This module is intended to provide a basic understanding of one of the key concepts underlying ARC resource pack: child rights and rightsbased approaches and why they are important in emergency settings. This module outlines the international legal framework that is both the point of reference and the source of authority for engagement with the challenges faced by children. It also aims to clearly explain what child rightsbased approaches are and how they can be applied in emergencies.
Human rights, humanitarian and refugee law are relevant to the protection of children and the exercise and enjoyment of their rights in emergencies, including refugee situations, internal displacement, natural and manmade disaster and conflict. The relative vulnerability of children, and the need to accord them special consideration and special protections has been long recognised and accepted. These considerations apply to all children, and especially so in circumstances where normal order is disrupted.
Section 1 – Introduction to rights provides basic information on human rights and their basis in international law, as well as discussing rightsbased approaches and the duty bearer and rights holder relationship.
Section 2 – The convention on the rights of the child and relevant legal standards relating to children’s rights, builds on the rights framework discussed in the first section and adds the child rights dimension. The UN Convention on the rights of the child (CRC) and its four guiding principles are described as well as the two optional protocols to the CRC. This section also addresses how children’s rights are reflected in other human rights and humanitarian law instruments.
Section 3 – Child rightsbased approaches introduces the concept of incorporating children’s rights into programming and describes why this is particularly important in emergencies. It also provides practical examples of child rightsbased approaches in emergency situations.
Section 4 – The CRC and child rights monitoring outlines the CRC reporting process and discusses the monitoring and reporting mechanism established by the Security Council through Resolution 1612.
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ARC is an inter-agency initiative, initiated by UNHCR and the International Save the Children Alliance in 1997, and joined in 1999 by UNICEF and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. As of January 2002, the co-ordination activities of the project are handled by Save the Children.