Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism Bergen

Child Rights in Focus

As co-hosts for the Bergen Exchanges 2021, DIPA organized a series of events on the rights of children and child protection.

Despite Covid-19 restrictions and limitations imposed on travels, the annual Bergen Exchanges saw the participation of scholars and practitioners from all across the globe. This year’s conference focused on four core themes: child rights, health, gender, and autocratization dynamics. In collaboration with partners, DIPA co-hosted several interesting sessions on child rights, including a special Child rights section as part of the PhD course on the Effects of Lawfare: Courts and law as battleground for social change. If you missed any of the public presentations or discussions, do not worry, they were recorded and are listed with individual links below!

The Global Typology of Child Protection Systems

Director Marit Skivenes kicked off the child rights track with a presentation on the upcoming International Handbook of Child Protection Systems, co-edited with Jill Berrick and Neil Gilbert (in press, Oxford University Press). The keynote addressed variation in states’ intervention in the life of families to protect children from abuse, neglect and maltreatment when parents or family are not able to care for their children or are a threat to their well-being. While every child around the world have the right to protection and states are obligated to protect this right as signatories to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), the systems in place in individual countries differ substantially. Interventions range from a narrow focus on child exploitation to an inclusive focus on children’s rights. The handbook offers case studies from 50 countries and makes an important step in identifying key differences in the focal point of state intervention in family life.

Video: The global typology of child protection systems – YouTube

European Court of Human Rights on Child Protection and Children’s Rights

Senior Research Fellow at DIPA, Jenny Krutzinna, and Katre Luhamaa (University of Tartu) moderated a panel on case law in the European Court of Human Rights on Child Protection and Children’s Rights. The court has the authority to exercise discretion, and judgments have a potentially huge impact on member state policies and practice on these issues. Given the rise of courts as an arena for legal contestation, the moderators asked the panelists about civil rights organizations’ engagement with the courts and to what extent their legal mobilization influences the Court’s judgments. The session also provided an update on recent developments on ongoing court cases and discussed the way forward.

Panelists: Conor O’Mahoney (University College of Cork), Marius Emberland (Norwegian Attorney General’s Office), Karl Harald Søvig (University of Bergen).

Video: European Court of Human Rights on Child Protection & Children’s Rights – YouTube

Religious/Conservative Movements and Fake News

PhD Candidate at DIPA, Mathea Loen, moderated a roundtable on transnational conservative movements, shedding light on the processes that drive challenges to academic freedom and the accessibility of truthful facts. How are these movements funded, who are the central actors and institutions, and how can we meet the challenges they pose to the liberal rights of different groups in society, such as women, LGBT, the disabled and minorities?

Panelists: Neil Datta (European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights), Lisa-Marie Måseidvåg Selvik (University of Bergen), Asgeir Falch-Eriksen (OsloMet University).

Video: Religious/Conservative Movements and Fake News – YouTube

Young People as Experts by Experience: Participatory Research, Policy-, and Service Development

PhD Candidate at the University of Bergen, Lucie Ducarre, facilitated a conversation with experts by experience, representatives from civil society, Bergen Municipality, and researchers on children’s right to participation. Reports from children themselves, public audits and research demonstrates that children are not involved and do not participate to the extent that the UNCRC and laws prescribe. By bringing these diverse sets of actors together, the session provided perspectives on how to solve this problem.

Panelists: Stefan Schnurr (University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland), Vibeke Normann Andersen (SUS-Social Development Centre), Anna Helene Møllerup (SUS-Social Development Centre), Louice Hetland (Bergen Municipality), Forandringsfabrikken.

Video: Young People as Experts by Experience: Participatory Research, Policy- and Service Development – YouTube

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Articles 3 and 12: Opportunities and Challenges

Researcher at DIPA, Hege Beate Stein Helland, moderated the final session of this year’s Bergen Exchanges, bringing together researchers from three different continents to discuss the sometimes contradictory Article 3 (best interest of the child) and Article 12 (respect for the views of the child).

Panelists: Elaine Sutherland (University of Stirling), Nicholas Bala (Queen’s University, Canada), Lesley-Anne Macfarlane (Edinburgh Napier University), Lize Mills (University of Stellenbosch).

Video: UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Articles 3 and 12: Opportunities and Challenges – YouTube

For access to the full program, please visit Lawtransform.

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