Call for papers (Closed)

The Department of Child Law of Leiden University is pleased to invite international academics and professionals working in the field of children’s rights and related fields to submit abstracts of papers of max. 300 words.



The papers should reflect on various themes on the development of children’s rights for the past 25 years and the frontiers of the future of children’s rights implementation. The papers selected by the Scientific Committee may be presented during one of the parallel sessions of the conference.


Themes Day 1: The implications of the CRC after 25 years

1a. Embedding the CRC at the domestic level – the jurisprudential ‘value added’

Papers will be solicited around, however not limited to, the following key questions: Has the CRC affected the development of modern constitutions? What broad conclusions can be drawn about law reform to harmonise domestic laws with the CRC? In what way has jurisprudence been affected by a children’s rights lens, in specific domains (e.g. juvenile sentencing or participation of children in legal or administrative proceedings)? How has the CRC impacted generally on judicial decision making in domestic legal systems? Where is good/better practice to be sought in this regard? 

1b. Interdisciplinarity and children’s rights

Claims have been made that the children’s rights sphere has been legalized, i.e. taken over by lawyers who have tend to monopolise the field due to the fact that the CRC is a legal document. Is this true? What is the role of interdisciplinarity? Have lawyers themselves become more attuned to the developments in other disciplines such as psychology, education, health, early childhood development, and medicine? Conversely, what does the field of childhood studies bring to the children’s rights discourse? This session will seek to examine the deepening scholarship on cognate fields that has occurred since the adoption of the CRC.

1c. Monitoring children’s rights – international and domestic mechanisms

Of course the CRC Committee as established by the treaty remains the upper monitoring body in relation to states parties performance in relation to their international children’s rights commitments. Various aspects of the work of the committee over the last 25 years bear solid analysis, such as the jurisprudence of concluding observations, the content development and format of general comments, the impact of the annual or biannual days of general discussion, and the significance of the optional protocols to the CRC. At the same time, there has been a proliferation of monitoring tools at the domestic and regional level, including the work of ombudsmen for children, commissioners for children, observatories for children and so forth. Scholarly papers of an international character will be sought to reflect on the importance or otherwise of difference models of monitoring of children’s rights implementation. It is important that papers in this section are not limited to overviews or descriptions of developments in one country alone.

1d. Visibility of children – children’s participation and enforcement of their rights

With article 12 as the backdrop, reflections can be drawn about the impact that the CRC has had on child participation, both tokenistic and real. The contribution of litigation (including strategic litigation) to increasing the visibility of children as bearers of human rights and entitled to enforce them is worthy of sustained attention, given the formerly hidden nature of children’s claims in most legal systems. Again, reflections on these developments will set the scene for a critical engagement with the impact of the CRC in the broad domain of child participation.

1e. Juvenile Justice

Changes brought about by a children’s rights lens on justice for children bear examination, even though this is well traversed in the literature. Issues such as developments in diversion could be addressed, as well as restorative justice theory and practice in juvenile justice systems. At the same time, it seems that ‘on the ground’ reform in practice has been hard to achieve, and that this area of human rights practice remains intractable even in the face of a detailed legal and human rights policy base. Questions need to be asked about why this is so, and what can be done to shift systems towards more enduring reform.

Themes Day 2: New frontiers of children’s rights for the future

2a. Child protection systems

In recent times (some) progress has been made in developing countries towards a systems approach to child protection. What is the agenda going forward? What can be achieved over the next 10 or 20 years? What is needed to institutionalise these changes? What are the critical components of an effective and efficient right to protection for the child?

2b. Children and the global development agenda

With the conclusion of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) virtually upon us, work is already underway to set the global development agenda for the post MDG phase. Children’s rights have been and will continue to be a significant part of the post MDG planning and the aim of this themed session is to draw together some topics that are likely to emerge as dominant. These include international co-operation towards the implementation of children’s rights, social and economic rights and their role in advancing the situation of children, climate change and children’s rights, the drive to eliminate violence against children as a development concern, and  embedding quality (and not just access) in the right to education. Alleviation of extreme poverty, and the role of social cash transfers may also feature in this session.

Papers will be solicited around these and other key development themes that would be identified by participants.

2c. Children’s rights and the digital era

The internet creates many opportunities for children, but also poses both threats and challenges to the realisation of children’s rights. Moreover, developments in the digital sphere are especially rapid with technology being overturned and replaced almost annually. This session seeks to tease out the implications of these developments for the children of the future, both in the developed and the developing world. Papers may focus on topics such as:
-          Children, social media and the right to play;
-          Education and access to information;
-          Cyberbullying;
-          Birth registration and technology;
-          Children as consumers;
-          Protection of children from harm.

2d. Research for 2040

This session will seek to explore critical areas of child rights research with a view to what needs to be known for a future children’s rights agenda. The role of child well-being indicators (rights vs. well-being?) could be a topic of debate here, as well as a variety of issues around both qualitative and quantitative research, as well as the importance or otherwise of multinational research studies which extend beyond national boundaries, such as the research in OECD countries on child poverty.

2e. The interrelationship between children’s rights and the broader human rights system

This session would explore the added value for children’s rights of  linkages in relation to other treaties and treaty bodies, including the Universal Periodic Reviews of the Human Rights Council, the UN special mandate holders, the International Criminal Court and the International Labour Organisation. It would contribute to an assessment of children’s rights generally in the world human rights order, and flag areas for strengthening or creating better synergies in the future.

2f. Children’s rights and migration

The theme of migration is inextricably linked to the issue of children's rights, because numerous children all over the world are affected by migration in many different ways. Migration today is a global phenomenon and the scale of international migration is only expected to increase in the future. Who are the most important stakeholders and what is the scope of their responsibilities? Which protection mechanisms are in place, which policy gaps can be identified and how can these issues be tackled? Which innovative and effective solutions to 'upgrade' the position of the migrant child can be formulated?

Paper submissions and deadlines

1. Authors must first submit an abstract of max. 300 words in a word or pdf file before the 1st of April 2014.

2. The scientific committee of the conference will review the abstracts submitted and select those deemed most suited to the conference themes.

3. Participants whose abstracts have been selected will receive notice before the 1st of June 2014. More information regarding the deadline of the papers will be distributed later.

4. Selected participants are required to register online for the conference before the 1st of July 2014.  

Conference book

Participants are welcome to offer their papers for publication. The deadline for the first draft is the 15th of January 2015. Papers should not exceed 7.500 words (incl. footnotes and references). More details on the publication process as well as specific guidelines for authors will soon be published on this website.

Scientific committee

The scientific committee consists of two subcommittees, which will select the papers for day 1 and day 2, respectively.

Overarching scientific committee
Prof Dr Ton Liefaard (Chair subcommittee 1)
Prof Dr Julia Sloth-Nielsen (Chair subcommittee 2)

Subcommittee 1
Prof Dr Mariëlle Bruning, Leiden University
Prof Dr Jaap E. Doek, former Chair of the Committee on the Rights of the Child
Dr Jacqui Gallinetti, Head of Research, Plan International
Ms Eva Geidenmark, Save the Children 
Prof Dr Ursula Kilkelly, University College Cork, Ireland 
Prof Dr Wouter Vandenhole, University of Antwerp, Belgium 

Subcommittee 2 
Prof Dr Karin Arts, Institute of Social Studies, The Hague
Prof Dr Karl Hanson, Institut Universitaire Kurt Bösch, Sion, Switzerland
Prof Dr Simone van der Hof, Leiden University
Dr Andrew Mawson, Chief child protection, UNICEF Office of Research Innocenti
Prof Dr Gary Melton, Clemson University, United States
Dr Benyam Mezmur, Chair African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Vice-chair of UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

More information

For general inquiries please send an email.

Last Modified: 25-11-2014