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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports
Reimagining Migration Responses: Learning from children and young people who move in the Horn of Africa
SPOTLIGHT

Reimagining Migration Responses: Learning from children and young people who move in the Horn of Africa

The number of international migrants under 18 is rising, accelerated by complex and fast-evolving economic, demographic, security and environmental drivers. Based on interviews carried out with 1,290 migrant children and young people in Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan, this report helps address the evidence gap on children and young people migrating in the Horn of Africa by providing a better understanding of their protective environments; their access to services and resources; and their perceptions of safety, well-being and trust in authorities and other providers. It concludes by offering policy and programme recommendations to rethink child protection approaches for migrants in the region.
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COVID-19: Missing More Than a Classroom. The impact of school closures on children’s nutrition
Blog Blog

COVID-19: Missing More Than a Classroom. The impact of school closures on children’s nutrition

In 2019, 135 million people in 55 countries were in food crises or worse, and 2 billion people did not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food. COVID-19 has exacerbated these hardships and may result in an additional 121 million people facing acute food insecurity by the end of 2020. Further, since the beginning of the pandemic, an estimated 1.6 billion learners in 199 countries worldwide were affected by school closures, with nearly 370 million children not receiving a school meal in 150 countries. The paper presents the evidence on the potential negative short-term and long-term effects of school meal scheme disruption during Covid-19 globally. It shows how vulnerable the children participating in these schemes are, how coping and mitigation measures are often only short-term solutions, and how prioritizing school re-opening is critical. For instance, it highlights how girls are at greater risk of not being in school or of being taken out of school early, which may lead to poor nutrition and health for themselves and their children. However, well-designed school feeding programmes have been shown to enable catch-up from early growth failure and other negative shocks. As such, once schools re-open, school meal schemes can help address the deprivation that children have experienced during the closures and provide an incentive for parents to send and keep their children, especially girls, in school.
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Enfants et commissions vérité
Enfants et commissions vérité
Published: 2011 Innocenti Insights
L’obligation de poursuivre et de punir les crimes graves stipulée dans le droit international et la volonté d’apporter réparation aux victimes ont conduit à l’élaboration d’approches de justice transitionnelle destinées à sanctionner la violence de masse ou les abus systématiques. Jusqu’à récemment, les violations à l’encontre des enfants n’étaient pas distinguées de la masse d’atrocités commises contre les populations civiles en général. Les commissions vérité constituent l’un des moyens pour commencer à réparer les torts faits aux enfants, aux familles et aux communautés pendant un conflit armé.
Children and Truth Commissions
Children and Truth Commissions
Published: 2010 Innocenti Publications
Children are often brutally targeted in modern warfare. Accountability mechanisms have begun to focus on crimes committed against children during armed conflict and to involve children proactively, including through testimony that bears witness to their experiences. But if children are to engage in transitional justice processes, their rights must be respected. This publication is intended to inform the work of truth commissions, child protection advocates and organizations, legal experts and other professionals in efforts to protect the rights of children involved in truth and reconciliation processes. It includes an analysis of emerging good practices and recommends policies and procedures for children’s participation in truth commissions.
Children and Accountability for International Crimes: The contribution of international criminal courts
Children and Accountability for International Crimes: The contribution of international criminal courts

AUTHOR(S)
Cecile Aptel

Published: 2010 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper analyses the extent to which international and ‘mixed’ or ‘hybrid’ criminal courts, in particular the International Criminal Court (ICC), have focused on crimes against children and dealt with children as victims, witnesses and potential offenders. The paper underlines the major role played recently by international courts, notably the Special Court for Sierra Leone, followed by the ICC, in criminalizing as war crimes the conscription or enlistment of children and their use to participate actively in hostilities. The Special Court was the first to hand down convictions for these crimes. The first cases before the ICC also concern the unlawful recruitment of children for their use in hostilities, bringing these crimes to the fore.
Children and Transitional Justice: Truth-telling, accountability and reconciliation
Children and Transitional Justice: Truth-telling, accountability and reconciliation
Published: 2010 Innocenti Publications
The volume analyzes key issues from the transitional justice agenda through a child rights lens. On the basis of research, the authors begin to formulate responses to a number of crucial questions and debates: how to end impunity for crimes against children; what policies and procedures can better protect children and enable them to contribute to reconciliation and reconstruction efforts; what strategies are most effective in supporting children’s roles and ensuring their voices are heard in peace-building efforts; how to enable children to reunite and reconcile with their families, peers and communities; how to build children’s skills to become part of a stable economy; and how to reaffirm children’s self-esteem and agency in the aftermath of armed conflict that has violated their childhood. A number of cross-cutting issues and themes are introduced. Chapters 1 through 3 outline the human rights-based approach for children and transitional justice and examine the basic assumptions and international legal framework that provide a foundation for further analysis of accountability and reconciliation in different country contexts. This is followed, in Chapters 4 through 6, by case studies of children’s involvement in the truth commissions of South Africa, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. Chapters 7 through 10 address thematic issues and institutional reform.
Children and the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in Timor-Leste
Children and the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in Timor-Leste
Published: 2010 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper discusses children's participation and protection in the work of the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR) in Timor-Leste. It presents an overview of CAVR's efforts to ensure children's safe participation in CAVR activities, documenting violations against children and communicating CAVR's message to children. The paper assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the CAVR and analyzes underlying causes for the results. Through elaboration of lessons learned from the CAVR experience, the paper provides recommendations for truth commissions' engagement with children in the future. The paper concludes that despite the absence of a legal requirement in the mandate, the CAVR made a commendable effort to research and document children's experiences of the conflict. However, a lack of policy on child participation and child protection contributed to the failure to engage with children both during and after the CAVR. It is suggested that a holistic approach to the CAVR's activities could have helped avoid this missed opportunity for Timor-Leste's young generation to engage in the country's nation building and carry forward the CAVR's recommendations.
Children and Reparation: Past lessons and new directions
Children and Reparation: Past lessons and new directions
Published: 2010 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper is among the first to analyse children's experiences of reparations programmes, taking into consideration programmes from Africa, Asia and Latin America. The violence, abuse and hardship that girls and boys suffer during armed conflict and political violence under authoritarian and dictatorial regimes continues to severely affect their development long after the end of war or demise of the violent regime. They experience violations of their civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights, including the rights to life, freedom of movement and association, education, health and family, which embraces the right to knowing and being cared for by their parents. Their rights to development and to a safe and healthy environment are also violated. It is not possible to fully repair children who have experienced such harms. Nonetheless, girls and boys have a right to remedy and reparation under international law – to benefit from reparation in material, symbolic, individual and collective forms. This working paper draws from reparation as conceived in the United Nations Resolution on Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law (2005). It offers a concise overview of trends in reparation programmes set up to address situations of armed conflict and under authoritarian and dictatorial regimes where children are subjected to systematic forms of grave violence. The authors demonstrate the failure to name and address grave rights violations against children in www.unicef-irc.org.past reparations programmes and efforts, much to the detriment of surviving children. The authors argue that at the heart of much of the violence against children in situations of armed conflict is the terrible damage done to relationships and social fabric among individuals, communities, societies and cultures. Recognizing the need to address the healing of relationships and reweaving of social fabric, in part through reparation, the paper offers suggestions for reparation approaches that could lead to better informing and shaping reparation responses for child victims.
Children and Security Sector Reform in Post-conflict Peace-building
Children and Security Sector Reform in Post-conflict Peace-building

AUTHOR(S)
David Nosworthy

Published: 2010 Innocenti Working Papers
The restoration of justice and security is a priority of post-conflict peace-building, but children and youth - two groups especially affected by armed conflict - rarely receive consideration in this process. This paper considers how reform of the security sector can contribute to making security provision more relevant to the concerns of young people and more reflective of their needs and aspirations. Security sector reform and transitional justice have been recognized as central elements of post-conflict peace-building, and engaging children constructively in these processes will assist in successfully establishing long-term stability. The central role of civil society receives particular attention. The paper concludes with policy recommendations aimed at assisting decision-makers to integrate the security concerns and expectations of children into programme responses.
Children, Education and Reconciliation
Children, Education and Reconciliation

AUTHOR(S)
Alan Smith

Published: 2010 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper examines truth and reconciliation commissions that have made reference to a longer-term role for education in coming to terms with the past and contributing towards future reconciliation. The countries reviewed are Guatemala, Liberia, Peru, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Timor-Leste. Some have developed strategies for children's participation and made recommendations for inclusion in the formal school curriculum. However, recommendations regarding a role for education have usually been very general in nature, with little specification of what is expected of educators in practical terms and little follow-through by education authorities. The paper therefore identifies a number of challenges if education is to have a role in truth and reconciliation. It also identifies potential areas for educational development and recommendations for future actions.
Child Victims of Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment
Child Victims of Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment
Published: 2010 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper addresses the legal framework and medical and psychological impacts of torture on children. While children must be protected from all forms of violence and abuse, it is important not to lose sight of the distinction between the different forms of violence - especially torture and child abuse - because these distinctions have significant implications for prevention, treatment of victims and law enforcement. Although children can be both victims and perpetrators of torture, ill-treatment and abuse, we focus exclusively on their role as victims.
Prosecuting International Crimes against Children: The legal framework
Prosecuting International Crimes against Children: The legal framework

AUTHOR(S)
Christine Bakker

Published: 2010 Innocenti Working Papers
States in post-conflict situations are faced with extremely difficult choices as they try to find the right balance between judicial and non-judicial means to improve accountability for crimes committed during the conflict and to contribute to national reconciliation. These choices are made on the basis of the specific circumstances of each state. Nevertheless, due consideration should be given to the duties imposed on states by international law. This paper presents a short overview of the obligations of states under international law to prosecute persons accused of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture and enforced disappearances, specifically focusing on crimes against children. It also reviews international norms regarding children who may be accused of having participated in the commission of such crimes themselves - for example, as child soldiers - and identifies some outstanding questions regarding their criminal responsibility for such acts.
Psychosocial Support for Children: Protecting the rights of child victims and witnesses in transitional justice processes
Psychosocial Support for Children: Protecting the rights of child victims and witnesses in transitional justice processes

AUTHOR(S)
An Michels

Published: 2010 Innocenti Working Papers
The paper first looks at psychosocial factors that affect children's participation in transitional justice mechanisms. These factors largely determine children's need for protection and support and can reflect children's responses to their involvement in transitional justice processes. A distinction has to be made between psychosocial factors related to the child and his or her experiences during the conflict on the one side, and factors determined by the type of transitional mechanism on the other. Children's participation in transitional justice processes is influenced significantly by their personal experiences during the conflict; cognitive, social and emotional development; coping skills and social support. These factors influence children's capacity to give an accurate statement, cope with the stress of testifying, be confronted with the accused and deal with cross-examination. These have important implications for the choice of support strategies.
Restorative Justice after Mass Violence: Opportunities and risks for children and youth
Restorative Justice after Mass Violence: Opportunities and risks for children and youth
Published: 2010 Innocenti Working Papers
There is growing interest in the role that restorative justice can play in addressing mass atrocities. This paper describes the associated principles and practices within juvenile justice systems and in societies emerging from mass violence. It also examines the meaning, opportunities and limitations of restorative justice in transitional societies, particularly in relation to the needs of young victims and offenders. We argue that procedural forms of restorative justice, involving redress by offenders, face considerable challenges because communities and governments often lack the coercive capacity or will to hold offenders accountable. In contexts where accountability is lacking we argue that pressuring victims to meet with, and forgive, those who harmed them may be inappropriate. Such encounters should only occur where victims see them as necessary to their own healing. Despite the procedural limitations of restorative justice, this perspective (ontology) helps us analyse the route to reconciliation in different conflict contexts and reveals opportunities and challenges for justice and reconciliation in each case. This ontology reveals that intra-communal and inter-communal (ethnic/religious) conflicts have dramatically different justice and reconciliation challenges. In an intra-communal conflict, such as in Sierra Leone, offenders need to reintegrate into communities that they or their factions harmed. The desire to reintegrate into communities that condemn their crimes while accepting them provides opportunities for young offenders to address their crimes. In ethnically divided societies, offenders are often seen as heroes in their communities and may not have to address their crimes until the communities themselves condemn them. This makes restorative justice and reconciliation much more difficult, as communities do not take on the role of promoting accountability for their own members. In such cases, restorative justice efforts must promote social trust between groups. In both intra-communal and inter-communal conflicts, victims are often marginalized by their own communities and receive inadequate assistance. Restorative justice shows us that much can be done to help young victims, and this should become an explicit part of the justice picture. Finally, we argue that traditional justice is not synonymous with restorative justice. While traditional justice is community based and often meaningful to people, many of its forms are retributive; deny a voice to children, youth and other disadvantaged groups; or place community reconciliation above individual justice. Therefore, traditional justice practices should be assessed case by case if they are to be claimed as restorative justice equivalents.
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Learning at a Distance: Children’s remote learning experiences in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic
Publication Publication

Learning at a Distance: Children’s remote learning experiences in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic

Italy was the first country in Europe to implement a nationwide lockdown. Children and their families lived in nearly complete isolation for almost two months. Students missed 65 days of school compared to an average of 27 missed days among high-income countries worldwide. This prolonged break is of concern, as even short breaks in schooling can cause significant loss of learning for children and lead to educational inequalities over time. At least 3 million Italian students may not have been reached by remote learning due to a lack of internet connectivity or devices at home. This report explores children’s and parents’ experiences of remote learning during the lockdown in Italy, drawing on data collected from 11 European countries (and coordinated by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center). It explores how children's access and use of digital technologies changed during the pandemic; highlights how existing inequalities might undermine remote learning opportunities, even among those with internet access; and provides insights on how to support children’s remote learning in the future. *** L'Italia e’ stata il primo paese in Europa ad aver applicato la misura del lockdown su tutto il territorio. I bambini e le loro famiglie hanno vissuto in quasi completo isolamento per circa due mesi. Gli studenti hanno perduto 65 giorni di scuola rispetto ad una media di 27 negli altri paesi ad alto reddito del mondo. Questa interruzione prolungata rappresenta motivo di preoccupazione, in quanto persino interruzioni piu’ brevi nella didattica possono causare significative perdite nel livello di istruzione dei ragazzi e portare col tempo a diseguaglianze educative. Almeno 3 milioni di studenti in Italia non sono stati coinvolti nella didattica a distanza a causa d una mancanza di connessione ad internet o di dispositivi adeguati a casa. Questo rapporto analizza l’esperienza della didattica a distanza di ragazzi e genitori in Italia durante il lockdown, sulla base dei dati raccolti in 11 paesi europei (e coordinati dal Centro comune di ricerca della Commissione Europea). Studia il cambiamento nell’accesso e nell’uso delle tecnologie digitali dei bambini e ragazzi durante la pandemia; mette in evidenza come le diseguaglianze esistenti possano diminuire le opportunità offerte dalla didattica a distanza, anche tra coloro che hanno accesso ad internet; e fornisce approfondimenti su come sostenere la didattica a distanza di bambini e ragazzi in futuro.
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in Eastern and Southern Africa
Publication Publication

Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in Eastern and Southern Africa

There is a learning crisis. Fifty-three per cent of children in low- and middle-income countries are in ‘learning poverty’, i.e. they cannot read and understand a simple text by the end of primary school age. In sub- Saharan Africa, the learning poverty rate is 87 per cent overall, and ranges from 40 per cent to as high as 99 per cent in the 21 countries with available data. Teachers attending lessons and spending quality time on task is a critical prerequisite to learning. However, in sub-Saharan Africa, teacher absenteeism ranges from 15 to 45 per cent. Teacher absenteeism and reduced time on task wastes valuable financial resources, short-changes students and is one of the most cumbersome obstacles on the path toward the education Sustainable Development Goal and to the related vision of the new UNICEF education strategy: Every Child Learns. Whilst the stark numbers are available to study, and despite teacher absenteeism being a foremost challenge for education systems in Africa, the evidence base on how policies and practices can influence teacher attendance remains scant. Time to Teach (TTT) is a research initiative that looks at primary school teacher attendance in eight countries and territories in the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) region: the Comoros; Kenya; Rwanda, Puntland, State of Somalia; South Sudan; the United Republic of Tanzania, mainland; the United Republic of Tanzania, Zanzibar; and Uganda. Its primary objective is to identify factors affecting the various forms of teacher attendance, which include being at school, being punctual, being in the classroom, and teaching when in the classroom, and use this evidence to inform the design and implementation of teacher policies.

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