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  Untitled Document

Child Protection Project

In June 2009, the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) began working with The Protection Project (TPP) of The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies to draft a comprehensive model law on protecting children from all forms of neglect, abuse, maltreatment and exploitation. The primary goals of the Child Protection Project are to: research existing child protection laws in the 193 member states of the United Nations (U.N.); convene a series of regional expert working group meetings to establish a common definition for "child protection"; create a database of national legislation and case law on child protection issues from around the world; create a model curriculum on child protection for use by educational institutions; and draft, publish, and globally disseminate model child protection legislation.

The final version of the Model Law incorporates international standards and best practices of child protection, based on the protection measures of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and of its two optional protocols, the Optional Protocol to the CRC on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Pornography (OPSC) and the Optional Protocol to the CRC on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (OPAC). Over the course of the project, existing child protection legislation from all 193 UN Member Countries was collected and more than 400 national laws relating to child protection from over 150 countries were thoroughly researched and analyzed to identify best practices.

The articles of the Model Law on Child Protection are therefore the product of expertise drawing on international standards and comparative models. It cites 130 domestic laws from 68 countries that we understand to be good examples for child protection legislation or to reflect good intentions. The Model Law highlights issues of child protection that need to be regulated with comprehensive laws and its articles help to show omissions and gaps in current legislation all over the world. The articles of the Model Law focus on key issues, including protection of children: in the family and community; from sexual exploitation; from economic exploitation; in emergency situations; and in the justice system.

Over the course of the project, the Model Law has been presented at expert meetings in each region of the world to identify issues of concern in that region and discuss suggestions for improvement. The debates at each regional expert panel have contributed to the revision and expansion of the Model Law. In April 2010, the first regional expert working group meeting was held in Singapore, for the Asia-Pacific region, bringing together experts from 11 Asia-Pacific countries, representing government ministries, NGOs, and academic institutions. The experts gathered to share their expertise and discuss the draft Model Law.

ChildProtectionProject(1).jpg

ChildProtectionProject(2).jpg

Asia-Pacific Child Protection Expert Working Group Meeting
Singapore (April 2010)

Participant Group Photo
Asia-Pacific Child Protection Expert Working Group Meeting

The second regional expert working group for the greater Middle East region was held in October 2010 in Alexandria, Egypt. The second expert working group brought together nearly 40 child protection experts from 10 countries in the Middle East and North Africa to discuss and comment on the revised draft Model Law. The experts represented the League of Arab States, the General Secretariat of the Iraqi Council of Ministers, Universities and Law Schools, Judges and lawyers, NGOs and the media.

Child Protection Working Group

Child Protection Working Group

MENA Child Protection Expert Working Group Meeting
Alexandria, Egypt (October 2010)

Participant Group Photo
MENA Child Protection Expert Working Group Meeting

In June 2011, the third expert working group meeting was convened in San Jose, Costa Rica for Latin America and the Caribbean. This working group consisted of 21 experts from 9 countries in the region representing national child protection agencies, regional and international organizations, and NGOs from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Uruguay.

Costa Rica CPP

Costa Rica Group photo

LATAM and Caribbean Child Protection Expert Working Group Meeting San Jose, Costa Rica (June 2011)

Participant Group Photo
Child Protection Expert Working Group Meeting

The European expert working group meeting was held in Valencia, Spain in July 2011. This group consisted of 24 experts from 10 countries including Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Iran, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Europe group photo

Europe photo CPP

Participant Group Photo
Child Protection Expert Working Group Meeting

European Child Protection Expert Working Group Meeting Valencia, Spain (July 2011)

A special expert meeting was held in Istanbul, Turkey in September 2011 to focus on child protection case law and best practices from around the world along with discussion of the model law. This working group consisted of 21 experts from 11 countries including Australia, Belgium, Costa Rica, Egypt, Germany, Iran, Netherlands, New Zealand, Qatar, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Group photo in Turkey

Working group photo in Turkey

Participant Group Photo
Child Protection Expert Working Group Meeting

Child Protection Expert Working Group Meeting Istanbul, Turkey (September 2011)

The sixth and final expert working group meeting was held 2-3 April 2012 in Alexandria, Virginia for the United States (including Puerto Rico) and Canada and several U.S.-based NGOs focused on child protection in Africa. This working group consisted of 16 experts including law professors, attorneys and legal experts, NGO and government representatives.

Working group photo VA

Group photo VA

Participant Group Photo
Child Protection Expert Working Group Meeting

Child Protection Expert Working Group Meeting Alexandria, VA (April 2012)

All told, 129 experts representing 114 individual organizations, including regional bodies, government ministries, national child protection agencies, legal institutions, judicial bodies, civil society, and academic institutions, from 43 countries participated in this process. On 28 January 2013, the Model Law on Child Protection was presented before the distinguished members of the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child during its 62nd Session in Geneva, Switzerland. We recognize the invaluable work of the Committee in advancing the rights of children around the world.

Working group photo UNCRC

Group photo UNCRC

62nd Session of the U.N. Committee
on the Rights of Child
Geneva, Switzerland (January 2013)

Members of the U.N. Committee on the
Rights of the Child, Geneva, Switzerland
(January 2013)

ICMEC and The Protection Project began coordinating with the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in early 2013 in anticipation of presenting the Child Protection Model Law before a session of the IPU. The IPU formally invited ICMEC and TPP to participate in the 129th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Geneva, Switzerland 7-9 October 2013. (Below photos were taken by the IPU)

Assembly IPU

Assembly IPU2

129th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union
Geneva, Switzerland (October 2013)

Dr. Mohamed Mattar presenting on the panel "Role of Parliaments in Protecting the Rights of Children"

Dr. Mattar presented the Child Protection Model Law on behalf of the project on a panel discussion of the Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights. The panel discussion focused on the Role of Parliaments in Protecting the Rights of Children, in Particular Unaccompanied Migrant Children, and in Preventing their Exploitation in Situations of War and Conflict. The purpose of the panel discussion was to enable IPU Member Parliaments to express their initial views on the topic and to assist the co-Rapporteurs from Mexico and Bahrain in preparing a draft resolution on the issue to be debated and adopted at the 130th IPU Assembly. This is the first time the IPU Assembly has considered the rights of children since 2001. The speakers on the panel included Senator Gabriela Cuevas, MP, Mexico (co-rapporteur); Ms. Jameela Nasaif, MP, Bahrain (co-rapporteur); Dr. Mohamed Mattar, Executive Director, The Protection Project, JHU/SAIS; and Ms. Louise Aubin, Global Protection Cluster Coordinator, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). We estimate that nearly 300 Parliamentarians attended the session representing more than 100 countries. During the meeting representatives from 44 countries commented on the issue and provided specific information on the formal response of their government.

As we move forward, the goal will be to render technical assistance to governments and Parliamentarians around the world through regional workshops focusing on successful and effective implementation of the Model Law. A parliamentarian's guidebook is currently in progress which will provide a roadmap for legislators on child protection legislation and will be coupled with regional workshops focusing on the successful and effective implementation of the provisions of the Model Law.

We intend the Model Law to serve as a guide for countries that are in the process of drafting a child protection law and those that are looking to amend existing laws. Legislators may use parts or specific provisions of the Model Law depending on the needs and unique circumstances of each country.

In addition, course curricula that have a nexus with child protection are being collected from educational institutions in the U.S. and abroad in order to develop a comprehensive child protection model curriculum that can be used by a variety of academic institutions to teach an array of child protection issues. A best practices guide containing a compilation of 100 innovative child protection initiatives from around the world was completed in December 2013. A copy of Best Practices in Child Protection can be found here.

A copy of the Child Protection Model Law can be found in Arabic, English, Farsi, Russia and Spanish - here.

If you are interested in receiving a copy of the Model Law, please contact Sandra Marchenko at smarchenko@icmec.org.

 
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