Powerpoint Presentation on Human Rights

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OBJECTIVES                  By the end of the session, participants will be able to:
                               Describe the basics of international law and define key
                                international legal terms
                               Name the primary human rights instruments and the main
                                protections they provide, particularly for children
                               Explain the application of human rights law in complex
                               Formulate advocacy strategies on protection using international
                                legal standards

TIME                        2 hours 30 minutes

KEY MESSAGES                   Familiarity with international human rights standards will allow for
                                more focused and effective advocacy at all levels on
                                humanitarian issues
                               CRC & OPs = key tools for protection of children‟s rights
                               Certain rights are non-derogable, even during a state of
                               All UNICEF programmes are guided by human rights

CONTENTS                     Activities
                             PowerPoint Presentation
                             Participant Manual
                             Trainer Resources

SESSION 2 – INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW                                                         1
SESSION PLAN                Activities                              Methodology       Duration

                            Introduction                                              2 minutes
                            Activity 1: Match the Terminology       Exercise in       30 minutes
                            Activity 2: Overview of International   Interactive       30 minutes
                            Human Rights Law                        Presentation
                            Activity 3: Knowing the Optional        True and False    30 minutes
                            Protocols to the CRC                    Exercise
                            Activity 4: Human Rights Instruments    Interactive       15 minutes
                            & their Limitations                     Presentation
                            Activity 5: Delivering the Message on   Case Study        40 minutes
                            Child Soldiers
                            Review of Key Messages for Session                        3 minutes

                            Total time                                                2 hours 30

ADVANCE                     Action                                                    Done
                            Familiarise yourself with the key international human
NOTES                       rights instruments (UDHR, ICCPR, ICESCR, CRC &
                            OP, CEDAW)

                            Update 2.3: „Table of International and Regional Human
                            Rights Instruments‟ to be relevant for your region.
                            Useful websites:

                            Review the PowerPoint presentation for Session 2

                            Read the William O‟Neill paper: “A Humanitarian
                            Practitioner‟s Guide to International Human Rights Law”
                            (see Trainer Resources)

                            Prepare two flipcharts with numbers 1-7 down the left
                            side of one; numbers 8-14 on the other flipchart

SESSION 2 – INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW                                                        2
                            Option: If time, put the 14 terms listed in the activity,
                            each term on its own sheet of paper or large VIPP card.
                            Use a bold type or writing style so that the entire page is
                            filled with just the one term. Post the term on the VIPP
                            board as you discuss its meaning with participants. If
                            possible, leave up for the duration of the training. Use a
                            wall space as an option if a VIPP board is not available.

 MATERIALS                  Item                                                          Ready

                            PowerPoint Overhead Projector and Screen

                            PowerPoint slides: Session 2

                            Flip charts (one per small group and one for facilitator),
                            and markers

                            Participant Manual

                            2.1 Match the Terminology

                            2.2 Cape Town Principles

                            2.3 Table of International and Regional Human Rights

                            2.4 Delivering the Message on Child Soldiers

                            2.5 Derogations During States of Emergency

                            2.6 Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in
                            Armed Conflict

                            2.7 Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child
                            Prostitution and Child Pornography

                            Trainer Resources

                            2.8 Match the Terminology Answer Key

                            Guide to the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of
                            Children in Armed Conflict (UNICEF and Coalition to
                            Stop the Use of Child Soldiers), December 2003. (If
                            copies are available, distribute to participants.)

                            William G. O‟Neill, “A Humanitarian Practitioner‟s Guide
                            to International Human Rights Law”. Thomas J. Watson
                            Jr. Institute for International Studies. Occasional Paper
                            No. 34, 1999. Available at:
                            ml (downloadable in PDF)

SESSION 2 – INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW                                                        3
KEY TO ICONS               These icons will help guide you through the session.

                                             Tips for the Trainer

                                             Show Slides

                                             See Trainer Resources Materials

                                             Refer to Participant Manual

                                             Distribute Handouts

SESSION 2 – INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW                                        4


 Time: 2 minutes
                             Slide 2: Presentation of Session Objectives
                             This session provides participants with an overview of the basics of
                             international law and international human rights law. It focuses on
                             the application of human rights in emergencies and means to
                             advocate for their protection.

                             Trainer Guidance
                             Today there is a plethora of international human rights instruments
                             yet violations of human rights continue to be widespread across the
                             world. Participants may ask questions that relate to this gap between
                             the theory and practice of human rights, and it is important for you to
                             consider how you will respond. There are many political, social,
                             economic and cultural factors that will continue to give rise to human
                             rights violations yet the international community continues to work
                             hard to prevent and reduce these.

                             For example, you may wish to mention that although human rights
                             abuses continue to occur at an alarming rate today, there is greater
                             awareness of them, greater willingness to acknowledge them and
                             this in turn can lead to action to address them more quickly.

                             The UN Programme for Reform launched in 1997 called on the
                             entire UN system to enhance its human rights programmes. As a
                             result, there are a number of new enforcement mechanisms, such
                             as the Special Courts, the International Criminal Court, Truth
                             Commissions, new UN Peacekeeping Missions and humanitarian
                             interventions etc. Efforts are being made to strengthen existing UN
                             human rights mechanisms such as the treaty monitoring bodies and
                             the special thematic and country rapporteurs. There is also better
                             monitoring of human right violations from international NGOs such
                             as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, as well as
                             internal pressure placed on a government from within the country
                             from national human rights NGOs and civil society. Advocacy efforts
                             from the media and donors can also contribute to the prevention and
                             reduction of human rights violations.

                             Clearly there is a long way to go to ensuring respect for human
                             rights although much is being done to work towards achieving that
                             greater goal. However, we must also be realistic at some of the

SESSION 2 – INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW                                                          5
                             limitations of international action, especially considering that the
                             decision-making bodies for compliance and enforcement measures
                             within the UN are comprised of states, who may be responsible for
                             the human rights violations occurring in their country. Respect for
                             human rights will ultimately depend on the political and moral will of
                             each state and, therefore, our efforts to ensure universal respect for
                             human rights must also focus on national action.

SESSION 2 – INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW                                                            6

Time: 30 minutes             Trainer Guidance
                             This activity is intended to familiarise participants with the basic
                             terminology of International Law and some of the UN protection
                             mechanisms. The intent is NOT to discuss the legal aspects of a
                             particular human rights instrument at this time. If participants are still
                             unclear about the meaning of the terms, use the CRC as a practical
                             illustration to explain their application.

                             Working in Pairs
                             10 minutes

                             Refer participants to 2.1 Match the Terminology exercise in their
                             manuals. In pairs, request participants to correctly match the term to
                             the definition.

                             Debriefing the Exercise
                             15 minutes

                             1. Once the groups have completed the assessment, start with the
                                first definition (#1) and ask the group for the correct response.
                                Do this in order (#2 to #12) until all the terms have been correctly
                                matched. Write each term on the flipchart in order. Clarify any
                                confusion as needed. See 2.8 Answer Key in Trainer
                             2. Refer participants to the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict
                                Glossary (1.6) in their manuals for a more expansive look at legal
                                and conflict-related terminology.

                             5-10 minutes
                             (This exercise may also be used as a refresher or energiser later in
                             the programme.)

                                Request participants to stand up and stand on one side of the
                                Either individually OR in the same pairs (depending upon how
                                 many participants are in the programme), participants are to
                                 answer as you point, in no particular order, to one of the terms
                                 on the flipchart or VIPP board and give you a brief concise
                                 definition, without reading from their sheet.
                                As soon as the individual or pair give you the response, tell them
                                 to move to the other side of the room
                                No one participant or pair may respond twice.
                                Quickly review all the terms in this manner.

SESSION 2 – INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW                                                            7
                             Trainer Summary
                             Stress that knowing how the terminology is applied, and the key
                             mechanisms that are used, is critical in order to be able to discuss
                             international legal standards, whether with a government official or
                             with a colleague. Not knowing the correct terminology usage is
                             grating on the ears of those who do know, and likely to diminish your
                             credibility if in a serious rights based discussion!

SESSION 2 – INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW                                                       8

Time: 30 minutes             Trainer Guidance
                             This activity is an interactive presentation that is intended to provide
                             an overview of international human rights law (IHRL) and the two
                             Optional Protocols (OP) to the Convention on the Rights of the Child
                             (CRC) by using questions and statements to stimulate discussion on
                             some of their features.

                             However, a brief look at international law is first necessary for
                             participants to understand how IHRL law is situated, as well as other
                             branches of international law (e.g. refugee law, criminal law,
                             humanitarian law etc) that will be covered in the programme. Much
                             of this session will be a refresher for UNICEF staff who are familiar
                             with the basics of IHRL, but perhaps not so familiar with the
                             provisions of the OP‟s and the application of IHRL in emergency

                             Request participants not to refer to their manual until the end of this

                             Slide 3: What is International Law?
                             International law is a body of law that:
                             1. regulates the legal relationships between states or between
                                 states and individuals;
                             2. grants specific rights to individuals; and
                             3. imposes duties and obligations on States, individuals and

                             Slide 4: What are the Primary Sources of International
                             There are two primary sources of international law:
                             1. Treaties
                             2. Customary International Law

                             Treaties are legally binding instruments by which governments can
                             be held accountable. International treaties have different
                             designations such as covenants, charters, protocols, conventions,
                             accords and agreements. A state can become a party to a treaty by
                             ratification, accession or succession.

                             Customary international law are norms that have developed from
                             a general and consistent practice of States, followed by them out of
                             a sense of legal obligation rather than a formal expression in a treaty
                             or legal text. For example, while the Universal Declaration of
SESSION 2 – INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW                                                             9
                             Human Rights is not in itself a binding treaty, some of its provisions
                             have the character of customary international law (e.g. all forms of
                             slavery, extra-judicial killing, torture, prolonged arbitrary detention,
                             genocide …)

                             International law can regulate all types of dealings between states:
                             trade, environmental issues, human rights, armed conflict/war and
                             so on. This training programme focuses on the branches of
                             international law that principally afford protection to the rights of the
                             individual, particularly in conflict situations.

                             Slide 5: What is International Human Rights Law?
                             IHRL is a series of international human rights treaties and other
                             instruments that have emerged since 1945 conferring legal form on
                             inherent human rights. IHRL consists mainly of treaties and
                             customs, as well as declarations, guidelines and principles (the latter
                             are non-binding unless passed by the Security Council).

                             Slide 6: Why is it Important to Know about International
                             Human Rights Law?
                             Before showing slide 6, ask participants how they view
                             international human rights law as relating to their work.

                             Responses may include the following:
                              UNICEF is bound by the UN Charter which declares as a primary
                                purpose of the United Nations in its preamble "promoting and
                                encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental
                                freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or
                                The Secretary General‟s UN reform process obliges all UN
                                 agencies to mainstream human rights in their work;
                                UNICEF‟s Mission Statement cites the CRC, which is an
                                 international human rights treaty and provides a legal foundation
                                 for the ethical and moral principles that guide our work for
                                Many other international human rights treaties are relevant to
                                 UNICEF‟s work, including CEDAW and the two optional
                                 protocols to the CRC;
                                UNICEF adopts a human rights-based approach to
                                 programming, in other words human rights provide the
                                 conceptual and operational framework for the development of a
                                 UNICEF Country Programme of Cooperation;
                                Treaties to which a State is legally bound determine the
                                 framework for our country programmes, including our advocacy
                                 efforts (this refers to both treaties and customary law)

SESSION 2 – INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW                                                           10
                             Slide 7: What are the Four Guiding Human Rights
                             Briefly review the four human rights principles:
                              Universality
                                Indivisibility and interdependence of rights
                                Accountability
                                Participation

                             The principle of universality is the foundation of all human rights
                             treaties. Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
                             states: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and
                             rights." The related principle of non-discrimination (on the basis of
                             race, colour, gender, language, opinion, origin, disability, birth or any
                             other characteristic) is expressed in Article 2 of the CRC. Issues of
                             exclusion, inequality and injustice are therefore central concerns in
                             the dialogue with national partners, and in the development of
                             programmes of cooperation.

                             Another important principle is the indivisibility and
                             interdependence of rights. The fulfillment of one right cannot be
                             achieved by compromising or violating another right. In many
                             situations one right can only be adequately fulfilled if progress is
                             being made in ensuring another right. For example, a child‟s right to
                             basic education can only be realised if his or her survival is not
                             constantly threatened. All rights have equal status, and there are no
                             rights that are more important than others.

                             Accountability is a human rights principle with strong programme
                             implications. States acknowledge and accept obligations when they
                             ratify human rights treaties. In doing so they agree to implement
                             these treaties and to be accountable for respecting, protecting and
                             fulfilling the rights of the people within their jurisdiction. States
                             Parties must demonstrate efforts to implement the provisions of the
                             treaties they ratify. Ratification requires States to align their domestic
                             laws with treaty provisions and to ensure that steps are taken to
                             make government at national and sub-national levels respond in
                             ways consistent with the letter and intent of the law.

                             The principle of participation is an important consideration in
                             programming. Human rights law firmly establishes that every person
                             and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy
                             economic, cultural and social development, through which all human
                             rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realised. The
                             participation of children and young people is not only desirable for
                             increased ownership and sustainability of programme outcomes, but
                             has consequences for the design and implementation of
                             programmes and development activities.

SESSION 2 – INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW                                                           11
                             Slide 8: Classification of Human Rights
                             Briefly review the classification of rights into three groups: (1) civil
                             and political; (2) economic, social and cultural; and (3) collective.

                             Before showing slide 8, ask participants what the first development
                             was in the international human rights arena.
                              The adoption in 1948 of the Universal Declaration of Human
                                Rights (UDHR) and the Convention on the Prevention and
                                Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Prior to these important
                                instruments were minority treaties adhered to on bilateral or
                                multilateral bases, the Charter of the International Military
                                Tribunal in Nuremberg, as well as international humanitarian law.
                                Explain that the UDHR was not intended to contribute to legal
                                 developments but was adopted by the UN General Assembly as
                                 a "common standard of achievement". Nevertheless, it was a
                                 giant step forward in terms of bringing human rights onto the
                                 international arena. The UDHR was then codified with the
                                 adoption of two Covenants in 1966: the International Covenant
                                 on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the International
                                 Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR),
                                 which are legally binding.
                                The ICCPR deals exclusively with civil and political rights, such
                                 as freedom of movement and expression, religion and
                                 conscience. The ICESCR deals exclusively with economic,
                                 social and cultural rights that should be progressively achieved
                                 by the contracting states, such as the right to work, social
                                 security, adequate food, clothing and housing.
                                Collective rights could include the right to development, the right
                                 to humanitarian assistance, the right to a healthy environment,
                                 the right to peace. Article 1 of both the ICCPR and the ICESCR
                                 recognises the right of peoples to self-determination.

                             Slide 9: International Bill of Rights
                             Before showing slide 9, ask participants what the International Bill
                             of Human Rights is.

                             The International Bill of Human Rights is the centerpiece of the
                             international human rights framework. It is not a single legal
                             document; rather, it comprises the three instruments mentioned
                              UDHR
                                ICCPR
                                ICESCR

SESSION 2 – INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW                                                              12
                             Slide 10: Other Major International Human Rights
                             Before showing slide 10, ask participants to identify some of the
                             other major human rights instruments.

                             The following human rights instruments are important because they
                             have a monitoring body in the form of a Committee:
                              Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
                                Discrimination (CERD), 1965
                                Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
                                 against Women (CEDAW), 1979
                                Convention against Torture (CAT), 1984
                                Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), 1989

                             It is also important to remember the 1951 Convention relating to the
                             Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, for which the "monitoring
                             body" is the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
                             (UNHCR). In addition, Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement
                             were adopted in 1998, which provide an important standard for the
                             protection of internally displaced persons despite the fact that they
                             are not legally binding. These will covered in more depth in a
                             separate session.

                             Refer participants to the Table of International and Regional Human
                             Rights Instruments (2.3) in their participant’s manual to see which
                             instruments apply in their countries.

                             Slide 11: Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
                             The CRC is the most widely ratified treaty in international human
                             rights law.

                             Ask participants which two States have signed—but not ratified the
                             CRC? (US and Somalia)

                             The CRC includes civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights
                             and applies to all children in all situations at all times. Article 38 is
                             especially important for emergencies as it calls upon States to
                             respect the rules of international humanitarian law, and ensure
                             protection and care for children affected by armed conflict. The
                             CRC is the only example of a human rights instrument directly
                             incorporating obligations found in the laws of armed conflict. It also
                             makes connections to refugee law. Considering all these elements,
                             the CRC constitutes a powerful advocacy tool for the humanitarian

SESSION 2 – INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW                                                          13
                             Slide 12: What are the Four Foundation Principles for the
                             Before showing slide12, ask participants to name the four
                             foundation principles of the CRC.

                             The CRC embodies four general principles for guiding
                             implementation of the rights of the child:
                              Non-discrimination ensuring equality of opportunity;
                                When the authorities of a State take decisions which affect
                                 children, a primary consideration must be to the best interests
                                 of the child;
                                The right to life, survival and development which includes
                                 physical, mental, emotional, cognitive, social and cultural
                                Children should be free to express their opinions, and such views
                                 should be given due weight taking the age and maturity of the
                                 child into consideration (respect for the views of the child).

                             Slide 13: Optional Protocols to the CRC
                             Before showing slide 13, ask participants whether they can name
                             the two Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the
                              Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and
                                 Child Pornography. Entered into force on 18 January 2002.
                                Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed
                                 Conflict. Entered into force on 12 February 2002.
                             The two OPs were adopted by the UN General Assembly on 25 May
                             2000 (A/Res/54/263).
                             NB: If time permits, the trainer should also make brief
                             references to the importance of national and regional human
                             rights law which also play a key role in ensuring the protection
                             of children and women.

SESSION 2 – INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW                                                         14

Time: 30 minutes             Trainer Guidance
                             This activity is aimed at ensuring participants are familiar with the
                             key provisions and protections afforded by the two Optional
                             Protocols to the CRC. Watch the time on this activity as discussions
                             are often lively and the exercise needs to be well paced.

                                Ask participants to react to the following 6-8 statements
                                 regarding the two Optional Protocols to the CRC by indicating
                                 „true‟, „false‟ or „maybe‟. You may not have time to cover them
                                 all, but make sure that you at least cover some statements from
                                 both Optional Protocols.
                                Designate one area of the room for those who say „true‟, another
                                 area for those who say „false‟ and a third area in the middle for
                                 those who say „maybe‟.
                                After you read a statement (show it at the same time on the
                                 PowerPoint slides, 2.14-2.21), ask participants to physically
                                 move to the part of the room corresponding to their reaction to
                                 the statement. Lead a discussion on why people reacted the
                                 way they did, and use the trainer‟s notes below to supplement
                                 the correct response.

                             Firstly, regarding the Optional Protocol on the
                             Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict:

                             Slide 14
                             1. Governments are prohibited from conscripting or compulsorily
                                recruiting any persons under the age of 18 into their armed
                                 True: OP prohibits compulsory recruitment of children. (CRC
                                 prohibits recruitment for persons under 15)

                             Slide 15
                             2. Governments are prohibited from voluntarily recruiting persons
                                under the age of 18 into their armed forces.
                                 False: OP permits voluntary recruitment of 16 & 17 year olds.
                                 Governments must raise their minimum age for voluntary
                                 recruitment beyond the current age of 15, and must deposit a
                                 binding declaration stating the minimum age they will respect.
                                 Governments recruiting under-18s must maintain a series of

SESSION 2 – INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW                                                         15
                                safeguards, ensuring that such recruitment is genuinely
                                voluntary; is done with the informed consent of the person's
                                parents or legal guardians; that recruits are fully informed of the
                                duties involved in military service; and that proof of age is
                                established. (CRC prohibits for under 15)

                             Slide 16
                             3. Government armed forces are not permitted to engage members
                                of their armed forces that are under the age of 18 in direct
                                True: Governments must take all feasible measures to ensure
                                that members of their armed forces that are under the age of 18
                                do not take a direct part in hostilities. Note that while children
                                have a right to hold a political opinion, the expression of this right
                                through active participation in hostilities is superceded by their
                                right to protection.

                             Slide 17
                             4. Non-governmental armed groups are permitted to voluntarily
                                recruit under-18s.
                                False. Rebel or other non-governmental armed groups are
                                prohibited from recruiting under-18s or using them in hostilities.
                                Governments are required to criminalize such practices and take
                                other measures to prevent the recruitment and use of children by
                                such groups.

                             Secondly, regarding the Optional Protocol on the Sale of
                             Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography:

                             Slide 18
                             5. The OP recognises and addresses the link between the sexual
                                exploitation of children and armed conflict.
                                False: Although the commercial sexual exploitation of children
                                and women is a well-recognised consequence of armed conflict,
                                the OP failed to recognise and address these links. There is a
                                growing trend to make the links between armed conflict and an
                                increase in the trafficking and sexual exploitation of girls and
                                women. In post conflict situations, where a demand is often
                                created, the links are even more apparent.

                             Slide 19
                             6. If the age of a child is uncertain, a criminal investigation cannot
                                be pursued.
                                False: The OP states that uncertainty as to the actual age of the
                                victim shall not prevent the initiation of criminal investigations,
                                including investigations aimed at establishing the age of the

SESSION 2 – INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW                                                            16
                             Slide 20
                             7. The OP contains a provision for the decriminalization of child
                                victims. For example child prostitutes are given immunity from
                                 False: This is a controversial issue: proponents for non-
                                 criminalization argue that children engaged in prostitution should
                                 be treated as child abuse victims; others argue that de-
                                 criminalizing prostitution will encourage more exploitation of
                                 minors and that older children, over the legal ages of consent
                                 and criminal responsibility, should have the same liability as
                                 adults. UNICEF believes that children in prostitution are victims
                                 and should never be treated as criminals.

                             Slide 21
                             8. The OP strongly discourages the practice of international
                                 False: However, the OP does prohibit improperly inducing
                                 parental consent to a child‟s adoption. It requires States to
                                 ensure compliance with international adoption instruments and
                                 ensure that any aspect of adoption undertaken for profit is

                             Summary of the key provisions of the OP on the Sale of
                             Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.
                              The OP gives special emphasis to the criminalization of serious
                                violations of children's rights – namely, the sale of children, illegal
                                adoption, child prostitution and pornography.
                                It prohibits the sale of children for purposes of sexual
                                 exploitation, transfer of organs for profit, child labour, AND for
                                 improperly inducing consent for child adoption.
                                It prohibits offering, obtaining, procuring or providing a child for
                                 child prostitution.
                                It prohibits distributing, disseminating, importing, exporting,
                                 offering, selling or possessing for purposes of child pornography.
                                The text stresses the value of international cooperation as a
                                 means of combating these transnational activities, and of public
                                 awareness, information and education campaigns to enhance
                                 the protection of children from these serious violations of their

                             If there is time available, you may wish to continue the discussion
                             with the following questions. Participants may remain in their seats
                             for this component.

                             Ask participants whether they view the OP on the Involvement of
                             Children in Armed Conflict as having any weaknesses, and if so,

                                The primary weakness of the OP was its failure to establish
                                 eighteen as the minimum age for voluntary recruitment. Although

SESSION 2 – INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW                                                              17
                                 recognizing that children under age eighteen are entitled to
                                 special protections, the text allows states to recruit volunteers as
                                 young as sixteen. Based on research in conflict areas, UNICEF
                                 has concluded that the most effective way of preventing the use
                                 of children in armed conflicts is to ensure that they are not
                             Ask participants to share their views on the different standards set in
                             the OP for national armed forces and non-state entities or armed
                             groups on the voluntary recruitment and use of children under the
                             age of eighteen in armed conflict.

                                There are no right answers to this question, as it is a matter of
                                Some thoughts are that the 18-year minimum offers greater
                                 protection to younger children currently recruited by armed
                                 groups, particularly in areas where birth or age documentation is
                                 not readily available, and younger children are frequently
                                 deemed eligible for military service based on appearance alone.
                                 However, for the same reasons, those protections should be
                                 granted for children who so-called “voluntarily” enlist in national
                                 armed forces. A “straight 18” rule would have granted much
                                 greater protection for children.
                                The double-standard undermines the likelihood that armed
                                 groups will comply with the OP when they know the government
                                 is using “voluntarily recruited” children in direct hostilities.
                                The difference in standards arose largely because of the need of
                                 some Western countries, particularly the United States, to
                                 preserve their voluntary enlistment programs for sixteen and
                                 seventeen year olds.

                             Slide 22: Legal age of recruitment into the armed forces
                             and participation in hostilities under international law
                             As we have seen, there are various legal instruments which apply to
                             child soldiers. Show the summary of these instruments and

                                CRC - prohibits recruitment and use for under 15 years
                                OP to the CRC - prohibits compulsory recruitment for under 18
                                 years. Voluntary recruitment is permitted for 16 & 17 (with
                                 safeguards) but no direct participation in hostilities for under 18
                                Non-governmental armed groups cannot recruit or use for under
                                 18s (neither voluntary nor compulsory)
                                ICC - recruitment of under 15 years is considered a war crime
                                API - recruitment and direct participation in hostilities prohibited
                                 for under 15 years
                                APII - recruitment and participation for under 15 years prohibited
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                             UNICEF should always lobby for the highest possible standard to
                             apply to children, i.e. the Optional Protocol.

                             Refer participants to 2.6 and 2.7 in their manuals. (OP on the
                             Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict and OP on the Sale of
                             Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography)

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Time: 15 minutes             This activity is an interactive presentation intended to use questions
                             to provoke discussion on the potential limitations of the international
                             human rights instruments.

                             Slide 23: Derogations during States of Emergency
                             Before showing slide 23, ask participants if international human
                             rights law applies in times of armed conflict?

                             Under international law, the enjoyment of certain rights can be
                             restricted in specific circumstances. In a legitimate and declared
                             state of emergency, States can take measures which limit or
                             suspend (or “derogate” from) the enjoyment of certain rights.

                             Such derogations are permitted only to the extent necessary for the
                             situation and may never involve discrimination based on race,
                             colour, sex, language, religion or social origin. Any derogation must
                             be reported to the UN Secretary General. Economic, social and
                             cultural rights may not be derogated from during states of
                             emergency, only civil and political rights are subject to such

                             Ask participants for examples of when derogations may have
                             occurred within their home countries or countries of employment to
                             provoke concrete discussion.

                             Examples may include prohibitions against public protests or
                             assembly, restriction of voting rights and rights to associate etc.

                             Slide 24: Limitations on Derogations to Civil & Political
                             Before showing slide 24, ask participants whether there are any
                             limitations on these derogations.

                             Yes, derogations from civil and political rights are subject to the
                             following limitations, which are set out in ICCPR, Art. 4:
                              the derogation must be temporary;
                                an exceptional threat to the life of the nation must exist;
                                an official proclamation of a state of emergency must be made;
                                a notification to other states and/or the relevant treaty-monitoring
                                 body of the measures taken must be made;
                                a reasonable proportionality between the means employed and
                                 the end to be realized must exist;

SESSION 2 – INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW                                                         20
                                other obligations under international law remain applicable;
                                measures taken to derogate must not be discriminatory.

                             Note that in times of emergency, the protection of human rights
                             becomes all the more important, particularly those rights from
                             which no derogation can be made.

                             Slide 25: Non-derogable Rights
                             Before showing slide 25, ask participants whether they can identify
                             any rights that are non-derogable.

                             Certain human rights – non-derogable rights – may never be
                             suspended or restricted even in situations of war and armed conflict
                             as determined by Article 4 of the ICCPR. These rights are
                             applicable no matter what the circumstances:
                              right to life;
                                prohibition on torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
                                 or punishment;
                                freedom from slavery;
                                freedom from post facto legislation and other judicial guarantees
                                 (i.e. freedom from threat of criminal prosecution for acts
                                 committed prior to their criminalization)
                                right to recognition before the law;
                                freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

                             Ask participants whether they see any potential problems with
                             allowing States to derogate from certain rights during a state of

                             Some states have abused the derogation power, a weakness in the
                             ICCPR not present in the law of armed conflict, where no
                             suspensions are ever allowed. The fact that a state has made an
                             official proclamation of a state of emergency does not always mean
                             that the international community also treats the situation as an
                             emergency. Some states use the possibility to derogate as an
                             excuse not to be criticized on the international level for not being
                             able to live up to their obligations under the ICCPR.

                             Refer participants to 2.5 in their manuals (Derogations during States
                             of Emergency).

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Time: 40 minutes
                             Trainer Guidance
                             This activity is intended to focus on the application of relevant legal
                             standards for child protection, and to help participants understand
                             how to view and formulate advocacy messages in this area.

                                Refer participants to handout 2.4 Delivering the Message on
                                 Child Soldiers in their manuals, and in small groups, have them
                                 read the case study and answer the questions which follow.
                                Participants will have 20 minutes to do this.
                                Divide participants into four groups.
                                Request participants to identify a spokesperson to report back to
                                 the plenary.

                             Group Work
                             20 minutes

                             When groups have read the case study, they should answer the
                             following questions in their groups:
                             1. What arguments and legal standards could UNICEF use to
                                 advocate with the Government of Country A not to use child
                             2. What advocacy messages on child soldiers could UNICEF use:
                                a) when meeting with the UFF; and b) in the media?
                             3. Other than advocacy, what role could UNICEF play in this
                                context? What role could other partners play?
                             4. How could UNICEF and partners promote enforcement of the
                                existing standards to protect children from being used as child

                             20 minutes

                             Request each group to report back on only one question, e.g. group
                             1 reports back on question 1, group 2 on question 2, etc.

                             1. Arguments and legal standards UNICEF could use:
                                The key human rights principles in the CRC at stake are “the
                                 best interests of the child” and a child‟s “right to life, survival, and
                                 development”. Using children as soldiers is clearly not in the

SESSION 2 – INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW                                                             22
                                 best interests of the child, and puts the child's life, survival and
                                 development in jeopardy.
                                Country A has signed but not ratified the CRC-OP-CAC. It is
                                 therefore not legally bound by the treaty, but it is required to act
                                 in accordance with the spirit of the treaty since it has already
                                 signed it (indicating an intention to ratify, and be legally bound
                                 upon ratification).
                                The government of Country A therefore should take immediate
                                 steps to comply with the OP.
                                If the government is found to be using child soldiers below the
                                 age of 15 [NB. This is not clear from the information given but
                                 could be reasonably extrapolated], the government would be in
                                 violation of both the CRC and the Geneva Conventions.
                             2. Note that advocacy messages may be hard to come up with as
                                they are often dependent upon the context, the country, what the
                                government/armed groups may be willing to hear, how they hear
                                the message, the cultural context, what they assess as what is in
                                „it‟ for them etc. Below are some possible advocacy messages
                                for use with the UFF and media in this context.
                              Even though the UFF cannot sign and ratify international treaties
                               such as the CRC, it can agree to adhere to them, as a sign of
                               good faith, commitment to children, and belief in international
                               human rights.
                                Using children under 15 as soldiers is illegal under international
                                 and domestic law. It constitutes a war crime, and UFF leaders
                                 can be held responsible in domestic courts and the International
                                 Criminal Court.
                                If the government of Country A ratifies the OP, it will become
                                 illegal under domestic law for the UFF to use children under 18
                                 as soldiers. This higher standard may make it even more likely
                                 the government will pursue UFF leadership for this gross
                                 violation of children's rights.
                                The UFF is not making any friends by using children as soldiers.
                                 They are not gaining the support of the general population by
                                 doing so, and they are in fact potentially eroding any support
                                 they do have. Using child soldiers is not a good strategy.
                                If the UFF releases the children within their ranks, UNICEF and
                                 other child protection agencies will be ready to assist released
                                 children, demobilize them, and reunite them with their families.
                              War is not child's play. Using children as soldiers is never
                                It is illegal to use children as soldiers.
                                Those who use children as soldiers will be prosecuted for their

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                                Messages to the communities/parents: do not allow your boys
                                 and girls to "volunteer" for membership in armed forces or groups
                                 until they become adults at the age of 18.
                                Messages to children/adolescents: do not join armed groups or
                                 forces in order to participate in a "cause" you may believe in.
                                 There are other, more constructive ways to contribute to the
                                 future of your community and your country.

                             3. Other activities UNICEF and child protection partners could
                                undertake include: working for the release of child soldiers;
                                putting in place Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration
                                (DDR) programmes for released children; conducting research to
                                determine with greater accuracy numbers of children in the
                                armed forces and UFF, their roles/functions, etc.; working with
                                communities to accept demobilized children back; working to
                                create alternatives to recruitment for children, such as education,
                                training, and ways that children can contribute to community
                                development and peace building; etc.

                             Slide 26: Enforcement Mechanisms
                             4. Show slide on enforcement mechanisms for this question.
                                These are just some of the ways that enforcement of
                                international child protection standards can be promoted. Some,
                                such as sanctions, are not possible/feasible for UNICEF country
                                offices to implement, whereas others, such as monitoring and
                                reporting or naming and shaming, may be more appropriate for
                                UNICEF and other child protection agencies.

SESSION 2 – INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW                                                       24

Time: 3 minutes
                             Slide 27: Review of Key Messages
                                Familiarity with international human rights standards will allow
                                 for a more focused and effective advocacy at all levels on
                                 humanitarian issues
                                CRC + OPs = key tools for protection of children‟s rights
                                Certain rights are non-derogable, even during a state of
                                All UNICEF programmes are guided by human rights

SESSION 2 – INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW                                                          25

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