CFA: From a Protected to an Empowered Childhood: 30 Years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Leuven, Nov. 21-22, 2019 (deadline: Jun. 30, 2019)

Confirmed invited speakers
David Archard (Queen’s University Belfast)
Gerison Lansdown (independent scholar)
Manfred Liebel (Free University of Berlin)
Eva Lievens (Ghent University)
Julia Sloth-Nielsen (University of the Western Cape)
Bruno Vanobbergen (Flemish Agency – Growing Up)
More TBA.

Despite the strength that the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has acquired throughout the last 30 years as a canonical text for guiding the protection of the rights of children, many questions for how to reach its objectives are still a matter of debate. Among them, the role of CRC as a tool for empowering children is an important issue to address. Despite that children’s voices and views have been gradually included in the public debate and in day-to-day life, a concern still exists as to whether a more active engagement and a more central role should be given to children in the matters that most concern them. Is voice and participation sufficient to fulfil children’s claims to be heard? Are they (and should they be) recognised as equal citizens entitled to freely express their views, to self-organise and to decide over many matters that affect them?

This conference aims to honour the 30th anniversary of the CRC by bringing together a multidisciplinary group of experts on children’s rights in order to explore jointly the evolution of the CRC as it relates to child empowerment, the most urgent issues that currently affect it, and the direction that it should take in the future. While the more ample research agenda on child empowerment and participation will be the central focus of the event, we will have panels addressing particular topics which are of relevance to analyse best practices and roads ahead for the CRC (i.e. economic, political, social and personal empowerment). 

We are looking for researchers in the Humanities and Social Sciences (international law, philosophy, political theory, sociology, international relations, etc.) working on questions of political, social, economic or personal empowerment of children to contribute to the conference. We will select four to six submissions and will give priority to contributions dealing with questions of:

Political Empowerment
–    Child activism
–    Political participation
–    Right to vote
–    Policymaking with children

Social Empowerment
–    Freedom of association
–    Children’s rights in the digital world
–    Social media and the public image of children
–    Right to Play

Economic Empowerment
–    Addressing child poverty
–    The rights of working children
–    Adequate standard of living

Personal Empowerment
–    Consent in medical decisions
–    Sexual agency
–    LGBTIQ+ rights
–    Autonomy and Paternalism during childhood

We expect to publish the proceedings of the event as an edited volume for an international academic press.

If interested, please submit an abstract (500-700 words) to nicolas.brando[a]kuleuven.be by June 30, 2019. We will inform contributors whether their submission was accepted by the end of July, 2019.

Unfortunately, we are not able to ensure support for travel and accommodation at the moment. If this changes, we will let selected contributors know of possible funding.

This event is joint venture of the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies at KU Leuven, The Human Rights Centre at Ghent University and the ‘Law and Development’ Research Group at University of Antwerp.

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