The International Tribunal For Children’s Rights

(…) Public hearings enable information to be exchanged on an international level, encourage legislative change on a national level, and allow for the implementation of new programmes aimed at helping child victims of sexual exploitation.
Pierre Dionne, Director-General of the IBCR (1995-2000)

Project duration: 1995-2000

Founded by the International Bureau for Children’s Rights (IBCR) in 1995, only one year after the IBCR’s creation, the International Tribunal for Children’s Rights (the “Tribunal”) was a moral – not a formal legal – institution responsible for investigating children’s rights violations and proposing concrete solutions to the problem. Made up of five judges that represented the world’s five regions, the Tribunal coordinated the efforts of judges, lawyers, criminologists, investigators and human rights’ specialists with regard to the serious issue of children’s rights violations. The Tribunal collected public testimonies from children, international children’s rights specialists and experts in the fields of humanitarian aid, human rights, psychiatry, field intervention, teaching and research, as well as those of NGO, government and intergovernmental agency representatives. It encouraged the sharing of experiences and expertise, which served as the basis for the Tribunal’s recommendations. In its capacity as founder of the Tribunal, the International Bureau for Children’s Rights oversaw the dissemination and implementation of these recommendations.

Hearings :

Between 1997 and 2000, four hearings were successively organised in Paris, France, in Fortaleza, Brazil, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and in Colchester, United Kingdom. These hearings focused on the sexual exploitation of children and on those affected by armed conflict.

  • The first public hearing, held in Paris in 1997,

focused on the establishment of extraterritorial legislation due to the international dimensions of the sexual exploitation of children. These laws would, for instance, make it possible to charge someone in their country of origin for crimes committed against children in a foreign country.

  • The hearings held in 1998 in Fortaleza, Brazil,

aimed at analysing the situation in Brazil with respect to the fight against the sexual exploitation of children in the tourism industry, taking into account the country’s complex socioeconomic reality.

  • The hearings held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 1999

enabled a review of international cooperation efforts in the fight against the sexual exploitation of children on a global level. Thus, the hearings assessed the means available to fight against the sexual exploitation of children in the tourism industry and online child pornography worldwide.

  • The hearings held in April 2000 in Colchester, United Kingdom,

focused on protecting children affected by armed conflict. The main objectives of these hearings were to assess whether international human rights laws offered enough protection to children living in areas of armed conflict, and whether the application of these international and regional instruments was adequate. The recommendations that resulted from these hearings related to existing international child protection standards in situations of armed conflict, the necessity to further implement these standards, the urgency to act, and the role of the international community in promoting children’s rights in situations of conflict.

  • Intervention locations : Worldwide
  • Project duration: 1995-2000
  • Partners :
    • UNICEF
    • UNESCO
    • ILO
    • ECPAT – International
    • The NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Switzerland)
    • National Commission against Sexual Exploitation of Children (Belgium)
    • Children and Armed Conflict Unit (University of Essex)
  • Highlights:
    • First public hearings in Paris (1997)
    • Hearings in Fortaleza, Brazil (1998)
    • Hearings in Colombo, Sri Lanka (1999)
    • Hearings in Colchester, United Kingdom (April 2000)
    • Publishing of the Global Report – International Dimensions of the Sexual Exploitation of Children
    • European consultation on the international dimensions of the sexual exploitation of children, Madrid (November 1998)
    • UNESCO conference on child pornography, chaired by Justice Andrée Ruffo, President of IBCR, Paris (1999)
  • Fields of activity and expertise :
    • Applied research
    • Advocacy and institutional support
    • Tools, reference manuals and standards
    • Children in emergency situations
    • Child sexual exploitation
    • Children and the justice system

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