International Child Rights News: Week of Jan 10th

Weekly bite-sized round up of child rights updates around the world.

A teacher in Kampala, 2022. Source: The Guardian.

Monday 10th January, 2022:
UGANDA: Schools have been shut in Uganda since March 2020, impacting over 10 million children. It is anticipated up to one third of children will not return to school – they have found work, teachers cannot afford to return, and some schools have shut entirely.
51% of children stopped learning when schools closed. Vaccine rates are in the single digits percentage wise. Some argue that this will not result in a lost generation of children, even though it certainly seems like that will be the case.
Ongoing access to education throughout childhood is a basic and fundamental right (A28 UNCRC). We shall see over the next few months what this shut down has done to millions of young people.
See more here.

Tuesday 11th January, 2022:
NIGERIA: Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State has signed the Child Rights Act in to law. He has said “the Child Rights Act was amended in accordance to our culture, norms, religion, and traditions.” Borno is the most recent of Nigeria’s 36 states to pass the 2003 Act.
The Child Rights Act is Nigeria’s way of domesticating the UN Child Rights Convention. It incorporates the best interests principle (A3) and protects children from marriage, among other clauses.
See more here, and read about UNICEF’s previous support for Nigeria’s domestication here.

Wednesday 12th January, 2022:
UNITED KINGDOM: The Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport requested feedback in 2021 surrounding its data protection regime. When looked at from a child-rights perspective, the Data Protection Act and UK GDPR need to be strengthened – not watered down in the interests of business.
A proposal was put forward to “remove the requirement for organizations to undertake data protection impact assessments.” Researchers recommend instead “a child rights impact assessment before and after the processing of children’s personal data.”
The UK has already promised this through its ratification of the UNCRC, but we are yet to see it in practice. Further, said researchers requested we ease the process of children exercising their data subject rights.
Interested in knowing more? Follow the work of @Livingstone_S and @5RightsFound on Twitter. See the LSE Blog here, and Prof. Livingstone’s work with the Digital Futures Commission here.

Thursday 13th January, 2022:
CANADA: In Quebec province, a judge has decided to suspend a father’s parental rights until February – unless he gets vaccinated. This is the first case we have seen to deprive a parent access rights on immunization grounds.
The 12-year-old is vaccinated, but he resides with children too young to receive the vaccine. As such, Judge Vaillancourt believes it would not be in the best interests of any of the children for visitation to continue.
If the father refuses to get vaccinated before February, his rights will be reassessed based upon the pandemic climate at the time. See more here.

Friday 14th January, 2022:
U.S.A.: In Chicago, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services’ top official – DCFS Director Marc Smith – has been held in contempt of court for violating a child’s rights. This is the third time within eight days.
A 17-year-old boy has been “languishing” in a psychiatric hospital since September 10th, the child welfare agency has said this is because they have nowhere to place him. DCFS may soon be fined up to $1,000 a day until the boy is placed in to appropriate housing.
More than 350 Cook County children over the past year have faced a similar hurdle, stuck in psychiatric care with no where else to go. See more here.

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