Children 'growing' the declaration strong: opportunities and strategies for advancing Indigenous children's rights

Aboriginal Australians Human rights Indigenous children Indigenous child protection Aboriginal Australian youth Australia

Indigenous children around the world continue to face significant challenges in exercising their rights. They often experience major violations of their human rights on multiple levels – as children, as members of Indigenous communities and as impoverished people. This invisibility is apparent in the Indigenous rights space both locally and internationally. 

This paper explores various avenues to give greater attention to the protection and promotion of Indigenous children’s rights through implementation of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in combination with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

Key Findings:

  • The paper offers practical opportunities and recommendations for organisations to advocate for improved protection of Indigenous children’s rights at both the international and domestic level. 
  • The Committee on the Rights of the Child recognises the specific references to Indigenous children in that they require special measures in order to fully enjoy their rights. Yet, Indigenous children around the world still continue to face significant challenges in exercising their rights.
  • One of the key concepts and guiding principles of both the CRC and the UNDRIP is the importance of participation in decision-making and the need for specialised independent institutions to ensure such participation. Article 12 of the CRC places an obligation on government to ensure that children’s views are sought and considered in the development of laws, policies and programs that affect them.
  • The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has identified that Article 12 of the CRC has had the effect of prompting greater inclusion of children’s voices in development efforts that affect them. There has been a growing acceptance that special attention must be paid to the promotion and safeguarding of children’s rights, including through the design of special independent institutions or focal points within national human rights institutions.
  • Use of both the CRC and UNDRIP also presents opportunities for Indigenous organisations to mobilise and maintain coalitions to work on the implementation of human rights standards for Indigenous children.
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