Write On! International Conference on Realising Children’s Development Rights in De Facto States

The Children’s Rights Research project in collaboration with the Maastricht Centre for Human Rights is proud to announce that we are organising a child-led conference on the rights of children in de facto statesThe International Conference on Realising Children’s Development Rights in De Facto States will be held in two stages. An online event will be held on 28 October 2023, followed by an in-person event on 17-18 January 2024 in Northern Cyprus. The online event will be completely child-led and provide input for the in-person event. The in-person event will be led by academics, humanitarians and activists, based on the input provided by children during the online event. 

This conference is a child-led conference, designed to encourage the effective and meaningful participation of children in conversations about ways to better realise the development rights of children living in de facto states. The ultimate aim is to have children, academics, humanitarians activists, and others engage in meaningful conversation that will contribute to ensuring that all children – even those in the midst of political and legal conflict – have equal access to development rights. Underpinning the conference is the core principle of the universality of the rights of all children irrespective of their national, ethnic or social origin, birth or other status, including children living in de facto states.

The Children’s Rights Convention recognises “the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family” and the Sustainable Development Goals are supposed to “leave no one behind”. However, despite this, one group of children have remained largely invisible to the international community, namely: children living in de facto states. Among the most vulnerable groups in the world, children living in de facto states receive little (if any) attention in international bi-lateral and multilateral fora, because they fall beyond the state-centric structure of the international community. Unfortunately, they generally do not fare any better in academic research. Since the goal of the UN is to provide access to justice for all, and to build effective and inclusive institutions at all levels, these children should not be left behind.

Academics, humanitarians, activists, and other persons interested in attending are welcome to register for this conference. All who sign up are expected to attend two conferences: the online event (28 October 2023), and the in-person event (17-18 January 2024, northern Cyprus). During the online event, we listen to children who are living in de facto states. During the in-person event, academics, humanitarians and activists can attend either as speakers or as audience members.

Speakers are invited to submit a max 500 word abstract. Please read this call for abstracts for more details, and submit your abstract using this form. Please note that the deadline for submitting abstracts is 11 June 2023.

We will consider abstracts in English on all subjects relating to the theme of the conference, using any methodology/ies. While we welcome abstracts on all kinds of related topics, the following list of themes/topics serves as an inspiration:

  • The situation of children in a specific de facto state (e.g. “education in Somaliland”);
  • The effects of conflict and political upheaval on children’s development rights;
  • Human rights duty bearers in relation to children in de facto states;
  • Your (organisation’s) experience in working on human rights in, or with, de facto states;
  • Fragmentation and the realisation of children’s rights;
  • The United Nations, regional regulatory bodies (e.g. African Union), and human rights in de facto states;
  • Normative rules and children’s rights in de facto states, in law and/or other normative orders.

Audience members who would like to attend without presenting, are invited to fill in this registration form. Please note that we ask you to write a brief “expression of interest”.

Fee & Scholarship
The registration fee for the International Conference on Realising Children’s Development Rights in De Facto States is 300 EUR. We offer partial and complete scholarships. For more information, please see the conference website.

Reminder service

If you are not yet sure whether you can attend the conference, you can enter your email address here. You will receive two-weekly reminders until you either sign up or sign off.

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