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Special Issue of the journal, Global Responsibility to Protect, on the theme of Children and R2P
Special Issue Editors: Bina D’Costa and Luke Glanville
Abstracts due 15 June 2016
Draft papers due 15 January 2017
The now-iconic image of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi’s body washed up on a beach in Turkey in September sparked a public outcry and turned the world’s attention to the forced migration crisis. The news of the denial of the family’s refugee visa application had an immediate impact on Canadian domestic politics prompting its politicians to speak about a global responsibility to protect children fleeing conflict zones. Yet, a few months later, following reports of widespread sexual assault incidents in Cologne on New Year’s eve, allegedly by migrants, Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine, published a cartoon showing Aylan as an adult migrant who turned out to be one of the attackers in Germany. In March 2016, two Syrian nationals were found guilty of human trafficking and the manslaughter of Aylan, his mother, his brother, and two other people in Turkey. Aylan’s story is a vivid reminder that states, societies and cultures are increasingly interconnected and interdependent.
The R2P framework lays down a responsibility to protect populations from the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing. Refugees, particularly children fleeing from Syria, Iraq and Libya are at serious risk from these crimes. Since the death of Aylan, approximately 340 children have drowned making the journey across the Mediterranean. Shifting our gaze away from Europe’s refugee crises to Africa and the Asia-Pacific we encounter children and young people caught in waves of political violence in numerous ways. Girls kidnapped in Nigeria by Boko Haram, schools attacked in Pakistan, and young adolescents targeted during protests in the West Bank and Kashmir speak volumes about the vulnerabilities of children in conflict zones. They represent some of the most marginalised categories of population during armed conflicts and complex emergencies, and are disproportionately affected by violence. Effective protection of children and young people depends on states and non-state actors being both willing and capable to offer adequate protection.
How might R2P have consequences for national and international policies and practices, especially those involving children, adolescents, and youth? In this special issue, the editors invite authors from different theoretical and disciplinary perspectives to engage in a dialogue about the potential relevance of R2P in the study of young people.
We invite contributors to consider how and whether current forms of international cooperation and global governance regimes are either well equipped or ill adapted to meet these challenges. Possible research issues may include, but are not limited to, children’s experiences in conflict zones, comprehensive political settlements and R2P, international security and social violence, migration, environmental protection, food security, economic and social justice, and gendered R2P.
We welcome contributions from all fields of the social sciences, including law, philosophy, anthropology, sociology and international relations. Authors from the global south are particularly encouraged to contribute their essays.
Below are some of the key questions we have identified, which are only illustrative and do not cover the range of issues that deserve greater attention:
- How will R2P work in protecting children and preventing violence against them?
- How might R2P standards take into account of children’s resilience?
- How do we create a world in which mass atrocities are no longer seen as viable means to achieve political ends? What is the role of children and young people in this context?
- How do national, regional, and international contexts of protecting children and preventing violence against them interact with the discourse of R2P?
- Are there significant differences in dealing with children’s issues, from institutional, societal, and cultural perspectives, that have to be taken into account for the R2P framework to be effective?
- To what extent is the forced migration debate relevant to R2P and the construction of childhood?
- In what ways can local and global civil society support child-centred peace and justice agenda as part of the process of developing an ethical approach to R2P?
- What are the limits of contemporary application of R2P in protecting children?