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Childhood and Youth Studies

Childhood and Youth Studies

Contributing to realising children and young people’s human rights through research, teaching, policy and practice in childhood and youth studies

Spaces for Discussion and Collective Action

Featured image of Spaces for Discussion and Collective Action blog
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Author: Kay Tisdall, Professor of Childhood Policy

So many of us are aghast at the ongoing news of and from Palestine and Gaza. For those of us involved in childhood research, the suffering of children, the taking of children as hostages, the deaths of children– and there are so many children impacted in these and other ways, in Israel and Palestine – is inexcusable.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child put out a statement on the 1st November 2023. The statement lays out the detrimental effects on children and the obligations of international law:

Armed conflict harms children first and foremost and has lifelong effects on their physical and mental health, their development and ultimately the enjoyment of all their rights. Children are also harmed when they survive but lose parents and other family members and friends and witness catastrophic events.

Despite the protection that should be provided to all children by international law, during the first month of this war, there have been devastating reports of acts that are forbidden by international humanitarian law, including maiming, injury, abduction, forcible displacement, deprivation of medical care, food, and water. According to article 38 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, States have an obligation to respect and ensure respect for the rules of international humanitarian law, and to take all feasible measures to ensure the protection and care of children affected by armed conflict.

The Committee’s statement underlines that this is a children’s issue, a children’s rights issue and a human rights issue. A letter signed by 2376 childhood academics and students at the time of writing this blog – including many from our own institution – is calling for an immediate ceasefire to stop the violations of children’s human rights. Even then, there will be so much to do to ensure children’s human rights, and all those that care and are caring for them, are met.

In meetings, members of the Children & Young People’s Thematic Hub – and the wider university community – have said they want to have spaces of active discussion and collective action. This blog opens up one opportunity, looking to a series from childhood and youth studies’ staff and students in the next months. Further events will be shared through the Hub website and communications.


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