About this Course
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Approx. 14 hours to complete

Suggested: 5 hours/week...


Subtitles: English, Slovak, Russian

Skills you will gain

JusticeChild PsychologyInternational LawHumanitarian

100% online

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.

Beginner Level

Approx. 14 hours to complete

Suggested: 5 hours/week...


Subtitles: English, Slovak, Russian

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

2 hours to complete

International standards and monitoring systems

The module begins with the presentation of the background, origins and main content of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and provides details about the preparatory work and the international political context in which the Convention was drafted. The content of international human rights norms are discussed using the subdivision between civil and political rights on the one hand, and economic, social and cultural rights on the other. Furthermore, the general UN human rights monitoring mechanisms will be introduced, followed by the presentation of the CRC monitoring system. A discussion on the importance of regional human rights monitoring systems for children in Africa, Asia and Latin America will be the subject of a specific round table. Within the monitoring framework a particular attention is dedicated to role of key actors: Independent National Human Rights Institutions (INHRIs) on Children’s rights, Non-Governmental organizations (NGOs) and children.

11 videos (Total 108 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
11 videos
1.1 Introduction3m
1.2 The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: from drafting to reception.23m
1.2bis CRC General Principles5m
1.3 Main content of the CRC and the related States obligations9m
1.4 UN Committee on the right of the child: role, structure, functioning and method of works8m
1.5 The CRC Communications procedure5m
1.6 Overview regional monitoring system18m
1.7 The role of the INHRIs on Children’s rights in the monitoring process at national and local level8m
1.8 NGOs’ role in the monitoring process7m
1.9 Children's subjective indicators: children’s participation in monitoring13m
1 reading
1 practice exercise
Quiz of Module 120m
1 hour to complete

The history of children’s rights in the context of human rights

This module provides an overview of the evolution of children's rights before the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Based on a chronological approach, it is a comprehensive social and cultural history of children's rights, of the way they developed over the course of the last centuries. While not building on a strict history of diplomatic relations, this module provides an international perspective on this evolution. It aims to underline the multiplicity of actors, networks and organizations involved in the defense and promotion of children's rights, over time. Also, it emphasizes crucial moments of this history, such as the adoption of international legal instruments on the rights of the child, the two World Wars, etc. This module will nonetheless challenge common understandings of the history of children's rights. For instance, instead of describing it as a linear success story, it will highlight progress as well as failures. Also, the idea that the rights of the child are a 20th Century invention will be balanced. By doing so, we aim to provide a complex understanding of the history of children's rights and detailed contexts for the topics they cover (e.g. child labor, juvenile justice, etc.) and that will be studied later in this MOOC.

7 videos (Total 55 min), 1 quiz
7 videos
2.2 History of childhood: a state of the art7m
2.3 Children and Health from the Renaissance to the Revolution4m
2.4 Children during the industrial revolution7m
2.5 Saving the children after WWI and the Geneva Declaration8m
2.6 International Organizations and Human rights: From Protection Rights to Children’s Human Rights9m
2.7 Regional evolution of children's rights: voices from a recent past - Introduction14m
1 practice exercise
Quiz of Module 212m
1 hour to complete

Interdisciplinary Children’s Rights Studies

The module will provide a general introduction to the field of children’s rights studies. It will emphasize the interdisciplinary outlook of the field and will present schools of thought in children’s rights. Furthermore, we will show the links between children’s rights and the sociology and anthropology of childhood and provide some examples of recent children’s rights research and practice.

6 videos (Total 47 min), 1 quiz
6 videos
3.2 Interdisciplinary children's rights studies6m
3.3 Fruits, salads, and smoothies: working together for understanding children's rights9m
3.4 Schools of thought in children's rights10m
3.5 Agency and structure in childhood studies10m
3.6 The anthropology of childhood8m
1 practice exercise
Quiz of Module 322m
1 hour to complete

Juvenile justice

The field of Juvenile Justice (JJ) or of systems of Justice specialized for children in conflict with the law, is the field of children’s rights where the international community has drafted the largest amount of legislation (national, regional and international). It is obviously a very sensitive field where child rights violations are numerous, where violence in institutions must be deplored, and where the response is not always child-friendly, and does not systematically favor individual child development. It is moreover a domain where the State exerts its power in response to child offenses, very often through the deprivation of liberty ; and where the State’s interference also represses non-criminal behavior (running away, breaking disciplinary rules, breaking curfews, …), all of these actions would not be legally reprehensible if committed by an adult (status offence). And, alas this field of JJ sometimes accounts for violations of children’s rights at the hands of States themselves: in the arrest phase, in administrative detention, in the execution of judiciary sentences, but also in institutional care. The issue of JJ also includes children victims and witnesses.

9 videos (Total 61 min), 1 quiz
9 videos
4.2 Overview of the international legal framework on juvenile justice and child protection7m
4.3 Interview on the Council of Europe Guidelines on child friendly justice: background and motivation13m
4.4 Minimum age of criminal responsibility7m
4.5 Protecting children's rights in JJ systems / “What works”: Effective methods to reduce juvenile delinquency9m
4.6 Deprivation of Liberty4m
4.7 Children as victims and witnesses4m
4.8 Restorative Juvenile Justice3m
4.9 Torture7m
1 practice exercise
Quiz of Module 418m
1 hour to complete

Violence against children

Protection is a central pillar in the field of children’s rights and a dimension that probably, along with health and education, captures most of society’s financial outlays in favour of children. Because of their young age and their physical status, children are much more vulnerable than other social groups and indeed the victimisation of children around the world reaches staggering proportions. In this module, we will examine various forms of age-old and emerging forms of violence against children, the institutional and professional responses to the phenomenon.

7 videos (Total 46 min), 1 quiz
7 videos
5.2 Violence against children: An overview5m
5.3 The vulnerable child: A historical perspective6m
5.5 Emerging challenges in the protection of children9m
5.6 Internet, social media and violence against children6m
5.7 Combatting child trafficking8m
5.8 A revolution in pofessional practices7m
1 practice exercise
Quiz of Module 510m
1 hour to complete

Children’s right to participation

Art. 12 to 17 and art. 31 UNCRC are considered to refer to “participation rights”. These rights are considered the most “revolutionary” under the provisions of the UNCRC because they challenge traditional and tokenistic conceptions of childhood. The challenge however also lies in the balance to be found, in all settings, between structural adaptations necessary to favour child participation and the evolving capacities of the children themselves, who can only progressively exert their own rights directly. Another aspect is participation of children as individuals or as groups, notably their collective decision-making capacity. It looks like practice has outstripped theory. The difference between the child as a subject of rights and the child’s real agency as a social actor needs more theoretical frameworks, as the problem of implementation is also a problem of our own understanding of agency. Among the modes of recognition, rights are only a limited part of the reality experienced by children mainly in terms of affection and esteem. The challenges of implementing children’s participation rights in a series of settings, as recommended by CRC General Comment Nr 12, are therefore conveying an analysis of the terms used (maturity, freely expressed views, etc.) that may include children’s own perspectives on these issues. Examples of procedures for the implementation of children’s participation rights highlight all these challenges and the difficulties of defining good indicators of child participation. Besides, child participation should also be guaranteed even when children are viewed as “deviant” or “delinquent”: the respect for child participation in judicial settings highlights the complex interplay between one’s status and one’s rights in practice. Eventually, as child participation should be guaranteed in all settings, research itself should be child-friendly and participative and ethical principles for researchers must be specified when dealing with children.

10 videos (Total 61 min), 1 quiz
10 videos
6.2 Introduction to participation rights5m
6.3 The right of the child to be heard: General Comment no.126m
6.4 Children’s Rights and Recognition4m
6.5 Children's participation as social actors6m
6.6 Sampling of implementation procedure6m
6.7 Childhood policy and children's subjective indicators6m
6.8 The rights to be heard in judicial settings6m
6.9 Ethical research procedures5m
6.10 Child participation in research10m
1 practice exercise
Quiz of Module 620m
1 hour to complete

Children’s rights and global health

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization 22 July 1946). Certain traditional practices committed on children compromise sometimes severely both their physical and moral development and thus affect their health. These practices while explicitly prohibited by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) at. art. 24.3 CRC are widely committed in quasi total impunity. Even if some traditional harmful practices concern more specific regions of the globe, due to migratory movements, in fine every State is concerned. Global health is a universal concept of human rights and contributes to, the realization of many other children’s rights such as the right of non-discrimination (art. 2 CRC), the right to life, survival and development (art.6 CRC), the right to participation (art. 12 CRC) the right to privacy (art. 16 CRC) or the right to access to information (art. 17 CRC). Placing children’s rights in the context of traditional harmful practices and global health, adopting a child’s rights based approach, contributes to a better understanding of the problem and thus to a better care of the victims.

8 videos (Total 58 min), 1 quiz
8 videos
7.2 Overview on the traditional practices phenomenon6m
7.3 Child witchcraft allegation: invented traditional practices8m
7.4 FGM: the girl child9m
7.5 Global health, human rights and ethics12m
7.6 Children's rights and global mental health8m
7.7 Children’s right and the obesity epidemic5m
7.8 Children’s health and wellbeing: Issues and challenges from a human rights perspective5m
1 practice exercise
Quiz of Module 718m
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Top reviews from Children's Human Rights - An Interdisciplinary Introduction

By SDJan 31st 2019

I strongly recommend this for people who are passionately working among children across the globe. This is the need of the hour! Let's educate ourselves and serve the best for our children. Cheers!

By DMJun 17th 2017

I found this to be extremely informative along with being interesting. Children are our future and must be cared for at all costs while maintaining their rights. Thank you for this course.



Roberta Ruggiero

Center for Children's Rights Studies

Philip D. Jaffé

Center for Children's Rights Studies

Jean Zermatten

Dr. h. c.
Center for Children's Rights Studies and International Institute for Children's Rights

About University of Geneva

Founded in 1559, the University of Geneva (UNIGE) is one of Europe's leading universities. Devoted to research, education and dialogue, the UNIGE shares the international calling of its host city, Geneva, a centre of international and multicultural activities with a venerable cosmopolitan tradition....

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