2014 UN annual day on the rights of the child

Access to justice for children: annual day on the rights of the child of the UN Human Rights Council 2014

Children’s rights have the focus of the UN Human Rights Council one day per year - the annual day on the rights of the child, which in 2014 took place Thursday 13 March during the Council’s 25th session. The theme was access to justice for children.

What is access to justice for children?

Access to justice is a human right; it also makes other human rights - the benchmark of a life lived with dignity, equality and respect - a reality.

Access to justice for children means that children, or their appropriate advocates where applicable, must be able to use and trust the legal system to protect their human rights. It covers every instance in which a child comes into contact with the law, whether the child seeks out the legal system or the legal system seeks out the child.

The importance of access to justice applies equally to children and adults. Yet children’s rights in this area, namely their ability to enforce their rights and challenge violations, are largely neglected or ignored. This is because children are often not viewed as human beings with human rights, but rather as objects of pity and charity, mere appendages of their parents or thugs menacing communities.

Social services and juvenile justice systems are extremely important. Yet access to justice for children is often reduced to ideas around welfare and criminality, thereby limiting the scope of children’s right to access justice for human rights violations.

What a maze: Access to justice for children

Justice systems are a maze to just about everyone, with various blocks preventing access. Being able to find a solution to the maze empowers people to enjoy their human rights.

During the week of the annual day (10-14 March), CRIN will publish four editorials outlining some of the steps needed to get over the barriers children often encounter in the access to justice maze. Those attending the Council session can also look out for our daily maze postcards outlining the issues.

We will also be reported live from Geneva during the week of the annual day, through our UN CRINmails:

  • Summary of Day 1 (Monday, 10 March)
  • Summary of Day 2 (Tuesday, 11 March)
  • Summary of Day 3 (Wednesday, 12 March)
  • Summary of Day 4 (including annual day on the rights of the child) (Thursday, 13 March)

More at HRC25

See our session page for HRC25 for details of what happened during the session, including panel discussions and side events, both around the annual day on the rights of the child and other human rights themes. 

Below are some selected news highlights to come from the session.

Further information