sue-Anne Hunter of SNAICC focused on the impact of government policies and actions on the rights of children during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Children and young people have raised five major concerns to a consultation organized by the Human Rights Commission from January to April. The webinar linked these concerns to recommendations of the CRC Committee to Australia and show how the CRC and action on the recommendations would have addressed some of the concerns expressed by children and young people.

For more information, please see the webinar's brochure. To view the recording of the webinar, please click here. Resources shared during the webinar.

Webinar 1: "Australia and the Rights of the Child"
Friday 20 November 2020 1.30 - 2.30pm AEDT

"Australia and the Rights of the Child" explored the recommendations to Australia from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Progress made, such as the ACT's decision to raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility, was discussed as well as challenges in implementing the Committee's recommendation and the application of the CRC in Australia's states and territories.

Speakers: Liana Buchanan, Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People Victoria and Roxanne Moore, Executive Officer National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services.

The discussion was moderated by Faith Gordon, Senior Lecturer ANU, Director of the International Youth Justice Network and Noam Peleg, Senior Lecturer UNSW, Review Editor, The International Journal of Children's Rights

For more information, please see the webinar's brochure. To view the recording of the webinar, please click here. Resources shared during the webinar.

 

 

 

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

Building Capacity on Implementation and Reporting

A Workshop in Brisbane 24-25 February 2020

The Diplomacy Training Program (DTP) and its partners held a 2-day intensive training program to build knowledge and understanding of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), of the Australian reporting process to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (the Committee) and with a focus on implementation of the Committee’s recent Concluding Observations (Recommendations) to Australia, made in September 2019.

The 2-day intensive training program enabled government officials and NGOs to build their knowledge and understanding of the CRC and its principles - including the influential interpretations of the Committee - and relate the CRC and the Committee’s Concluding Observations to relevant policy and practice in Australia. 

This training program follows successful pilot programs held in Sydney in 2017 and Darwin in 2019.

Program Brochure

Program Summary Report

 

 

30th Anniversary of The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

Building Capacity on Implementation and Reporting

A Workshop in Darwin 29-30 July, 2019

The Diplomacy Training Program, Danila Dilba Health Service and Australian Lawyers for Human Rights held a 2-day intensive training program to build knowledge and understanding of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and of the Australian reporting process to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (the Committee).  This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the adoption of this landmark Convention.  Australia’s record is currently being reviewed by the Committee.

This 2-day intensive training program enabled government officials and NGOs to build their knowledge and understanding of the CRC and its principles - including the influential interpretations of the Committee - and relate the CRC to relevant policy and practice in Australia.  One major theme of the program was juvenile justice, with a special focus on Indigenous youth.  A new CRC General Comment (soft law) on Juvenile Justice will be very relevant to Australia, and law and policy in states and territories.

This training program follows the successful pilot program held in Sydney in 2017.

Program Brochure, Summary Report, Program Report

 

 

 

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child Program

November 2017

 

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) program was held on November 9 & 10 at UNSW Sydney. It was delivered with the Diplomacy Training Program, NCYLC (Matthew Keeley) and the former AHRCentre (Noam Peleg) [all based at UNSW Law]. The 2-day intensive training program helped build participants’ knowledge and understanding of the Convention and of the Australian reporting process to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (Committee).

The CRC reporting process is an important, but little understood, opportunity for officials at all levels of government to review policy and practice relating to children against Australia’s obligations under the CRC, to share perspectives with the community sector.

Participants came from NSW, Qld, Tas and SA – from CSOs, government and statutory bodies. Representatives Attorney General’s presented on the process of preparing the government’s report to CRC (just released) – and engagement with the CRC periodic reporting process.

Dates: 09 -10 November 2017 

Location: University of New South Wales in Sydney

See Concept NoteBrochure, Schedule, Report

 

Useful resources and links:

Convention on the Rights of the Child

Committee on the Rights of the Child 

 

Video on UN CRC