Regarding Rights

Academic and activist perspectives on human rights


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Should we play the rights card? Criminalising alcohol consumption while pregnant

Graphic sourced from the 'Drinking Diaries' blog: www.drinkingdiaries.com/2010/08/31

Graphic sourced from the ‘Drinking Diaries’ blog: www.drinkingdiaries.com

By Mhairi Cowden

Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University

A recent study, undertaken by the Lililwan Project, found that 50% of 8 year old aboriginal children  attending school in the Fitzroy Valley have signs of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). FASD is more widespread than many imagine. It is referred to as an ‘invisible disability’ as it often goes undetected. In order to address this, the Northern Territory Government is currently considering a proposal to introduce legislation allowing criminal prosecutions of pregnant women for drinking. Continue Reading →


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The right to birth registration in Tanzania

By Summer Wood,

New York University

Tanzania registration agency sign

Tanzania registration agency sign

Having a birth certificate is a basic human right, established by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (art. 15), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (art. 24), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (art. 7). A birth certificate is regarded as the ‘first human right’ and can provide a gateway to the realization of many other civil, political, economic, and social rights for children, including access to health and education services, and protection from human rights violations such as child labor, child marriage, trafficking, and criminal prosecution as an adult.

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Corporal Punishment and Children: Why is there a legal discrepancy in Australia between the use of physical force against children, and the use of physical force against adults?

Children at the UNRWA Summer Games 2011.  Source: UN Photo / Shareef Sarhan

Children at the 2011 UNRWA Summer Games
Source: UN Photo / Shareef Sarhan

By Nikola Stepanov

The recent Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) Position Statement Physical Punishment of Children illuminates the ongoing discrepancies in many nations, including Australia, between the legal rights of adult persons and the legal rights of children. Continue Reading →


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Omar Khadr – the Child Soldier Turned Adult Prisoner: Abuse and Neglect by the US and Canada

By Veronica Fynn 

Omar Khadr, aged 14 Source: Wikimedia

Omar Khadr, aged 14
Source: Wikimedia

The Committee welcomes the recent return of Omar Kadr to the custody of the State party. However, the Committee is concerned that as a former child soldier, Omar Kadr has not been accorded the rights and appropriate treatment under the Convention. In particular, the Committee is concerned that he experienced grave violations of his human rights, which the Canadian Supreme Court recognized, including his maltreatment during his years of detention in Guantanamo, and that he has not been afforded appropriate redress and remedies for such violations. The Committee urges the State party to promptly provide a rehabilitation programme for Omar Kadr that is consistent with the Paris Principles and Guidelines on Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups and ensure that Omar Khadr is provided with an adequate remedy for the human rights violations that the Supreme Court of Canada ruled he experienced.

– Committee on the Rights of the Child[1]

Between 1983 and 2005, some 20,000 Nuer and Dinka boys – dubbed the ‘Lost Boys of Sudan’[2] – aged between 7 and 17 years, were orphaned, displaced and forcibly conscripted due to the Sudanese Civil War. Emmanuel Jal,[3] now a famous musician, was recruited along with his father by the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army at the age of seven, after his mother was killed by Government forces. Continue Reading →