Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

  1. What is the Child Rights International Network - CRIN?

  2. What do we do?

  3. What issues does CRIN work on?

  4. How does CRIN support children’s rights activists?

  5. How does CRIN work in different regions?

  6. How can I engage with CRIN’s network?

  7. How can I work/ volunteer with CRIN?

  8. Does CRIN provide financial or material assistance?

  9. Where does CRIN’s funding come from?

  10. What are children's rights?

  11. How can I find information on children's rights?

  12. Where can I find the latest information on children's rights?

  13. What is the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child?

  14. Why hasn't the United States ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child?

  15. Where can I find information on children's rights and the law?

  16. How/where to report a violation of a child’s rights?

 


What is the Child Rights International Network?

CRIN is a not-for-profit organisation based in London, UK, but we work globally. We have ten members of staff in London and the rest are based in different parts of the world including a small office in Bethlehem, Palestine. Our work is not country-focused, but global, and we work in five languages, including English, French, Arabic, Spanish and Russian and some information is available in Chinese and other languages.

Our goal is a world where children's rights are recognised, respected and enforced, and where every rights violation has a remedy.

 

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What do we do?

CRIN is a global research, policy and advocacy organisation and our work is grounded in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We work on all children’s rights and conduct our work in a number of ways.

CRIN’s work has evolved from being primarily a network focused on providing information to having a greater focus on our legal and campaigning work. However, the dissemination of news and information on children’s rights is still integral to our work, and we do this through weekly newsletters, regularly updating our website, being active on social media, and publishing much of our content in several languages.

We engage in policy work through analysing and providing commentary on emerging children’s rights issues and are increasingly engaging in direct advocacy on issues where we believe we can make a positive change. Our campaigning work is often in collaboration with national, regional and international partners and we work closely with several UN and regional agencies on supporting their focus on strengthening children’s rights.

Lastly, we passionately believe the law can be a powerful tool for enforcing children’s rights and addressing violations. We undertake legal research examining the interaction between children’s rights and the law, and manage legal databases with information on court cases, laws and standards significant for children's rights around the world.

 

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What issues do CRIN work on?

CRIN works on all children's rights issues, but in different ways. Through our monitoring work we identify violations and decide what action to take using the criteria below.

  1. Does this represent a significant/serious violation of children’s rights affecting many children across many regions, or seriously affecting groups of children in certain regions/states?
  2. Is there currently a lack of visibility and lack of advocacy to challenge these violations?
  3. Could effective advocacy on this issue provide a wider breakthrough in children’s rights advocacy/children’s status?
  4. Are there clear and definable goals for this advocacy?
  5. Are there particular opportunities for effective advocacy now?
  6. Is there potential for influential, high-level or other support for this advocacy now?
  7. Is there a clear and definable role for CRIN?
  8. Does CRIN have or can we develop the necessary human and other resources to fulfil this role?
  9. Are there any risks to CRIN or other organisations in getting involved in this issue?

You can find more information on some of the issues we work on in the policy section of our website.

 

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How does CRIN support children’s rights activists?

CRIN has a website guides section dedicated to providing information, resources and toolkits to help you protect, promote and advocate for children’s rights. They are full of information, ranging from navigating and understanding the UN system, to bringing strategic court cases, and getting positive images of children in the media. These guides are free to, download, and share. If you have suggestions for improvements or new guides, please email us on info@crin.org.

In some circumstances and on particular issues, CRIN is able provide direct to support to children’s rights activists, such as providing legal advocacy support or sharing our processes for how we work on certain issues. CRIN has also developed a series of strategic litigation case studies, with the aim of encouraging children's advocates around the world to use strategic litigation when appropriate. We also publish much of our content in a number of different languages in order to reach as many activists and organisations as possible.

We are also support children’s rights activists by supporting them with our research and information on a wide range of children’s rights issues, supporting them with their advocacy and policy work. Some of our recent research includes:

 

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How does CRIN work in different regions?

For our work to be most effective, it must be collaborative. At CRIN, much of our work is about supporting advocates working nationally with new advocacy strategies, legal research and inspiration from other parts of the world - and this relationship is reciprocal.

Middle East and North Africa and Eastern Europe and Central Asia

However, in some regions we take a more active role, either because repressive regimes mean that advocates are not willing and able to challenge the status quo or because no regional children's rights network exists as yet. We have identified two regions in particular - the Middle East and North Africa, on the one hand, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia on the other - where we feel we can help join up some of these dots. This is why we operate programmes for these two regions which take on research, communications, networking and advocacy activities.

Spain and Latin America countries

Beyond these regions, our work is divided along language rather than regional lines - for several reasons. In some places, such as Latin America, children's rights networks are flourishing - no doubt partly as a result of a common language as well as the strong regional human rights advocacy that developed in response to similarities in many of these countries'  histories. This means our work is more about sharing information, particularly about opportunities for advocacy on the international scene, for advocates to take up in both Spain and Latin America. We also translate a considerable amount of information, this year with the help of two successful partnerships with the University of Salamanca and the University of Alcalá, both in Spain.

Francophone countries

In other cases, a language may be used in multiple regions or countries that do not share the same children's rights concerns. This is the case for French, and again means that we mostly provide information in French, but, for the moment at least, have not taken a more active role in a particular region, although we are developing contacts and research in Francophone Africa and recently held a legal advocacy workshop with activists from eight countries in Francophone Africa.

Caribbean

CRIN's is also developing a new regional strategy for the Caribbean. Our work in the region involves analysis of persistent violations of children's rights and access to justice, outreach with NGOs and activists in the region, and the development of a legal advocacy workshop with local partners in order to develop national and regional legal advocacy plans.

 

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How can I engage with CRIN’s network?

Our ambitious mission to generate real change in how governments and societies view and treat children will not be possible unless we work collectively. We are stronger when we work together, rather than alone and trying to replicate what others do.

Become part of a worldwide activists’ community

There are many ways organisations and individuals can contribute to CRIN’s work. This can include engaging with one of our campaign, seeking our support for a joint campaign, supporting advocacy initiatives, or signing on to one of our advocacy statements. Collaboration is crucial to CRIN’s work. Our Access to Justice work would not have been possible without the support of hundreds of activists, lawyers and NGOs. Much of our advocacy work, such as those on appointment processes at UNICEF, transparency issues at ECOSOC, the UN response to sexual violence in CAR, or on the NGO council on violence against children were all joined efforts.

We invite people to work with us to advance children’s rights by contributing their knowledge, information and expertise to the CRIN library of over 30,000 unique resources.

We call on the children’s rights community to help us shape our work by offering us insights, advice and feedback. Get in contact and email us.

We invite others to share, adapt and reuse our materials where they can. We work to promote children’s rights, not ourselves, and encourage our partners to do the same.

We equip people with tools and guides to promote and protect children's rights, both internationally and at national level. Everything we produce, be it a guide to how the UN works or toolkits to undertake campaigns and advocacy work, we provide for free. We  publish guides to how we do our work, such as research or legal advocacy, for others to replicate..

 

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How can I work/ volunteer with CRIN?

Employment vacancies: All employment vacancies are advertised through CRINMAIL and posted on our website.

Paid internships: CRIN began a paid internship programme in 2014 with positions in journalism, advocacy and legal research. The programme is based on need and resources available and does not run year round. If you are interested in upcoming opportunities, visit our website for any available paid internships.

Other ways of supporting CRIN: We rely on the contributions of many individuals and organisations from around the world who volunteer their time to support our work. We are particularly interested to work with individuals and organisations who have expertise in IT and IT security, UN monitoring, legal and policy research. We are also keen to work with volunteer translators, in either Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish.

If you have any ideas or skills you think would be useful to CRIN and  you are willing to give up some of your time, we would love to hear from you. Please get in touch via info@crin.org.

 

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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.

 

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Where does CRIN’s funding come from?

Our funding comes from a few foundations in US, Switzerland and from two governments, Sweden and Norway. We regularly approach other possible donors, but we do not take money from the public. If you would like to make a donation to CRIN, this can be done by bank transfer.

Please contact us at info@crin.org for more information.

 

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What are children's rights?

Children’s rights are human rights. Children must be treated with equality, respect and dignity, not because they are "the future" or the "adults of tomorrow", but because they are human beings today. All humans are born inherent with fundamental freedoms and rights.

Children must enjoy the same human rights as everybody else - from the right to freedom of expression to the right to privacy. This means all human rights laws apply equally to children and adults.

However, children are afforded a low status in most societies. For example, in almost every country children under the age of 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 an adult.

This means children have specific rights to help protect them from the threats, exclusions and discrimination they are vulnerable to. These rights are embodied in international law in the Convention on the Rights of the Children (CRC) and its Optional Protocols - one on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography; another on armed conflict; while another sets up an international complaints mechanism so cases of children’s rights abuse can be taken to the UN. Read more.

 

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How can I find information about children's rights?

Our website contains thousands of resources, including:

  • News, publications and events on children’s rights issues, go to CRIN’s resources section where you can search by information type, theme, country or language;

  • Information on particular themes, search the themes menu;

  • Information about children's rights in a particular country, go to our A-Z of countries;

  • 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.

  • A legal database

 

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Where can I find the latest information on children's rights?

  • CRINMAIL: CRIN publishes several e-newsletters in English, French, Spanish, Russian and Arabic. We also publish thematic editions on the UN, armed conflict, and strategic litigation. You can subscribe to any of these email lists and unsubscribe at any time. Archives of CRINMAIL issues are also available on our website.

  • CRIN website: The website is updated every day with the news, reports and events.

  • Twitter: CRIN promotes children’s rights activism through  our Twitter account.

 

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What is the Convention on the Rights of the Child?

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) 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, and where the rights and obligations lie in this relationship on issues like children’s right to health, freedom of expression, the right to be free from violence, the right to privacy and many more.

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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Why hasn't the United States ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child?

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, Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have failed to initiate the ratification process, which would have bound the US to the Convention's provisions.

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. However, despite two terms in office, the Obama administration has not ratified the CRC.

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Where can I find information on children’s rights and the law?

The law can be a very powerful tool for enforcing human rights and addressing violations. But the justice system can also be a place where human rights are violated.

The “Children and the Law Guide” section of our website features information in plain language about how to use the law to fight for change and get children’s rights enforced. It also includes advice on how to ensure the legal system does not cause violations of children’s rights.

In the law section of our website you can find our legal research, including our access to justice for children project that sets out the legal status of the child in every country, a children’s rights case law database and our legal advocacy workshop programme.

We promote the use of plain language so everyone can access the information they need about children’s rights. Our glossary of legal terms might be helpful if you are struggling with jargon!

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How/where to report a violation of a child’s rights?

If the infringement relates to a child who is at risk of harm or abuse, you should report directly to the police, local authority/child protection services, or to a national child helpline, who can advise and/or  take action in coordination with the various relevant agencies in your country.

If you are a child or young person and need to speak to someone, you can call helplines in many countries, click here for a list. Most of them are completely confidential but if you are worried about them telling someone, just ask them before you talk whether what you say will remain confidential, or check on their website. You can find a list of child helplines on our website here, or search on the Child Helplines International website.

If you are an adult and wish to report an infringement that relates to the actions of the State, or to a deeper structural and systemic problem, you might make a complaint to a children's ombudsperson - this is a public office headed by an independent public official that receives complaints from the public about injustice and maladministration by government agencies. You can find a list global list of children’s ombudspersons here. If you are based in Europe you can find a list of children's ombudspersons by country on the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children here.

You may also wish to report infringements to local children's and human rights NGOs. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child accepts reports from NGOs and children when it conducts its reviews of State parties' progress in implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child (you can find useful information on this process on Child Rights' Connects website here).

Additionally, if your country is a party to the Optional Protocol to CRC on a communications procedure (check here), children who have been the victim of a violation of the CRC, or their representatives, can submit complaints directly to the Committee - but you are first required to exhaust domestic remedies by first taking legal action in your own country (see our toolkit on the CRC complaints mechanism here).

Going to court can be expensive and time-consuming, but you may be able to find support from local legal aid organisations, pro bono lawyers, university law clinics, human rights organisations, etc. On our website you can find country-specific reports on access to justice, a directory of children's rights legal clinics in the European Union, and a directory of children's rights organisations which you can filter by country, as well as several guides on legal systems and children's rights.

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