Regarding Rights

Academic and activist perspectives on human rights

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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 →

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New National Children’s Commissioner — Triumph or Timewaster?

By Mhairi Cowden

Following an intense few months of lobbying by advocacy groups, it was announced earlier last year that the Gillard government would establish a new National Children’s Commissioner within the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).

For nearly 20 years advocacy groups within Australia have been calling for the role to be established and it is exciting to see Australia finally take an important step forward in fulfilling its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CROC).

Having achieved this important goal it is now worth asking — will a National Children’s Commissioner work to enhance and secure the rights of Australian children, or will they be just another adult in the hierarchy of government?

Here I present a case for cautious optimism. Continue Reading →