Measurement & Human Rights

Conference Children without a State: A Human Rights Challenge

Sunday-Monday, May 4-5, 2008

Conference organized with the Harvard University Committee on Human Rights in collaboration with the Swiss Foreign Ministry and Swiss Consulate, Boston



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Children without a State:
A Human Rights Challenge

Birth Registration and Irregular Migration

Conference Agenda

By invitation only

Children without a State: A Human Rights Challenge

Birth Registration and Irregular Migration

Pre-event dinner: Sunday, May 4, 2008 (Swiss Residence, Lexington, MA)

A dinner will be organized the night before the conference to introduce all the participants and set the tone of the conference. The dinner will be organized by the Swiss Consulate at the Swiss residence in Lexington. A chartered bus will transport participants to and from the Sheraton Commander and the Swiss residence.

Conference: Monday, May 5, 2008

(Gutman Conference Center, Cambridge, MA)

(8:30 am – 9:00 am)


Welcome (9:00 am – 9:15 am)

Jacqueline Bhabha, University Committee on Human Rights Studies

Emil Wyss, Deputy Consul of Switzerland

Andrea Rossi, Measurement and Human Rights Program, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy

Session 1: (9:00 am – 11:00 am)
Framing the Problem: The role of documentation and registration in protecting the rights of the child.

Chair: Fernando Reimers, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Discussant: Linda Kerber, University of Iowa (invited)

Laura van Waas, Tilburg University, Netherlands
Saudamini Siegrist, UNICEF, Innocenti Research Center, Italy
Kenneth Hill, Harvard School of Public Health
Caroline Vandenabeele, Asian Development Bank

Session 2: (11:15 am – 1:15 pm)
Exploring the Evidence: A presentation of available research on the scale of non registration or undocumented status among children and on the impact of this lack of documentation on children’s access to rights in different geographical locations.

Chair: Gerald Neuman, Harvard Law School
Discussant: Helen Marrow, Harvard University, Department of Sociology

David Thronson, Boyd School of Law at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, US
Daniel Senovilla Hernandez, University of Poitiers, France
Stephen Legomsky, Washington University, St. Louis Law, US
Tommaso Bicocchi, Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM), Brussels
Bill Frelick, Refugee Director, Human Rights Watch (invited)

Lunch (1:15 pm – 2:15 pm)

Session 3: (2:30 pm – 4:30 pm)
Best Practices and Policy Responses: Models, policies, ideas for addressing the human rights challenges and generating the necessary political will; public/private partnerships, the relative roles of central and local government.

Chair: Mary Waters, Harvard University, Department of Sociology
Discussant: ­Elizabeth Bartholet, Harvard Law School, Child Advocacy Program

Kirsten Di Martino, UNICEF representative to China
Jyothi Kanics, Irish Refugee Council, Ireland
Elena Rozzi, Save the Children, Italy
Christopher Nugent, Holland and Knight LLP, US
Susan Martin, Institute for the Study of International Migration (ISIM), Georgetown University, US

ClosingJacqueline Bhabha and Andrea Rossi

Concluding Public Event
Monday, May 5, 2008
6:00 - 8:00 pm

(Harvard-Yenching Auditorium, Cambridge, MA)

Children's Rights are Human Rights: Or are they?
The hurdles facing Child soldiers and undocumented children

Keynote Speaker: Radhika Coomaraswamy, Head of the United Nations Office for Children and Armed Conflict

60 years on from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, children's rights are still in their infancy. Hundreds of thousands of children are recruited as child soldiers, millions live as undocumented migrants without citizenship, and one third of the world's children do not have their birth registered, and therefore do not exist as a matter of law. What are the implications of these dramatic rights violations and what can be done about them? Leading experts, including the UN official responsible for child soldiers, and a prominent advocate engaged with children disappeared during the civil wars in Latin America, debate the issues. The issue is not simply an international problem, it is a local challenge - case studies involving children from the Boston area will form part of the discussion.

Distinguished Guests:

Susannah Sirkin, Physicians for Human Rights

Anne Gillespie, The Medical-Legal Partnership for Children, Boston Medical Center