children

It’s Halloween, a day when costumes conjure playfulness among children and adults alike. To celebrate, I’m reprinting below my post from October 31, 2010, available in the IntLawGrrls archives here. The donation link at bottom still works, so consider a contribution on behalf of the world’s children.

Often completing this ‘Grrl’s Halloween costume was the tote at left.
Many a year we Midwestern children would knock on doors to “Trick or Treat for UNICEF,” seeking donations to help the United Nations help children in need. For many of us, it was an early raising of awareness — an early invitation to consider how we might respond in our own small ways to the plight of others throughout the world.
Of great interest, therefore, was the news that the woman who founded the campaign has died at age 93, just a few days short of the 60th anniversary of her achievement.
As detailed in The New York Times‘ obituary, the idea came to Mary Emma Allison, a schoolteacher long concerned about social justice, while shopping in 1949 in Philadelphia. (credit for photo of Allison and her costume-clad children) Soon she and her husband had created a global movement, called “Pennies for UNICEF” in those days of less deflated economy. Enlisted in the effort have been cultural icons ranging from Casper, the Friendly Ghost (below), to Superman, the Man of Steel. Since its founding the campaign has raised more than $160 million.
No need for a collection box to contribute in Allison’s honor; anyone can click here to donate to UNICEF this Halloween.

un_members_flagsAs it does each year while the U.N. General Assembly’s meeting, the United Nations hosted a 5-day “Treaty Event” aimed at encouraging states to consent to be bound to a range of international conventions. (Previous posts here and here; photo credit) The big news was the boost this gave to the 2013 Arms Trade Treaty; as posted, it’s now set to enter into force on Christmas Eve. Also worth mentioning are joinders to other treaties related to peace, accountability, security, to children, and more generally to human rights. Selected joinders below; the complete record of Treaty Event activities is available here.

Peace, security, accountability

► 2010 Amendments on the crime of aggression to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court: Latvia, Poland, and Spain ratified, bringing the total number of adherents to 18. Neither the United States nor any of the 5 permanent members of the U.N. Security Council is among them. As detailed in posts here and here, these amendments cannot take effect any earlier than 2017, and then only if 30 states have accepted and a further vote has been taken. This year and last, tweets from the Crime of Aggression project have named numerous other countries said to be working toward ratification: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, the Czech Republic, Finland, Georgia, Macedonia, New Zealand, Romania, and Switzerland. If all join, the amendments would be 1 shy of the minimum required.

► 2010 Amendment to Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court: Latvia, Poland, and Spain likewise ratified this treaty, which would enumerate as crimes in non-international armed conflict certain acts now prohibited only with respect to international armed conflict. The total number of adherent now stands at 21. The treaty entered into force as to some states as early as 2012. Neither the United States nor any of the 5 permanent members of the U.N. Security Council has approved these amendments.

► 1984 Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment: Eritrea acceded, bringing to 156 the total number of parties – among them, the United States and, indeed, all 5 permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.

► 2006 International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance: Angola signed this treaty, which entered into force in 2010. It now has 94 signatories and 43 parties. Of the Security Council’s 5 permanent members, France is a state party, and the only state either to have signed nor ratified.

Treaties relating specifically to children

unicef_children► 2000 Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict: Guinea-Bissau ratified this treaty, which entered into force in 2002. That brings to 157 the total number of parties; among them, both nonmember states of the United Nations, the Holy See and the State of Palestine. The United States and, indeed, all 5 permanent members of the U.N. Security Council are states parties to this treaty.

► 2011 Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure: Andorra, Ireland, and Monaco joined this treaty, which allows children to file complaints with the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child. That brings the total number of states parties to 14. The treaty entered into force in April of this year. Neither the United States nor any of the 5 permanent members of the U.N. Security Council has either signed or ratified this treaty.

► 2000 Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime: Eritrea acceded to this treaty, which entered into force in 2003. The treaty has 163 parties, including the United States and, indeed, all 5 permanent members of the Security Council.

Human Rights

dis► 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Guinea-Bissau ratified and Samoa signed this treaty, which entered into force in 2008. It now has 151 parties and 159 signatories. Four of the Security Council’s permanent members are states parties; the 5th, the United States has signed but not ratified. The U.S. Senate refused to give the requisite 2/3 approval in 2012, and just a few weeks ago, Republicans blocked a new effort to win the Senate’s advice and consent. (Prior posts)

► 2006 Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Denmark acceded to this treaty, which allows individuals to file complaints with the U.N. Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. That brings the total number of states parties to 85. The treaty entered into force in 2008. Of the Security Council’s 5 permanent members, France and Britain are states parties; the other 3 have neither signed nor ratified.

Fatou Bensouda-ICC-043-bwshPleased to announce that “Children & International Justice,” an international experts’ conference, will be held Tuesday, October 28, here at my home institution, the University of Georgia School of Law in Athens. Delivering the keynote address will be Fatou Bensouda (left), Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, whom I am honored to serve as Special Adviser on Children in and affected by Armed Conflict.

Joining us will be more than 2 dozen experts in children’s rights, international criminal law, and transitional justice, who will address a range of issues in a public morning session and in closed afternoon workshops. Experts will be drawn from academia and the practice; from international organizations like UNICEF and the Office of the Special Representative to the U.N. Secretary-General for Children & Armed Conflict; and from nongovernmental organizations like Human Rights Watch, the International Center for Transitional Justice, the International Committee of the Red Cross, No Peace Without Justice, Protect Education in Insecurity & Conflict, Save the Children, and The Carter Center. They will consider legal doctrines, field research, and policy options.

These discussions will assist advising in the ongoing process of development of the Office of the Prosecutor Policy Paper on Children.

The keynote address and the plenary presentations, along with student rapporteurs’ Chatham-House-Rules accounts of the breakout sessions, will be published in the Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law.

Sponsors, in addition to the journal and the law school, are the law school’s Dean Rusk Center for International Law & Policy, the Georgia Law Project on Armed Conflict & Children, the African Studies Institute of the University of Georgia, for which I serve as an affiliated faculty member, the Planethood Foundation, and the American Society of International Law-Southeast.

The day’s schedule begins with a public plenary session from 9:15-11:15 a.m. in the law school’s Hatton Lovejoy Courtroom, as follows:

drumbmalone-48► 9:15 a.m. Welcomes will be followed by a panel on “Children & International Criminal Justice: An Overview,” featuring Professor Mark A. Drumbl (right), Washington & Lee University School of Law, on Children, Armed Violence and Transition: Challenges for International Law & Policy; Kerry L. Neal (middle right), Child Protection Specialist, Justice for Children, UNICEF, on Child Protection in Time of Armed Conflict; Professor Linda A. Malone (above left), College of William & Mary/Marshall-Wythe School of Law, on Interrelation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; Alec Wargo II (middle left), Program Officer, Office of the Special neal_kerrywargo_alecRepresentative to the U.N. Secretary-General for Children & Armed Conflict, on Securing Prevention and Accountability for the Six Grave Violations against Children; and Jo Becker (bottom right), Advocacy Director, Children’s Rights Division, Human Rights Watch, on Civil Society’s Role with Respect to Children in Armed Conflict. Moderating will be Jo BeckerjallohProfessor Charles C. Jalloh (left), Florida International University School of Law.

► 11:30 a.m. Following introduction by Georgia Law Dean Rebecca H. White, Prosecutor Bensouda will deliver the keynote address.

► The afternoon will feature workshops sessions open only to expert invitees and moderated by my Georgia Law colleagues Harlan G. Cohen and Andrea L. Dennis, as well as me. Topics to be discussed include:

►► Regulatory Framework (Child-specific and child-related crimes, such as recruitment and use of children, sexual violence / trafficking, education, attacks on hospitals / denial of humanitarian access; legal instruments / jurisprudence other than rome statute; children’s rights and human rights law; humanitarian law; law of peace / weapons control treaties; gravity: charging and sentencing)

►► Witnesses, Testimony, and Witness Protection (Identifying and preparing child witnesses, in general, and with relation to specific offenses like sexual violence, against girls and boys; living conditions of children in conflict/postconflict zones; support and witness protection issues; enhancing child witness reliability / challenging of factfinding reparations)

►► Global Child (Children’s vulnerability/victimhood/agency; developmental factors / difficulty of drawing age line; children’s convention: rights and best interests; child protection and child participation: issues of consent; children in militias / conflict zones: roles and experiences; child-friendly dissemination and education)

Experts who will participate in these workshops: Gloria Atiba Davies, Head, Gender and Children Unit, ICC Office of the Prosecutor; Véronique Aubert, Senior Conflict & Humanitarian Policy and Research Adviser, Save the Children, London, England; Hrair Balian, Director of Conflict Resolution Program, Carter Center, Atlanta; Shamila Batohi, Senior Legal Adviser and Head, Legal Advisory Section, ICC Office of the Prosecutor; Dr. Tamora A. Callands, Assistant Research Scientist, Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, College of Public Health, University of Georgia; Rachelle Carnesale, Chief Assistant District Attorney, Cherokee County, Canton, Georgia, former head of the Georgia Division of Family & Children Picture1Services, and former Acting Director and Deputy Director of the Georgia Office of the Child Advocate; Dr. Nathan B. Hansen, Associate Professor and Department Head, Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, College of Public Health, University of Georgia; member of Legal Advisory staff, International Committee of the Red Cross, Washington, D.C.; Francesca Jannotti, Political Officer, Office of the Special Representative to the U.N. Secretary-General for Children & Armed Conflict, New York; Virginie Ladisch, Head, Children & Youth Program, International Center for Transitional Justice, New York; Sharanjeet Parmar, independent consultant on child-crime accountability, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Mark Richmond, Director, Protect Education in Insecurity & Conflict, Education Above All Foundation, Doha, Qatar, and formerly a Director in UNESCO’s senior education team in Paris; Karin Ryan, Senior Adviser on Human Rights, Carter Center, Atlanta; Manoj Sachdeva, Trial Attorney, ICC Office of the Prosecutor; L. Alison A. Smith, International Criminal Justice Director/Legal Counsel, No Peace Without Justice, Brussels, Belgium; Professor Jonathan Todres, Georgia State University School of Law, Atlanta; and Yayoi Yamaguchi, Associate Legal Advisor, Legal Advisory Section, ICC Office of the Prosecutor.

Details here; registration here.

Stunned to listen to this poem by Caitlyn Clark, recited on stage at a John Legend’s Hollywood Bowl concert 2 days ago. It’s moving, heartfelt, raw, and real. She wants to make revolution not with the children who have been felled but with those who still live and can bring change to our troubled times. And, I am most proud to say, she is my cousin, daughter of my favorite first cousin, who, as she tells the world in this amazing video, did 6 months’ active duty at Bagram Prison, Afghanistan. ¡Brava, Caitlyn!

Conflict Dynamics International, a Massachusetts-based nongovernmental organization established in 2004, welcomes applications for a Program Officer to work on project relating to accountability for violations committed against children in armed conflict. The multiyear project, on which I am honored to serve as an advisor, is now in its second year. It is described as follows:

This initiatiCDI_logo_regve builds on CDI’s previous work in this area and aims to contribute substantially to the achievement of effective accountability for these violations through national and international mechanisms. CDI is developing a conceptual and practical framework aimed at practitioners working on accountability in the CAC context. Through this initiative CDI will also develop several other related resources that will provide guidance and technical support to practitioners.

As detailed in this complete job notice, duties of this full-time Program Officer will include communications and publications, fundraising and grant management, and monitoring. Sought is someone with inter alia a minimum of 3-5 years’ experience in relevant fields; working knowledge of French or Arabic is desirable.

Deadline for applications is soon: September 12, 2014. Details on job duties and desired qualifications, and on how to apply, here.

 

refugeechildrenww1Seldom do we see footage made during the 20th C.’s 1st global conflict. That fact makes especially valuable these images, from a 3-minute video of scenes from World War I, which began 100 years ago this summer and continued for another 4 years thereafter.medalgirlww1

As one might expect, the video includes battle scenes, trench warfare, aerial combat, and torpedoes fired at sea. There are images of bombed-out homes and bereft refugees, evidence of war’s effects refugeecoldww1on civilians. And as these screenshots indicate, there are scenes of children and war: Children made to play the part of soldiers. Children stunted by starvation. Child refugees, shivering in an unsheltered winter. childrenww1

Kudos to European Film Gateway and the United Nations for this sad reminder of how little some things change.

kivu“[F]or targeting children in situations of armed conflict, including through killing, rape, abduction and forced displacement,” yet another Congolese armed group has been added to the United States’ sanctions list.

On Tuesday, the Department of the Treasury announced sanctions against the Allied Democratic Forces, which it described as a group of “1,200 to 1,500 armed fighters” that in 2013 began attacking civilians in North Kivu, a province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo that borders Uganda. (credit for (c) Associated Press map) The militia’s actions against children reportedly include:

  • “brutal attacks on women and children in several villages, including acts of beheading, mutilation, and rape”
  • “kidnapping as well as recruiting children, allegedly as young as 10 years old, to serve as child soldiers against the Ugandan government”

As this list of all Treasury sanctions indicates, the Allied Democratic Forces join many other designated groups and individuals; to name a few, persons pursued (with varying results) via the International Criminal Court Situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, such as Germain Katanga, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, Callixte Mbarushimana, Sylvestre Mudacumura, Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, and Bosco Ntaganda. All were put on the list following the implementation of a decree signed by President George W. Bush in 2006, Executive Order 13413, “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.” Section 1(a)(ii)(D) of that Executive Order expressly calls for sanctions against persons whom the Secretaries of State and the Treasury determine

to have committed serious violations of international law involving the targeting of children in situations of armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including killing and maiming, sexual violence, abduction, and forced displacement ….

Taken in conjunction with Monday’s U.N. Security Council imposition of a travel ban and assets freeze against the group – sanctions that also cite the group’s offenses against children – the U.S. sanctions will block “[a]ll property and interests in property in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons in which the ADF has an interest”; moreover, “U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with the ADF.”

megVery seldom (read never) do I take part in online campaigns, but today I am compelled to make an exception.

A middle school teacher here in Athens, Georgia, has achieved the amazing feat of winning a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching, 1 of only 43 awarded this year in the entire country. The award will allow her to spend the fall semester in  England, where she plans to enrich her already considerable knowledge about the Holocaust, with a focus on women’s roles as victims and perpetrators.

She is Meghan McNeeley (above), who’s taught at Clarke Middle School since 2000. Her languafrnakge arts class introduces 8th graders to the Holocaust through study of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl  (prior posts) – study that includes not only reading of the iconic book, but Q&A on the context in which it occurred, as well as students’ preparation of personal timelines comparing what Frank was doing at various ages to their own achievement at those same age benchmarks. Her style, on this and other assignments such as the annual Elizabethan Fair, is one to which my own son responded with fervor when she taught him a few years back. He’s just one of many students whom she’s inspired to become writers.

Ms. McNeeley’s work in this area includes visits to Auschwitz and service as a Teacher Fellow at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The use of Diary to acquaint students with profound issues of peace and war, human rights and human security deserves support – support that Ms. McNeeley now needs. The Fulbright award covers some of her expenses, but she will have to forgo her schoolteacher’s salary for the semester, and so she’s seeking Go Fund Me contributions to make up the shortfall. You can donate here if you’re so inclined.

aalsLogoThere’s much of interest in the just-published newsletter of the Section on Children and the Law of the Association of American Law Schools. Not the least is the recent election of: Cynthia Godsoe of Brooklyn Law, Chair; Jim Dwyer of William & Mary Law, Chair-Elect; Annette Appell of Washington U.-St. Louis Law, Secretary (not to mention superb newsletter editor); and Meg Annitto of Charlotte Law, Treasurer.

Also of interest are the 2 panels (each of which involves invitations issued to AALS members) that the section will sponsor during the AALS 2015 Annual Meeting set for January 2-5 in Washington, D.C.:

Dead Upon Birth: The Inter-Generational Cycle of Thwarted Lives in America’s Poorest Neighborhoods, 2-3:45 p.m. Sunday, January 4. One speaker is being sought via a call for papers, with submissions due August 15, via e-mail to jgdwye@wm.edu, with “CFP submission” in the subject line. Already scheduled as speakers are Elizabeth Bartholet of Harvard Law, Josh Gupta-Kagan of South Carolina Law, and Jim Dwyer of William & Mary Law; moderating will be Cynthia Godsoe of Brooklyn Law. On the panel, organizers write:

‘“The D.U.B.” is a nickname southside Chicago residents have given a neighborhood exemplifying a tragic reality in many of this country’s urban and rural areas: Children are born into struggling families in deeply dysfunctional neighborhoods and have little chance for full and flourishing lives. In some parts of America, a boy born today is more likely to end up in prison than college and a girl is more likely to become drug addicted than married. Many parents keep young children in “lockdown” at home when they are not in school, to shield them for as long as possible from gang recruitment and gun crossfire. This panel will discuss the economic, political, and cultural causes of concentrated poverty, crime, and disease and alternative strategies for sparing children from it. Panelists will address, from a child-centered perspective, issues such as “neighborhood effect” on child development, state response to parental incapacity, housing policy, relocation programs, foster care and adoption, inadequate education, school disciplinary policies, access to healthcare, employment opportunities, substance abuse and mental illness, criminal law enforcement and incarceration, and societal responsibility for the circumstances in which children live.’

► Junior-Scholar Works-in-Progress Workshop, 5:15-6:30 p.m. Saturday, January 3. Organizers write:

‘The idea is to give junior faculty who are writing on children’s issues an opportunity to present a current project at the annual meeting but in a relatively informal setting, so they can get more experience presenting their work and helpful feedback.’

The Section welcomes, from untenured faculty, submissions of full or partial drafts of papers not yet accepted for publication, and from tenured faculty, indications of willingness to serve as commentators on the selected papers. E-mail jgdwye@wm.edu, with “CFP submission” in the subject line, no later than the end of August.

Details for all Section events and calls here.

radianceTimes of war are marked by yearnings for peace. The landmark 1863 Lieber Code regulating combat thus said, with reference to “nations and great governments”:

‘Peace is their normal condition; war is the exception. The ultimate object of all modern war is a renewed state of peace.’

But what “peace” means is a question that lingers after combatants put down their arms. This is a point that many thinkers have made (in a recent essay I referred to the positive v. negative peace and direct v. structural violence concepts of Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Galtung). And it is a point that Ishmael Beah makes, beautifully, in his just-published novel, Radiance of Tomorrow.

Beah is best known for A Long Way Gone, his 2008 memoir of child-soldiering during the 1990s civil war in his homeland, Sierra Leone. (Prior postscredit for January 2014 photo of Beah at Carter Presidential Library, Atlanta) Some child soldiers figure in the new novel, Radiance, as well. They are now veterans:

‘Children and young people came by themselves with no parents. In the beginning they came one at a time, then in pairs, followed by four, six, or more in a group. They had been at various orphanages and households that had tried to adopt them. Some had even been at centers to learn how to be “normal children” again, a phrase they detested, so they had left and become inhabitants of rough streets in cities and towns. They were more intelligent than their years and had experienced so much hardship that each day of their lives was equal to three or more years; this showed in their fierce eyes. You had to look closely to see residues of their childhood.’

beahLong after the fighting has ended, these youths and other persons of all ages return to the village of Imperi – a name that shares roots with “empire” – in “Lion Mountain,” the anglicized name for Sierra Leone. Together they try to rebuild.

But a  new force invades even as they endeavor to retie the bonds of what had been a traditional, agrarian society. It is the outside world, capitalism in the forming of a mining company. It extracts valuable minerals first from the surrounding area and eventually from the town itself. Schools and story-telling lose support as the town center fills with bars and brothels. The resting place of ancestors is dug up even as new casualties of hazardous work are buried.

The old ways will not survive. The hoped-for “radiant tomorrow” of the book’s title will occur in a new place – even in a new voice. In the novel Beah renders into English poetic phrases from his mother tongue, Mende. As he explained in the foreword:

‘For example, in Mende, you wouldn’t say “night came suddenly”; you would say “the sky rolled over and changed its sides.” Even single words are this way – the word for “ball” in Mende translates to a “nest of air” or a “vessel that carries air.”’

The technique works exceptionally well in the novel’s first part, which is rich in imagery: “the dark spots where fire had licked with its red tongue,” for example, and “the day that war came into her life.” It seems to wane as the novel unfolds, however. This erosion of prose-poetry may be intended to mimic the depletion of Imperi and its people.  The prosaic replacement may reflect the people’s new and different life – as Beah puts it in passages with which the novel begins and ends, their new story. Beah thus provides a thought-provoking answer to the post-conflict question of the meaning of peace.