The UNICEF Chair in Children’s Rights is a joint initiative of UNICEF Belgium and the University of Antwerp, Faculty of Law. The Chair was established in 2007.
The Chair acts as a knowledge broker of children’s rights within the academic community and between the academic community and policy and practice, through teaching, research and service to the community.
The Chair holder offers courses in children’s rights, both in Dutch and in English. Children’s rights training is offered to professionals and volunteers. Every two years, the Chair co-organizes an interdisciplinary international course in children’s rights (as part of a four week intensive course, HR4DEV, see www.hr4dev.be), which attracts professionals in children’s rights from all over the world. The Chair is an active member of the European Network of Masters in Children’s Rights, www.enmcr.net.
The Chair has its own research programme, and actively stimulates a children’s rights component in other research programmes. In its own research programme, emphasis is put on conceptual issues (in particular the mutual reinforcement and enrichment of the children’s rights and the general human rights framework), and on economic, social and cultural rights of children. Migration and poverty offer strategic entry points to these topics. A particular research focus is laid on children’s rights in development and development cooperation, with children and armed conflict as a focal area of research (see also publications). The Chair holder is spokesperson of the research group law and development, and conducts case-studies in the South. The introduction of a children’s rights perspective in other research agendas is sought in particular by organizing expert meetings with scholars in other areas of study.
The Chair holder lends it expertise to the National Commission on Children’s Rights, the NGO Platform on Children’s Rights in Development Cooperation, the Flemish Knowledge Centre on Children’s Rights, and the EU institutions, amongst others.