Strategy 2014-18

This summary version of CRIN's five-year strategy sets out who we are and the philosophies that guide our work, what we want to achieve and how we intend to do it.

Who we are

Our goal

A world where children's rights are recognised, respected and enforced, and where every rights violation has a remedy.

Our organisation

Child Rights International Network (CRIN) is a global research, policy and advocacy organisation. Our work is based on the following beliefs:

  • We believe in rights, not charity
    We work to change laws and attitudes towards children and their place in society. Charity does nothing to advance children's situation. Instead, it evokes a sense of pity without confronting why children’s rights are violated. In our work, we bring attention to the full range of children's rights issues, and encourage strategies such as legal advocacy that strike at the heart of why children continue to face violations of their rights on a massive scale.
  • We are stronger when we work together
    The only way we can hope to achieve consistent, indelible change is by working collectively. At CRIN, much of our work is about supporting advocates working nationally with new advocacy strategies, legal research and inspiration from other parts of the world. This relationship is reciprocal.
  • Societies and organisations should be open and transparent
    Secret courts, 'cloak and dagger' security and decisions made behind closed doors signal a State’s intention to violate its citizens’ rights. As a human rights NGO, we campaign for transparent decision-making, particularly when those decisions impact on the enjoyment of people's rights. This also applies to international organisations like the UN, as well as to NGOs. If these organisations are able to make important decisions behind closed doors, how can they be justified in telling governments not to do the same?
  • Information is power and it should be free and accessible
    Our work is modelled on the open source movement which is dedicated to open participation and sharing. All the work we publish and that of others - where they agree - is freely available online. We also share the process behind how we do our work to spark ideas.
  • We should promote children’s rights, not ourselves
    The ultimate goal of all our work is to secure the fulfilment of all children's rights. This means we constantly strive to work ourselves out of existence, not to prolong it through the distraction of branding exercises.

What we plan to do and why

CRIN aspires to a world in which children's rights are recognised, respected and enforced, and where every rights violation has a remedy. This vision is grounded in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is the only viable blueprint for children’s rights the world has seen.

For 20 years, CRIN has formed part of a global movement, propelled by the Convention, to monitor violations of children's rights by sharing information and encouraging advocacy.
So what has all this achieved? There is no question that violations of children’s rights are more visible; legal reform has taken place in many countries to children’s benefit; and, as of this year, children have access to a global complaints mechanism.

But, even though they represent nearly half the world’s population and everyone is a child once, children still face discrimination and violations of their rights on a massive scale. And while children’s rights advocacy has made great strides on a number of single issues, more needs to be done to improve children’s status overall.

That is why in this strategy, CRIN proposes a new phase, not only of its own development, but of children's rights globally. We intend to use the information, expertise and contacts we have gathered over 15 years to lead the charge in forcing change across all areas of children's rights - if necessary through legal action.

In five years’ time, we want children's rights to be at the forefront of all global, regional and national policy discussions. We want to be able to support children and their advocates in accessing justice for violations they have suffered. And we want to work with them to develop an authoritative collective voice on all children's rights - a voice that doesn't fade according to issue, geography or popularity - however inconvenient.

We intend to do this by:

1. Monitoring children's rights violations globally;

2. Advocating for change by:
a) initiating policy discussions and
b) challenging violations of children’s rights through campaigns and legal advocacy;

3. Engaging relevant professionals in our work and documenting processes and experiences for others to replicate.

These priorities aim to provide a framework for securing change on any given issue - crucial to CRIN's mandate to monitor all areas of children's rights. Structuring our priorities in this way enables us to intensify our work in certain focus areas, for instance ending inhuman sentencing and sexual violence in religious institutions, and promoting children's access to information and transparency in how candidates are appointed to positions of power in the children's rights world. But it also allows us to retain the flexibility to respond to threats to children's rights as they emerge.


Here we explain how we intend to propel children's rights forward and, one day, CRIN out of existence...

These priorities are sequential - they are building blocks that work together.

1. Monitor patterns of children's rights violations and match them with avenues of redress

Information is a powerful - and necessary - tool for children's rights advocacy. Our monitoring work is the basis of everything we do. It is through monitoring trends in the news, what UN bodies are saying and information from our contacts in all regions of the world that we are able to speak out and act with authority.

To make this happen we will:

  • Monitor developments in law reform relevant to children’s rights in every country in the world and alert trusted professionals to their implications;
  • Identify persistent violations of children’s rights;
  • Provide analysis of gaps in children's rights advocacy; and
  • Match violations with avenues of redress.

2. Advocate for change by:

a. Initiating policy debate

We use our monitoring of and research into children's rights issues to spot trends - both progressive and regressive - in how children's rights are addressed - or not. When we recognise a pattern of violations or a gap in children's rights advocacy, we publish policy and discussion papers to provoke debate and challenge existing thinking. We hope to encourage serious policy debate, including on difficult and sensitive issues.

To make this happen we will:

  • Host and facilitate discussions with experts from a variety of professions on emerging or neglected children’s rights issues where policy is unclear, non-existent or in need of review;
  • Develop policies for neglected and emerging issues for children’s rights;
  • Continue to respond to UN calls for submissions on issues affecting children’s rights.

b. Challenging violations of children’s rights through campaigns and legal advocacy

We want to take on and encourage stronger and more ambitious advocacy to secure the rights of children everywhere. We will continue to launch campaigns in response to persistent violations of children's rights worldwide or to fill a gap where there is no coordinated global campaign. Some of our campaigns tackle the core structures needed to fulfil children's rights, others address specific issues. Most of our campaigns have a legal aspect because the law is the first place children's rights should be recognised. Without it, children have no basis on which to claim their rights.

To make this happen we will:

  • Continue to campaign on issues, including, but not limited to:
    - Inhuman sentencing of children
    - Sexual violence against children in religious institutions
    - Ratification of the CRC Complaints mechanism
    - Access to justice for children
  • Monitor the appointment process for the top jobs in children’s rights through our transparency campaign;
  • Develop detailed legal advocacy plans for the most persistent violations of children’s rights and, where relevant, consider strategic litigation to challenge these.

3. Engaging relevant professionals in our work and documenting processes and experiences for others to replicate.

For our work to be most effective, it must be collaborative. We want to develop existing partnerships and seek out new ones, including with a broader range of professionals - some of whom may not have considered children's rights as relevant to their field.

To make this happen we will:

  • Continue running legal advocacy workshops nationally and regionally in order to develop realistic advocacy plans with national partners;
  • Set up a legal advisory panel to support CRIN’s global advocacy efforts;
  • Create a global network of children’s legal clinics and pro bono lawyers;
  • Develop guides to legal advocacy, campaigning, researching and  monitoring children’s rights, and make these available to different audiences;
  • Continue to work with lawyers to conduct research into court cases around the world that feature the CRC.

How do we know we're having an impact?

The collective nature of our work means that credit for change will always be attributable to multiple actors - as it should be. We may spark an idea or provide evidence to present to those who make the decisions, but  national NGOs, government ministers or others then take up the baton.

However, there are various ways we measure our part in advancing children's rights standards and discourse - in subject, content and language. These include: monitoring how our positions and language are reflected in UN reports and recommendations, identifying the take up of our ideas by others in the children's rights community, and tracking feedback from national NGOs about how our work has supported law reform or other developments in their country.