Child on the edge: plight of children in fragile and conflict states

14th February 2022 : 17:00 - 18:30

Category: Public Seminar

Speaker: Chair: Federica D’Alessandra, Speaker 1: Dr Omar Awadallah, Speaker 2: Brad Parker, Speaker 3: Mirza Saaib, Speaker 4: Jacqueline Bhabha

Location: Zoom webinar

Convener: Leon Feinstein

Audience: Public


Part of a seminar series interrogating the concept of rights of the child and implications for research, policy and practice

Article 19 of the UNCRC addresses violence against children, emphasising that State Parties must have proper laws in place to prohibit violence, and requiring States to implement administrative, social and educational measures to protect children. All forms of violence, both physical and mental, fall under article 19. In 2019, 1.6 billion children (69%) were living in a conflict-affected country. Approximately, 426 million children (over one in six) were living in a conflict zone in 2019. This constitutes a 2% increase from 2018. The ramifications of conflict on the implementation of UNCRC and other treaties aiming at protecting the rights of children are worthy of investigation as they delve into the issue of power dynamics. The third seminar of this series discusses the state of the child in conflict states, from the point of view of different stakeholders. The speakers include researchers, government officials, and civil society/NGOs from the occupied Palestinian territories and Kashmir. 


About the speakers:

Chair: ​​Federica D’Alessandra is the Deputy Director of the Blavatnik School of Government’s Institute for Ethics, Law, and Armed Conflict (ELAC), and the founding Executive Director of the Oxford Programme on International Peace and Security, based at ELAC. She is also an Academic Affiliate of the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, a member of the Steering Committee of the Oxford Network of Peace Studies, and a mentor for the Oxford Character Project. Federica has been recognised by Forbes magazine as one of “30 Under 30” leaders with “the likelihood of changing the field of law and policy over the next half-century”.

Speaker 1: Omar Awadallah is a career diplomat, an Ambassador, and Assistant Minister for United Nations and Other Specialized Agencies at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the State of Palestine. He played a critical role in developing the State of Palestine’s institutional framework to join the United Nations and its agencies, as well as its array of treaties and conventions. He oversees the State of Palestine’s engagements with international covenants including the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, as well as the States of Palestine’s reports and discussions at the Human Rights Council.  He also ensures the harmonization of these human rights conventions into Palestinian law.  Omar has a substantial policy experience in Multilateral Diplomacy and International Organizations and oversees specialized files, including UNRWA, and thematic issues like terrorism, disarmament, among others. He has more than 20 years of diplomatic experience and has previously served as a Charge’ d’Affaires and Political Counselor at the Embassy of the State of Palestine to Ukraine, where he also received his PhD in International Relations.

Speaker 2: Brad Parker specialises in issues of juvenile justice and grave violations against children during armed conflict, and leads DCIP’s legal advocacy efforts on Palestinian children’s rights. Brad regularly writes and speaks about the situation of Palestinian children in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. He co-leads DCIP’s No Way to Treat a Child campaign. He is a graduate of the University of Vermont and earned his J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law.

Speaker 3: Mirza Saaib Bég is a Kashmiri lawyer and activist. He is the first Kashmiri recipient of the Kofi Annan-Mansfield and Oxford- Weidenfeld-Hoffman scholarship at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. He holds a Master’s in Law and has recently completed a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Oxford. He is a gold medalist graduate of NALSAR University of Law, where he was the president of the university Students Union. Mirza is a prominent advocate for the restoration of the civil and political rights of kashmiris. He has been quoted in several international publications such as Washington Post, The Guardian, France24, Deutsch Welle and other international media outlets.

Speaker 4: Jacqueline Bhabha is a Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at the Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health, the Jeremiah Smith Jr. Lecturer in Law at Harvard Law School, and an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. She is also the Director of Research at the Harvard FXB Center for Health and Human Rights. She received a first class honors degree and an M.Sc. from Oxford University, and a J.D. from the College of Law in London.