On 20 November 1989 the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) came into operation, promising children worldwide recognition of their civil, cultural, economic, health, political and social rights. The UNCRC is ‘the most rapidly and widely ratified human rights treaty in history’1 — with only the US still to ratify — and from the outset seemed to herald the consideration of children as distinct rights-bearing subjects, couched as it is in terms of the acknowledgement of children’s rights as a fundamental part of the process of securing their future. Over 25 years later, however, the promises of that document seem hollow. Children’s rights may be a more accepted concept, but the realization of those rights continues to be unfulfilled, and their welfare remains in a state of jeopardy. In a press release describing the state of the world’s children, UNICEF declared the year 2014 to be2

a devastating year for millions of children … Children have been killed while studying in the classroom and while sleeping in their beds; they have been orphaned, kidnapped, tortured, recruited, raped and even sold as slaves. Never in recent memory have so many children been subjected to such unspeakable brutality.

This statement was made before the Taliban attack on an army-run school that killed 132 children in Peshawar, Pakistan on 16 December 2014,3 or the car-bomb attack in Raada, Yemen that hit a school bus, killing at least 15 pupils on the same day.4


Historical Trauma Transitional Justice Child Soldier Refugee Child Disciplinary Perspective 
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© Bennett Collins and Alison Watson 2016

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  • Bennett Collins
  • Alison Watson

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