A strong evidence-base is essential for UNICEF to be a global knowledge leader for children. These pages offer an in-depth look at current issues.

Children and transitional justice

Children and Transitional Justice


©UNICEF/2006-2801/Brioni - Children and Transitional Justice cover page

The world has witnessed a growing threat of armed conflicts and 'internal wars' over the past 15 years. Children are among those most affected and, in many instances, they have been targeted for killings, disappearances, under-age recruitment, sexual violence, torture and other grave violations of their fundamental rights.
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Conference on Children and Transitional Justice


©Photo courtesy of istockphotos.com, purchased by the Harvard Law School Human Rights Program -

In 2007, the Expert Paper Series on Children and Transitional Justice was launched by UNICEF IRC, working closely with a wide range of experts, including within UNICEF Headquarters, the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and numerous academic institutions, in order to encourage further research and analysis of key issues and case studies related to children and transitional justice.
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Expert Discussion on Children and Transitional Justice


©UNICEF Sierra Leone - Children of Sierra Leone reaching out for peace

In 2007, the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre (IRC), working closely with the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and UNICEF Headquarters, initiated an Expert Paper Series on Children and Transitional Justice. The Series is intended to encourage further research and analysis on a number of key issues related to children and transitional justice. Topics have been identified in an ongoing dialogue with practitioners, legal experts, academics and colleagues from civil society, including children and young people.
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Governance and financing of early childhood development services

Early Childhood Development: The Role of the State


 - Toys

Quality early childhood education and care services, also referred to as early childhood development (ECD) services, are widely acknowledged as playing an important role in the overall education and care of young children. They provide an ‘umbrella’ for a regular monitoring of the health and nutrition status of children at a critical period of growth.
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Household responses to poverty

Migration and Children


©UNICEF/ HQ04-0737/Jim Holmes - LAO PEOPLE S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC: People prepare to cross the Mekong River into neighbouring Thailand in small boats, at an official border crossing in southern Lao PDR

Over the past few decades, migration - both international and internal - has increased dramatically. Easier travel, greater access to information about distant places, relatives and friends who have migrated and the opportunities for improving living standards all have fuel movements of individuals and families.
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Independent human rights institutions for children

Global Research on Ombuds for Children


©UNICEF IRC/2007 - A clay model representing diversity, created by some of the children at San Rossore

A growing movement for the development of Ombuds for Children has emerged in the past several years. National Independent Human Rights Institutions for Children, or 'Ombuds for Children', 'Child Advocates', 'Commissioners', 'Défenseurs', 'Defensorías' etc. are institutions whose role is to monitor the actions of governments and other actors, promote children's rights, and offer a space for dialogue between children and the State.
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Other international standards for children

Expert Consultation on Child Trafficking


©UNICEF IRC /2008 - Left - Right: Lena Karlsson, UNICEF IRC; Nevena Vuckovic Sahovic, Committee on the Rights of the Child; Marta Santos Pais, UNICEF IRC; Athanassia Sykiotou,  Democretus University of Thrace

The UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre is hosting a series of thematic expert consultations on child trafficking and child sex tourism, in preparation for the World Congress III against the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents to be held in Brazil in November 2008. The consultations are organized in close cooperation with UNICEF’s Child Protection section in New York, and with the support of UNICEF TACRO and Brazil.
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Thematic Consultation for the World Congress III Against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents


 - Official logo of the World Congress Against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents

As a contribution to the World Congress III Against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents organized by the Government of Brazil from 25-28 November in Rio de Janeiro, the Government of Italy and the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre are organizing a thematic Consultation on Theme 5 of the Congress "International Cooperation for Preventing and Responding to Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents: the Role of International Actors and Donors".
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Expert Consultation on International Standards and Sexual Exploitation


©UNICEF/HQ97-0939/Jeremy Horner - PHILIPPINES: A girl sits, her face covered in the latticed shadows cast by a wire fence, outside the UNICEF-assisted Nayon Kabataan Rehabilitation Centre for street children and victims of child labour and physical abuse in Manila, the capital.

The Consultation builds upon commitments undertaken at the previous two World Congresses and the UN Study on Violence Against Children. It will anticipate the discussion of the World Congress Theme 2 "Legal Framework and Enforcement" and provide a platform for expert debate on the implementation of international standards and the development of national legal frameworks and their enforcement. Particular attention will be given to the CRC and its Optional Protocols and key regional instruments and standards.
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Social norms, harmful practices and behavioural change

Selected Resources on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C)


©UNICEF /2004 - Senegal: Ourey Sall (on the left) and her assistant, during a public declaration ceremony, UNICEF/2004

Over the past decade, significant progress has been made in understanding the factors that perpetuate female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and other harmful practices, as well as the processes that encourage their abandonment.

UNICEF IRC has develop a study to analyze the nature and implications of social norms and how they promote or limit the well-being of children and the realization of their rights.

The study looks at highly promising approaches being used to support social change (around FGM) and how these strategies are being implemented in Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal and Sudan.

The following bibliography offers an overview of some of the main resources that IRC has collected during the preparation of the Multicountry study on FGM/C.


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The situation of children in transition countries (CEE/CIS region)

Child Poverty and Child Well-being in Eastern Europe and Central Asia


©Capital's Eye, Moscow/2000 - Village Krutchevka, farmer's children are looking from the window, June 2000

The countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CEE/CIS) have experienced systemic and dramatic change since 1989 - change that has had a direct impact on the lives of ordinary people and their children. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the beginning of the transition from centrally planned to market economies, catapulted the region into a new era of political, economic and social reform. While in some respects, most of the economic and social reforms introduced after 1989 were unavoidable, desirable and indispensable, the social and political costs were far greater than anticipated.


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