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Children’s Rights Count

Exploring Domestic and International Mechanisms for Protecting and Advancing Children’s Right Globally

UNICEF Canada and OJEN have partnered to create an interactive classroom resource designed to enhance high school students’ understanding of children’s rights. This resource includes experiential activities that introduce students to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (the Convention), and domestic legal cases related to children’s rights. Through case studies and discussion-based strategies, students explore the social and legal issues related to spanking, medical treatment of minors and child soldiers.

Section One: Introduction to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

This section contains four activities aimed at introducing students to the Convention as well as concepts of justice and fairness. Teachers can choose amongst the various activities which are designed to provide students with a thorough understanding of both the broad structure of the Convention, as well as the specific articles it contains.

Section Two: Application of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

This section includes two activities each focused on a different Canadian legal case related to children’s rights:

The Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law v. The Attorney General of Canada
A.C. v. Manitoba

The first case study examines the constitutional challenge to the spanking laws in Canada, and the second focuses on medical treatment for mature minors. Each activity looks at the legal aspect of the decisions, as well as the broader social and policy concerns related to children’s rights. Students are encouraged to analyze, interpret and apply the Convention through a variety of critical-thinking exercises.

Section Three: International Law Mock Hearing

The final component of the resource is a mock hearing set at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The mock hearing includes three packages of material: a scenario, a role preparation package and a justice sector volunteer package. The scenario, The Prosecutor v. Mabo, has students prepare for the trial of Arthur Mabo, a rebel army commander accused of recruiting and using children as child soldiers in armed conflicts. The scenario package includes the facts of the case, the relevant law and witness statements for each character. The role preparation package provides background information on the ICC, the legal procedure and general information for students playing the roles of the lawyers, court staff and judges. The justice sector volunteer package can be provided to lawyers or judges who volunteer to coach students in preparing their arguments, and/or to adjudicate the trial in the classroom.  This simulation provides an exciting, experiential way for students to apply their knowledge of the law.

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