Bulletin IINfancia N° 6

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AUTHORITIES Luis Almagro OAS Secretary General Néstor Méndez OAS Assistant Secretary General Berenice Cordero IIN Directing Council President Yazmín Cárdenas IIN Directing Council Vice President Víctor Giorgi IIN Director General Daniel Claverie IIN Contents Coordinator Ingrid Quevedo IIN Technical Assistant of Communication ​​ Sara Cardoso IIN Design

Edition December 2018

The IIN is as Specialized Organization of the Organization of American States (OAS) in childhood and adolescence, which assists the States in the development of public policies to be taken for the benefit of children and adolescents, contributing in the field of their design and implementation in the perspective of the promotion, protection and full respect of the rights of children and adolescents in the region. Special assistance is aimed at the needs of the Member States of the Inter-American System and at the particularities of the regional groups.


INDEX Prologue 9 Preventing intra-familial child abuse: A pending issue on the global agenda


Sexual exploitation and trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation of children and adolescents: multiple human rights violation 22 Well treatment and prevention of violence in the home and family setting from a regional perspective


Tensions and contradictions in adolescent participation in urban fringe communities 46 Early care in natural environments, mediated by family empowerment


Neuroplasticity in early childhood Its relationship with the environment 85 Notes for developing Human Rights Education in the formal education system in Latin America


To return to the index, click on this image at the beginning of each article. 7


Prologue Víctor Giorgi

Director General - IIN

With the publication of this sixth issue of the IINfancia Newsletter, the Inter-American Children’s Institute provides continuity to an editorial line that aims to open up opportunities for sharing output, reflections and experiences that contribute to the regional debate on children’s rights, from the perspective of a variety of subject areas and theoretical approaches. This publication coincides with the 29th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. As with any anniversary, it is an opportunity for celebration and for the search for new meanings of events, on the basis of the current context and moment in history, but also a time for taking stock and setting new targets. The tenets of the Convention have been incorporated into the legal frameworks of most of the countries in the region. More recently, there has been progress in the development and implementation of policies, supported by some increase in investment. In recent years, experience has led us to review


the institutional structure that underpins these policies, promoting inter-agency opportunities and the development of comprehensive systems for the promotion and protection of rights. But these advances coexist with the threat of regression, of setbacks in the progress we have already achieved. In fact, discourse and positions that tend to refocus childhood policies on control and discipline are gaining in strength in the region, with a return to adult-centred visions and traditional relations of power between genders and generations. Security-related discourse, with its criminalization of children and youth, especially the most vulnerable, is part of this context. It includes uncaring positions that resist the intervention of the State in its redistributive role and as a safeguard of rights, demanding non-intervention in the private sphere, and certain religious fundamentalisms that view power relations and submission as part of a divine order, and, therefore, immutable. The strength of these positions is rooted in their ability to connect with traditional conceptions of children and of the role of adults, as expressed in the so-called doctrine of the irregular situation, which is entrenched in vast sectors of our societies, despite the 29 years that have elapsed since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The cultural shift that gives children a new place in the symbolic universe, which takes the “best interest of the child� as a focal point in all decision-making, and makes it possible to permeate daily life with values and principles that consider children as rights-holders and full social beings is yet to come. These positions are in harmony with ever-present and still current conceptions of children in keeping with the doctrine of the irregular situation, which have been overcome in technical


and political discourse, but are still latent and effective as cultural preserves that are difficult to deconstruct. In this context, it is our purpose at the IIN to make accessible to our readers this set of articles in all the diversity of their authors’ nationalities and fields of study, their subject matter, approaches and theoretical frameworks. The newsletter contains research, thought and practices. It covers thematic areas that are significant in children’s agendas: violence, exploitation, the challenges of participation, the contributions of neuroscience, early care experiences in communities, human rights education. It reflects a diversity shaped as a kind of kaleidoscope in which a unity is outlined that provides coherence in terms of its contribution to building a region where child rights are closer to becoming an daily reality. The meaning of this publication is masterfully expressed in the words of Paulo Freire: “Books are not only to be read, but to be thought about on the basis of each person’s practices and interests; talk to them and through them, to the authors”; in order to move forward, become richer, increase our capacity to understand and take action to transform reality.


Preventing intra-familial child abuse: A pending issue on the global agenda1 by Aída Elia Fernández de los Campos and Martha Eugenia Ortega Ortiz The phenomenon of violence is as old as humankind; it has always been present like a shadow in the history of human beings. New forms of violence now exist and it has intensified throughout the world.2 In this regard, the World Health Organization (WHO), provides the following facts and figures in its report of 30 September 2016:3 a quarter of all adults report having been physically abused as children; one in five women and one in thirteen men report having been sexually abused as children. Consequences of child maltreatment include impaired lifelong physical and mental health, 1 By Aída Elia Fernández de los Campos and Martha Eugenia Ortega Ortiz. Autonomous University of Bucaramanga, UNAB Colombia. 2 Contemporary society is undergoing a crisis that is closely related to allembracing economic, social and political issues that individuals must address in order to achieve their comprehensive development. Economic, social and educational weaknesses and shortcomings lead to critical situations in the different areas in which the most vulnerable population groups, such as children, operate. Children’s rights are breached every day, despite the fact that their comprehensive protection is proclaimed across the length and breadth of the planet. 3 WHO report of 30 September 2016. Available from: http://www.who.int/ news-room/fact-sheets/detail/child-maltreatment


and the social and occupational outcomes can ultimately slow a country’s economic and social development. It also stresses that preventing child maltreatment before it starts is possible and requires a multisectoral approach. It points out, in addition, that effective prevention programmes support parents and teach positive parenting skills. Ongoing care of children and families can reduce the risk of maltreatment reoccurring and can minimize its consequences. In May 2017,4 the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that each year, 1.4 million people worldwide lose their lives to violence and 90% of deaths due to violence occur in lowand middle-income countries. The health impact of violence is not limited to physical injury. The WHO’s report also stresses that violence is preventable. School programmes and community programmes, as well as promoting positive and nurturing relationships within families, play an essential role in preventing violence. Similarly, societies are called upon to reduce risk factors such as alcohol, firearms and economic and gender inequalities. These concerns have also been addressed by other bodies of the United Nations, such as the report of the Independent Expert for the United Nations submitted to the General Assembly in 2006, General Comments No. 8, 13, 14, 15 of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Recommendation No. 31 of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and General Comment No. 18 of the Committee on the Rights of the Child. Within the region of the Americas, of special note are the Report on Corporal Punishment and Human Rights of Children and Adolescents (2009)5 and the Report on Violence, Children, and Organized Crime of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. 4 10 facts about violence prevention. WHO, May 2017. Available from: http:// www.who.int/features/factfiles/violence/en/ 5 Link to the report: https://www.cidh.oas.org/Ninez/CastigoCorporal2009/CASTIGO%20CORPORAL%20ENGLISH%20FINAL.pdf


The Report of the Independent Expert for the United Nations6 on Violence Against Children7 reveals that maltreatment exists in every country in the world, regardless of culture, social class, educational level, income and ethnicity. The study emphasizes that eliminating and responding to violence against children, and to maltreatment as one of its manifestations, is perhaps more difficult within the family than anywhere else, since this is the most private of all areas of this nature. However, child rights8 do not end at the door to the family home, nor do the obligations of the States to safeguard these rights for children. One of the report’s most significant recommendations refers to the need to give priority to the prevention of violence against children, and states: “Just as resources devoted to intervening after violence has occurred are essential, States should allocate adequate resources to address risk factors and prevent violence before it occurs.” The Committee on the Rights of the Child9 in its General Comments No. 810 and 1311 sets as a precedent the duty of 6 Report of the Independent Expert for the United Nations on Violence Against Children. Available from: https://www.unicef.org/violencestudy/reports/SG_violencestudy_en.pdf 7 A child means every human being below the age of eighteen years, who is an active rights holder, rights which he or she can claim autonomously, on the basis of the languages that he or she handles according to his or her stage of development. Parents fulfil their primary duty of care by safeguarding their children’s rights in order to ensure that they can handle their lives autonomously, in the free and responsible exercise of those rights. 8 Underlying the conception of children as rights holders is the idea of legal equality, in the sense that all people are the recipients of legal norms and have the capacity to be rights holders, and then moving on to more perfect equations involving equality before the law or equality of rights, which leads to conceiving human rights as the process of building citizenship, according to Hannah Arendt (1974), as encapsulated in the formula that recognizes “the right to have rights”. 9 A body charged with monitoring the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. 10 General Comment No. 8 (2006) The right of the child to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment (arts. 19; 28, para. 2; and 37, inter alia). Available from: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno= CRC%2fC%2fGC%2f8&Lang=en 11 General comment no. 13 (2011), The right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence.


States parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child12 to take appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures in order to free children from all forms of violence. For its part, General Comment No. 1413 stresses that the full application of the principle of the best interest of the child14 demands that a rights-based approach be adopted, with the cooperation of all actors, in order to ensure children’s physical, psychological, moral and spiritual health, in addition to combating all negative attitudes and prejudices that prevent the full realization of children’s right to have their best interests borne in mind and become a primary consideration, by means of communication programmes involving the media, social networks and children themselves, with the aim that children be recognized as rights holders. In addition, in its General Comment No. 1515 on the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health (Article 24), the Committee analyses children’s health from the perspective of child rights, in the sense that everyone has the right to opportunities for survival, growth and development, in a context of physical, emotional and social well-being, free from violence. In the same sense, in Joint general recommendation No. 31 of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women/general comment No. 18 of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on harmful practices,16 both Committees 12 To date, South Sudan and the United States have yet to ratify the convention. Available from: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download. aspx?symbolno=CRC%2fC%2fGC%2f13&Lang=en 13 General comment No. 14 (2013) on the right of the child to have his or her best interests taken as a primary consideration (art. 3, para. 1). Available from: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno= CRC%2fC%2fGC%2f14&Lang=en 14 Convention on the Rights of the Child, art. 3.1. Available from: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CRC.aspx 15 General comment No. 15 (2013) on the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health. Available from: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno= CRC%2fC%2fGC%2f15&Lang=en 16Available from:https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N14/627/78/ PDF/N1462778.pdf?OpenElement


“have underlined that prevention can be best achieved through a rights-based approach to changing social and cultural norms, empowering women and girls, building the capacity of all relevant professionals who are in regular contact with victims, potential victims and perpetrators of harmful practices at all levels and raising awareness of the causes and consequences of harmful practices, including through dialogue with relevant stakeholders�. In the American hemisphere, the Report on Corporal Punishment and Human Rights of Children and Adolescents of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Rapporteurship on the Rights of the Child (2009), echoes the proposals made by the Committee on the Rights of the Child and emphasizes the need for the States to provide appropriate measures which, based on the special vulnerability of children, will ensure full respect for their rights. In addition, in its Report on Violence, Children and Organized Crime (2016),17 the Inter-American Commission highlights the fact that the American continent, and in particular Latin America and the Caribbean, have, in recent decades, undergone significant economic growth as well as growth in terms of human development, which has made it possible to move the poverty and extreme poverty line for millions of people. However, challenges remain that show that the progress achieved may be at risk. The region as a whole has yet to adequately address social exclusion and inequities, which, while carried over from previous historical periods, recent development has not been able to overcome and has even made them more evident by making them more visible to society. 17 Available from: http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/reports/pdfs/ViolenceChildren2016. pdf


The above shows the existence of international guidelines on the need for the States to implement preventive strategies aimed at eradicating behaviour that is the expression of violence, such as the maltreatment of children in intra-familial environments by their parent figures,18 which breaches the rights of this segment of the population by affecting their comprehensive development. A number of different studies of this scourge have agreed that it originates during childhood, particularly within the family, and conclude that excessive aggression in early childhood, especially physical aggression, constitutes a leading predictive factor of violent behaviour in adolescence and youth (Dodge 2003, Nagin and Tremblay 1999). In view of the seriousness of the phenomenon and its consequences, the World Health Organization (WHO) considers child maltreatment to be a public health issue,19 which entails the joint responsibility of family, society and the State. The reasons for its occurrence must be sought on the basis of an ecological model such as Urie Bronfenbrenner (1987) proposes, rejecting any simplistic attempt to explain the phenomenon by analysing single causal factors and shedding light on the range of interlocking determining factors that are at its root. In addition, it has also been shown that a high degree of physical aggression at the age of six is predictive of many later behaviours such as dropping out of school, early sexual 18 Child maltreatment can be defined as “any non-accidental physical or psychological harm caused by their parents or caregivers, which occurs as the result of physical, sexual or emotional acts or failure to act and which threatens children’s normal development, be it physical, psychological or emotional” (Martínez and De Paul, 1993). 19 Through the Global Campaign for Violence Prevention (2012-2020), WHO aims to raise awareness about the problem of violence and emphasize the crucial role that public health can play in addressing its causes and consequences, as well as promote prevention.


activity and substance abuse (Nagin, 1999). For this reason, a number of authors recommend that prevention efforts should be geared to preventing violence, intervening in the early years of life. As Benjamin Franklin (cited by Trilla, A. 2008) used to say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. This famous saying underpins all promotion and prevention programmes, which are characterized by actions that focus on developing together with other social identities. Because of this, people who do not suffer from violence such as intra-familial violence, are in a better position to develop fair and caring communities. We must, therefore, eliminate violence from socialization environments such as the family, and strengthen parents’ understanding regarding the scope of their duty in raising their children. To this end, a holistic child rights protection system requires that we begin by actively preventing all forms of violence and explicitly prohibiting them. This should include primary intervention aimed at society as a whole, as well as secondary intervention, which attempts to minimize risk factors, with the purpose of avoiding the occurrence of abuse. With the rights-based approach demanded by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, prevention is an essential part and pillar of the comprehensive protection of which children are recipients.20 It becomes an ethical choice and is imbued with values in relation to the type of society that people wish to be part of.

20 Comprehensive protection emerged in the legal world in 1989, as a result of the universal consensus that recognizes children as autonomous persons, with their own rights and responsibilities. It focuses on children’s influence inasmuch as they are capable of taking active action in the realization of their rights and demands compliance from those who have a duty to address their needs.


It is within this frame of reference that educational institutions are called upon to promote and protect the rights of children, in their capacity as social stakeholders, as established by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention demands that children be recognized as persons whose capacity, competence and acts are determining factors in the process of building social and cultural relations in society as a whole. In this task, the focus must be on the role of the family as the fundamental and basic unit of society. For this purpose, we must foster the joint responsibility of both parents regarding their duty to educate their children. It is imperative to continue to reinforce the prevention of maltreatment within the family, based on the seriousness of its consequences. It is possible to modify existing cultural patterns by transforming parenting models that are at the core of every affective relationship and, therefore, promoting respect for one another. Because of this, we consider it relevant to prepare parents through the design of training models that can provide them with the skills they need in order to cope with their task, which become strategies for the prevention of abuse. We thus propose implementing training for parents on the basis of experience, using episodes that have taken place in their own family life as the basic subject matter. In this model, training is carried out using a type of teaching whereby parents have the opportunity to become familiar with a wide variety of experiences that they can contrast with their own. This is achieved through sharing with other parents engaged in the same task, since between them all they can combine potential resources and skills that they will find extremely useful. The main thing is to generate a shared and negotiated process to reconstruct everyday knowledge on the basis of different family situations. 19

Aída Elia Fernández de los Campos PhD in Human Rights and Development from the Pablo de Olavide University in Seville, Spain. Master’s degree in Family Law from the Autonomous University of Bucaramanga (UNAB), Colombia. Doctor of Law and Social Science and Diplomacy from the University of the Republic, Uruguay. Full professor at the Faculty of Legal and Political Sciences of UNAB. Coordinator of the Specialization in Intra-Familial Violence: childhood and adolescence, and of the Master’s Degree in Prevention of Intra-Familial Abuse: childhood and adolescence (interdisciplinary programmes), UNAB.

Martha Eugenia Ortega Ortiz Master’s degree in Psychology and Specialist in Clinical Psychology from North University, Barranquilla, Colombia. Specialist in university teaching at the Cooperative University of Colombia, Bucaramanga Section. Associate professor at the Autonomous University of Bucaramanga, UNAB. Coordinator of the Specialization in Intra-Familial Violence: childhood and adolescence, and of the Master’s Degree in Prevention of Intra-Familial Abuse: childhood and adolescence (interdisciplinary programmes), UNAB.


In this way, we attempt to give rise in parents to a feeling of personal competence, rather than reliance on expert knowledge, since we recognize that parents have parenting theories, goals and practices that they deploy in their own family environment. As a result, parents should feel that they are active protagonists in their own training, and intervention should focus on the development of their feelings of confidence in their capacity to raise their children, avoiding any violation of their rights through behaviours that can lead to the physical and psychological abuse that is the object of this article. People who live together in mutual respect, equality and collaboration make democratic coexistence a reality which is shaped from the earliest years of life, as stated by Humberto Maturana (1995). In this way, we hope to move a step further in making child rights “a possible utopia�, to paraphrase sociologist Marco Marchioni (1994).


Sexual exploitation and trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation of children and adolescents: multiple human rights violation1 by Ana Oberlin Sexual exploitation2 and trafficking3 for purposes of sexual exploitation of children is, unfortunately, an extremely widespread criminal phenomenon in our region. Both forms of crime involve multiple impacts on rights that are protected both internally, in each of the Latin American States, and by regional and universal human rights protection systems. Despite this, it is still difficult to make those who have responsibility for the prevention, investigation and punishment of these illegal acts understand that we are dealing with human rights violations deployed in the context of patriarchal societies, in which children and teenagers are considered subordinate to and less important than adults.


1 This article is written in inclusive language [the original is in Spanish], in the belief that one of the most powerful capabilities of our language is to designate and that we must work to ensure that our language designates us and, therefore, includes us all [in Spanish, this involves the use of terms such as niñes rather than niños or niñas; and todes, rather than todos or todas]. 2 Paragraph 5 of the Stockholm Declaration defines commercial sexual exploitation of children as “sexual abuse by the adult and remuneration in cash or kind to the child or a third person or persons. The child is treated as a sexual object and as a commercial object. The commercial sexual exploitation of children constitutes a form of coercion and violence against children, and amounts to forced labour and a contemporary form of slavery.” 3 In its Article 3, the Palermo Protocol defines trafficking as: “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”

The principal rights that are affected when a child or teenager is sexually exploited are: the right to bodily integrity, to freedom, to dignity, to security, to decide regarding his or her own body, to personal autonomy and the right to live a life free from violence. To this we must add the fact that those who suffer4 this kind of criminal offence belong, almost entirely, to sectors that endure underlying prior and synchronous human rights violations, which can be summed up as a noncompliance of the right to “a life worth living”. In most cases, these children originate in contexts where poverty, exclusion and discrimination are prevalent, a characteristic of Latin American countries. The States have an obligation to safeguard not only civil and political rights, but also economic, social and cultural rights. This classic division between categories of rights was established and is used as a teaching approach, but all authors agree that human rights are interdependent and interrelated; indivisible and complementary. It is as a combined whole that they make up the necessary basis for the development of a person’s life project. Trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation and sexual exploitation of children obviously has an impact on their possibility of developing their life project. As taught by former judges of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Cançado Trindade and Abreu Burelli: A life project is inextricably linked to freedom, as each individual’s right to choose his or her own destiny. The Court has correctly conceptualized this in this decision, 4 I deliberately avoid using the term victim as I believe that referring thus to persons who have suffered violence restricts them to a fixed and passive position. As noted by Irene Comins-Mingol (2015, p. 5), citing Carmen Magallón, “A victimizing regard is not only simplistic but also reproduces the mentality that lies at the root of the victimizer’s thinking”.


when it warns that ‘a person can hardly be said to be truly free if he or she lacks the opportunity to guide his or her own existence and bring it to its natural conclusion. These options have, in themselves, a high existential value. Therefore, their cancellation or impairment entail an objective reduction of freedom and the loss of a value that cannot be ignored by this Court’5 In this respect, we should note that the principle of personal autonomy – combined with the principle of the inviolability of the human person, which is breached in these cases – not only requires non-interference, but also the possibility of being able to realize freely chosen life plans. Carlos Nino (1989) has explained that if an individual lacks the means to meet the life plan he or she has chosen, it is impossible to consider that he or she has been able to choose it and, therefore, the “choice” becomes ineffective. Placing centre-stage the idea that trafficking and sexual exploitation of children are violations of human rights has several notable implications. Among the most significant is the fact that human rights protection is mandatory for the States and they have the inescapable obligation to prevent violations. That is, States must work seriously to prevent them; repair them when they do occur (comprehensively and including non-repetition actions, eliminating the structural causes underlying these violations); and prosecute and punish those responsible with all means at their disposal and not as a “mere formality”, as has been said in numerous Inter-American Court of Human Rights precedents. In addition, as in any violation of human rights, whatever “consent” given by those who suffer it is of no regard, since 5 The reasoning of the judges in the judgement handed down by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, in the case of Loayza Tamayo v. Peru, para. 15.


human rights are inalienable and imprescriptible and nobody can “consent” to being the victim of human rights violations. Neither is it possible to “consent” to one’s own exploitation. While this is true in general terms, it is even more important when it involves the human rights of children whose rights have already been breached. Children and adolescents as special objects of protection Children have been the object of differentiated safeguards; that is, of special measures of protection, for nearly a century. This protection has been reflected in various international norms, such as the instruments adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) as from 1919, which regulated aspects such as night shifts for children, the protection of mothers and the minimum age for employment in industry, although this was done together with general issues related to adults. In 1924, the first declaration recognizing that children have specific rights was drafted: the “Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child”. This document refers exclusively to children and refers to adults’ responsibility regarding their well-being. However, this declaration, with only five simply-written articles in French, was never binding for the States. Nonetheless, it provided the starting point for the development of international regulations that determine that children should receive special protection. In its preamble, it explicitly states that “mankind owes to the Child the best that it has to give”. While perspectives have changed with the development of international human rights law and specific instruments on children (today it is inadmissible to consider them “objects of protection” as they were regarded for many years and


it is indisputable that they are rights holders and that their best interests must prevail), as from those earliest years, the existence of the State’s duty has been established in relation to preventing children from suffering violations of their human rights. Regarding the evolution of specific international law, it is indisputable that, at present, the principal instrument at our disposal is the Convention on the Rights of the Child (hereinafter CRC) of 1989. Much has been said and written about this Convention, which is often presented as a breaking point with the previous paradigm that governed these issues. However, Mary Beloff (2016, p. 6) states that: Contrary to settled opinion (‌) in Latin America, according to which the CRC represents a rupture, it is possible to state that it reflects the continuity which is characteristic of international human rights law and constitutes (‌) the ultimate and most complete expression of the right to special protection. The CRC is a milestone in a long legal and cultural process; the expression of a continuum in the history of legal protection of children, and not a break. This observation is not contested by the fact that, as a convention, this treaty implies a greater level of enforceability, in respect of previous non-conventional norms. To the contrary: just as in the case of other rights, a conventional norm was achieved which is almost universally accepted precisely because the necessary broad consensus already existed; which had been expressed in a considerable number of prior conventional and nonconventional norms regulating the same issues... In the sense that Beloff emphasizes regarding the continuity


of this guiding idea of protection, in our area, Article 19 of the American Convention on Human Rights of 1969 (many years before the CRC) is particularly significant and stipulates that: “Every minor child has the right to the measures of protection required by his condition as a minor on the part of his family, society, and the state.” The Protocol of San Salvador of 1988 expresses this in the same terms. Regarding this article, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has indicated that “This provision must be construed as an added right which the Convention establishes for those who, because of their physical and emotional development, require special protection”.6 In addition, the same Court has highlighted the obligation of States to comply with the duty of investigation when confronted by human rights violations: The Court has established that one of the conditions to effectively guarantee the rights to life, humane treatment, and personal liberty is the compliance with the duty to investigate the violations to the same, which derive from Article 1(1) of the Convention, along with the substantive right that must be protected, or guaranteed. [At the][In] light of this duty, once the state authorities become aware of the fact, they must begin a serious, impartial, and effective investigation ex officio and without delay. This investigation must be carried out through all legal means available and oriented to the determination of the truth and the investigation, persecution, capture, prosecution, and in its case, punishment of all those responsible for the facts.7 6 I/A Court H.R., Juridical Condition and Human Rights of the Child. OC-17/02 and Case of the “Juvenile Reeducation Institute” v. Paraguay, judgement of 2 September 2004, para. 147, inter alia. 7 I/A Court H.R., Case of Servellón-García et al. v. Honduras, judgement of 21


This obligation is strengthened when we are faced with certain groups, which, for a variety of reasons – age, gender, physical or mental condition, or social, economic or cultural circumstances – encounter greater difficulty in defending their rights effectively. Also in the Case of Servellón-García et al. v. Honduras, in para. 154, the I/A Court H.R. determines that “the State has the obligation to fight impunity by all available legal means, since it promotes the chronic[le] repetition of violations to human rights and the complete defencelessness of the victims and their next of kin. That obligation to fight impunity is emphasized when dealing with violations whose victims are children.” Specific protection related to sexual exploitation and trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation of children In the previous section, we outlined briefly how the duty of the State is established in our area, to protect children particularly from any violations of their human rights that they might suffer. In this heading, we shall refer to the main instruments that protect children from trafficking with the purpose of sexual exploitation and from sexual exploitation. The Convention on the Rights of the Child stipulates that its States Parties must adopt comprehensive measures (legislative, administrative, social, educational) to protect children from all forms of maltreatment or exploitation, even while in the care of parents, legal guardians or any other person who has the care of the child (Article 19, para. 1). In particular, it emphasizes that States must “undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse”, adopting “national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent” their inclusion September 2006, para. 119.


“in any unlawful sexual activity”, prostitution or other unlawful sexual practices and exploitation through pornography (Article 34). In addition, also significant in this field are the Declarations arising from the two World Congresses against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (Stockholm, 1996 and Yokohama, 2001) and the Rio de Janeiro Pact to Prevent and Stop Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents, arising from the Third Congress (2008); the Protocol on the Prevention, Repression and Punishment of Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the

Ana Oberlin Ana Oberlin is a lawyer specializing in human rights, gender issues and criminal law and holds a master’s degree in human rights. She served as National Director of Legal Affairs in the field of Human Rights, at the Human Rights Secretariat of Argentina and acted as legal advisor for Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, H.I.J.O.S. and numerous victims of State terrorism and of institutional violence. She has spoken at numerous national and international conferences on her fields of specialization and has written a number of articles on these subjects. Currently, she is part of the Aid Unit for cases of human rights violations during the period of State terrorism in the jurisdiction of Rosario, with the Office of the Public Prosecutor, and serves as ad hoc prosecutor for one of the oral trials involving crimes against humanity, in which the Unit takes part.


United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (Palermo Protocol, 2000); the Optional Protocol to the CRC on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography; the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and its Optional Protocol; the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (Belem do Pará Convention); and the contents of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. All of these treaties (only the most prominent are included here) contain provisions that constitute a system of broad and solid protection for children and adolescents from sexual exploitation and trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation. Sexual exploitation and trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation as one of the forms of violence in our societies Another key aspect to keep in mind is that sexual exploitation and trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation are part of the daily violence visited upon children and adolescents within patriarchal and capitalist societies. In these regions, the bodies of children, as well as of those who assume nonheteronormative gender identities and those of women, are presented as objects, as commercial goods. As such, they are usable, consumable, disposable and available to adult males. Rita Segato (2018) analyses violence by sexual means – and sexual exploitation and trafficking for such purposes are part of this – and shows that these are predatory acts of appropriation and consumption of the body. This objectification is accentuated when those who suffer these crimes are children; particularly if, in addition, they come from poverty, exclusion and discrimination.


To this is added the fact that laws in Latin America are still mostly adult-androcentrist. Despite efforts to present it as “neutral”, criminal law, in particular, has been thought out, designed and applied with a main focus on adult males. Our criminal systems tend to make invisible the experiences that children and women suffer and there is obvious difficulty in incorporating an approach that includes human rights, gender and generations in the actions and resolutions of judicial operators. In this context, aberrant practices such as trafficking and sexual exploitation of children are socially naturalized, justified and made invisible. And, in turn, these conceptions enable these practices to be easily reproduced and, in a way, promoted by society. Ambiguity is evident in the messages: on the one hand, they proclaim the need for child protection, and on the other, children continue to be exhibited as “objects of desire and consumption” for the adult world in advertising and audiovisual media (series, soaps, films), in addition to their being used directly in images for the consumption of paedophiles. In this context, those who undergo these events are frequently made to bear the blame. It is common – even from judicial operators who are supposed to investigate these cases, or members of the executive branch who should prevent them – to hear that an adolescent is sexually exploited because “she likes it”, or that she accepts it “because she’s looking for an easy way out”. Underlying these statements are notions that result in shifting the blame to children and adolescents and hiding the responsibility of adult exploiters and traffickers. Even the use of terms such as “child prostitution” or “teen prostitution” is a new form of invisibility: we are referring to sexual exploitation by adults who use the bodies of children and teenagers as merchandise, not prostitution. It is a form of


modern slavery and those who engage in it are exploiters of people who are at a serious disadvantage owing to their age, social status and, very often, other, attendant factors such as their immigration status. In conclusion Further work is needed so that those who have responsibility to prevent, investigate and punish sexual exploitation and trafficking for such purposes of children and adolescents become aware that these are human rights violations committed in the context of patriarchal societies with asymmetrical power relations between men and women, but also between adults and children, with these last at an obvious disadvantage. This subordination has consequences that cannot be passed by when analysing what happens when they suffer crimes such as those described here, or when evaluating the need for efficient prevention policies. The answers provided by the State must be based on this point in order to cease the perpetuation of these forms of violence. In addition, it is vital to continue discussing these matters socially, in order to break away from the naturalization of these practices and modify the high degree of acceptance they have in our countries. We should even rethink the way we refer to these forms of violence, since the terms we use are not anodyne and may end up strengthening, in a kind of malevolent circle, the distorting ways of looking upon these criminal offences. Working on these issues involves not only improving what happens to children today, but also ensuring a fairer, more inclusive future which is ultimately more human for all.


List of References: Antony, Carmen, 2017, “Hacia una criminología feminista. Violencia, androcentrismo, justicia y derechos humanos”, Autonomous City of Buenos Aires: Punto de Encuentro. Beloff, Mary, 2016, “El derecho de los niños a una protección especial en el sistema interamericano”, Mimeo, unpublished. Comins Mingol, Irene, 2015, “De víctimas a sobrevivientes: la fuerza poiética y resiliente del cuidar”, Convergencia Revista de Ciencias Sociales, [S.l.], Issue Nº 67, Jan. 2015. ISSN 2448-5799. Available from: https:// convergencia.uaemex.mx/article/view/2181. Comité Nacional para la Erradicación de la Explotación Sexual, Comercial y no Comercial de la niñez y Adolescencia (CONAPEES) [National Committee on the Eradication of Commercial and Non-Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children], “II National Plan 2016-2021, 100 actions agreed”. Dilacio, Graciela, Giorgi, Víctor, Varela, Carlos, 2012, “Las representaciones sociales acerca de la Explotación Sexual Comercial de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes y su relación con los paradigmas vigentes en el campo de la infancia y la adolescencia”. Psicología, Conocimiento y Sociedad. Available from: http://www.redalyc.org/pdf/4758/475847407008.pdf Hendel, Liliana, 2017, “Violencias de género. Las mentiras del patriarcado”, Buenos Aires: Paidós. Nino, Carlos Santiago,1989, “Ética y Derechos Humanos”, Buenos Aires: Astrea. Segato, Rita, 2014, “El sexo y la norma: frente estatal, patriarcado, desposesión, colonidad”, Revista Estudios Feministas. Available from: http://www.redalyc.org/pdf/381/38131661012.pdf ___________, 2018, “Contrapedagogías de la crueldad”, Autonomous City of Buenos Aires: Prometeo libros. -Purtscher, Luis et al., 2014, “Un secreto a voces”. Available from: http:// www.adasu.org/prod/1/330/Libro:.Un.Secreto.a.Voces


Well treatment and prevention of violence in the home and family setting from a regional perspective by Javier Palummo Introduction The duty to respect and ensure respect for human rights includes the domain of the private family, and does not admit arguments based on a dichotomy between the public and private spheres that would tend to ignore or place unjustified restrictions on human rights.1 In fact, States may also be held responsible for private acts before the international community, if they do not adopt, with due diligence, measures to prevent violations of rights or to investigate and punish acts of violence and to compensate the victims. In this context, obligations are not reduced to the prohibition of behaviours through internal regulations, but include the need to take all necessary measures to prevent violence, protect victims, punish the aggressors and address the structural causes of violence, among other aspects. A comprehensive approach to the obligations incumbent on States in relation to violence against children in the home and family spheres exceeds the objectives of this article. We should, however, refer to the work carried out by both the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, as well as 1 IACHR, Report on Corporal Punishment and Human Rights of Children and Adolescents, OAS/Ser.L/V/II.135., Doc. 14, 5 August 2009, paragraphs 69, 70 and 74.


by the Inter-American system’s bodies for the protection of human rights in relation to these issues. Most particularly, we should bear in mind the recommendations made in the Report of the Independent Expert for the United Nations study on violence against children and the work of the Office of the Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on violence against children.2 The Committee on the Rights of the Child has stated in the strongest terms that child protection must begin with proactive prevention of all forms of violence as well as explicitly prohibit all forms of violence. The Committee added that States have the obligation to adopt all measures necessary to ensure that adults responsible for the care, guidance and upbringing of children will respect and protect children’s rights. Prevention includes public health and other measures to positively promote respectful child-rearing, free from violence, for all children, and to target the root causes of violence at the levels of the child, family, perpetrator, community, institution and society.3 In addition, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has stated that “The prevention strategy should also be 2 See in this respect the standards developed in: Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment No. 13, The right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence, CRC/C/GC/13, 18 April 2011. Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Case of González et al. (“Cotton Field”) v. Mexico. Preliminary Objection, Merits, Reparations and Costs. Judgement of 16 November 2009. Series C No. 205. IACHR, Report on Corporal Punishment and Human Rights of Children and Adolescents, OAS/Ser.L/V/II.135., Doc. 14, 5 August 2009. Report of the Independent Expert for the United Nations study on violence against children, 29 August 2006, A/61/299. Committee on the Rights of the Child, United Nations, General Comment No. 8, The Right of the Child to Protection from Corporal Punishment and Other Cruel or Degrading Forms of Punishment (Article 19, Article 28, paragraph 2 and Article 37, among others), CRC/C/GC/8, 21 August 2006. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, General Recommendation 19: Violence against women, 11th session, 1992. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, General Recommendation 35 on gender-based violence against women, updating General Recommendation No. 19. (CEDAW/C/ GC/35), July 2017, amongst other documents. 3 Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment No. 13, The right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence, CRC/C/GC/13, 18 April 2011, par. 46. Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, guideline 32.


comprehensive; in other words, it should prevent the risk factors and, at the same time, strengthen the institutions that can provide an effective response”.4 The importance has been stressed of implementing measures that tend to “promote physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of” violence, “in an environment which fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the child.”5 According to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, “Medical, mental health, social and legal services and support may be required for children upon identification of abuse, as well as longer-term follow-up services. A full range of services, including family group conferencing and other similar practices, should be made available. Services and treatment for perpetrators of violence, especially child perpetrators, are also needed.”6 The Handbook on Justice in Matters involving Child Victims and Witnesses of Crime for Professionals and Policymakers states that “[u]pon the disclosure of offences committed against children, removing the child from his or her surroundings and providing alternative care is one measure that can prevent further victimization. However, this should only be a measure of last resort and institutionalization should be avoided. Alternative care should always favour solutions within the family setting.”7 4 Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Case of González et al. (“Cotton Field”) v. Mexico. Preliminary Objection, Merits, Reparations and Costs. Judgement of 16 November 2009. Series C, No. 205, par. 258. 5 CRC, Article 39. 6 Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment No. 13, The right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence, CRC/C/GC/13, 18 April 2011, par. 52. 7 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Handbook on Justice in Matters involving Child Victims and Witnesses of Crime for Professionals and Policymakers, Criminal Justice Handbook Series, New York, 2010, p. 105. See also: Guidelines on justice in matters involving child victims and witnesses of crime, adopted by the Economic and Social Council in its resolution 2005/20 of 22 July 2005; see guideline 34. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Justice in Matters involving Child Victims and Witnesses of Crime. Model Law and Commentary, New York, 2009, p. 14 (Article 11 of the Model Law).


Violence against girls: special obligations of protection International human rights law has recognized the existence of a special duty of due diligence in prevention and protection of women victims of violence, including girls. In this regard, the Belém do Para Convention defines violence against women and establishes the obligation of States to be duly diligent to prevent, punish and eradicate such violence. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has stated that “the State must pay special attention to the needs and rights of the alleged victims owing to their condition as girls who, as women, belong to a vulnerable group”.8 In this aspect, it is important to consider the intersectionality of other discriminatory variables, such as race, ethnicity, sexual diversity, disability and poverty, which can operate simultaneously.9 Girls may be more vulnerable to violence owing to their race or status as members of an ethnic group, migrants, refugees or displaced persons, socio-economic situation or other factors.10 As we shall see below, girls are more highly vulnerable to certain forms of violence and this must be taken into account by the protection systems.

8 Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Case of González et al. (“Cotton Field”) v. Mexico. Preliminary Objection, Merits, Reparations and Costs. Judgement of 16 November 2009. Series C, No. 205, par. 408. 9 In relation to the concept of intersectionality see: Mercosur Institute of Public Policies on Human Rights, preliminary inputs for the discussion of an Inter-American Convention on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Older Persons. Meeting of the Working Group on Protection of the Human Rights of Older Persons of the Organization of American States, Washington, D.C., 22 February 2012. IACHR, The Situation of Persons of African Descent in the Americas, OAS/Ser.L/V/II, Doc. 62, 5 December 2011, par. 60. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, General Recommendation 28 on the core obligations of States parties under article 2 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 19 October 2010, par. 18. 10 MESECVI, Third Hemispheric Report on the Implementation of the Belém do Pará Convention. Prevention of violence against women in the Americas: Paths to follow. OAS/Ser.L/II, Washington D.C., 2017, p.18.


Legal frameworks for protection against violence in the countries of the region The States in the region tend to have two specific bodies of law applicable to situations involving violence in the home and the family, from the perspective of prevention and protection of child and adolescent victims.11 On the one hand, it is possible to identify specific laws aimed at protecting children, such as Children’s Statutes or comprehensive child protection laws, amongst the several terms that are usually used when referring to these laws.12 On the other hand, there are specific laws aimed at addressing domestic or family violence, as well as other laws specializing in gender-based violence or violence against women.13 In many cases, these laws establish different processes and measures, within the framework of protection systems that are also differentiated. In general, the obligation of child protection from violence in home and family settings is not addressed through a single law and a single protection system; these are situations which are sometimes covered by more than one regulatory framework. This has led to the claim that in the region there is a child protection and care system that is primarily intended to address a number of issues usually associated with poverty and neglect, but not relating to the specific issue of violence.14 11 Responses to acts of criminal violence against children are not included in the analysis. 12 Different countries use a variety of names for both type of laws. In general terms, statutes related to childhood and adolescence include child rights protection, but also regulate other aspects, such as, for example, juvenile criminal justice. There are some countries that have passed specific laws on the subject of child and adolescent protection. 13 With regard to the evolution of laws in the region see: MESECVI, Second Hemispheric Report on the Implementation of the Belém do Pará Convention, OAS/Ser.L, Washington, D.C., 2012. MESECVI, Third Hemispheric Report on the Implementation of the Belém do Pará Convention. Prevention of violence against women in the Americas: Paths to follow. OAS/Ser.L/II, Washington D.C., 2017. 14 In relation to the importance of poverty as a trigger for the intervention of the protection system and institutionalization see: Palummo, Javier, La situación de niños, niñas y adolescentes en las instituciones de protección y cuidado de América Latina y el Caribe, United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF, Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, Panama, 2013. IACHR, The Right of Boys and Girls to a Family. Alternative Care. Ending Institutionalization in the Americas, OAS/Ser.L/V/II. Doc.54/13, 17 October 2013.


The documentation generated in the region enables us to confirm that the subject, in addition to being relevant in a universal and Inter-American scope, has been very much on the agenda of the MERCOSUR’s countries and work. In this respect, we are able to identify progress as well as challenges.

Javier Palummo Lawyer with a doctoral degree in Political and Social Science, a master’s degree in Public Policies and Child Rights from the University of the Republic of Uruguay, and with specializations in child rights and women’s rights. He has engaged in postgraduate studies at Sweden’s Raoul Wallenberg Institute, Peru’s Pontifical Catholic University, the University of Chile, the Diego Portales University and the National University of Lanús. He has also served as a specialist consultant for international organizations such as the IACHR, UNICEF, UNDP, ILO, IDB, UN Women and others. He is currently the Director of Research and Information Management of the MERCOSUR Institute of Public Policies on Human Rights (IPPDH) and is responsible for directing the IPPDH’s International School of Public Policy on Human Rights.


A Policy to Promote Well Treatment and Prevention of Violence in MERCOSUR In the context of the work carried out by the Standing Committee for the Niñ@Sur Initiative of the Meeting of High Level Authorities in Human Rights and Ministries of Foreign Affairs of MERCOSUR (RAADH), guidelines have been developed and adopted for a policy to promote well treatment and prevention of violence as a safeguard of the human rights of children and adolescents in the MERCOSUR.15 These Guidelines aim to strengthen regional human rights public policy frameworks, and constitute a tool to be used by persons responsible for devising, implementing and evaluating public policies to promote and safeguard child rights. The document has been prepared in a participatory manner, and has benefited from the encouragement of States, civil society organizations, coalitions and movements in the region, and children and youth who took part in the consultation mechanisms. The document resulting from this process takes into account the different settings in which violence against children occurs: home and family, schools and other educational settings; protection and judicial institutions; cross-border situations; and online settings are some of the areas addressed specifically.16 15 In 2013, at the meeting of the Standing Committee for the Niñ@Sur Initiative, the States requested the support of the IPPDH in order to produce a tool to evaluate and systematize the public policies related to the United Nations Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children, and to develop mechanisms for the consolidation of data with respect to the development and implementation of regional policies. On the basis of the Niñ@Sur Standing Committee’s proposal, the CMC (Common Market Council) entrusted the drafting of these guidelines to the committee, with technical support from the Institute of Public Policies on Human Rights (IPPDH). 16 The full text of the guidelines may be consulted at: http://www.raadh.mercosur.int/wpdm-package/r30-br-17-cpninosur_anexo-6-1-directrices-buenos-tratosfinal/?wpdmdl=5526.


The main strategic focal points guiding the regional policy for the Promotion of Well Treatment and Prevention of Violence to Safeguard Children’s Human Rights reflect the recommendations of the report of the United Nations Independent Expert for the Study on Violence against Children, the inputs of the United Nations system’s specialized agencies, civil society organizations, networks and movements, as well as those received from children and youth. In particular, a key consideration has been to fulfil international commitments and obligations in instruments for the planning of public policies and programmes with a long-term vision; the incorporation of effective implementation and application measures for the prohibition of all forms of violence; and the prioritization of measures for prevention and the promotion of a culture of respect for human rights. The response to situations involving violence is considered in the context of the operation of comprehensive child protection systems that bear in mind the gender approach and, in addition, that are equipped with means of reporting, accessible and appropriate social and legal services that ensure security, confidentiality and accessibility, as well as with adequate economic, technical and human resources.17 Child and youth participation, as well as the establishment of national systems for data compilation and systematic analysis are also fundamental aspects of this public policy. The lack of updated, disaggregated and comparable data that make it possible to understand the magnitude and consequences of violence in the lives of children and adolescents is an aspect that has repeatedly been explicitly pointed out in diagnoses of this phenomenon. 17 The identification and development of special care measures for working with children with disabilities, migrants, refugees, stateless children, displaced children, unaccompanied children and other specific groups, has also been raised as a key aspect of the public policy.


The design, implementation and evaluation of measures focusing on the family, for the protection and welfare of children deprived of parental care, or at risk of being deprived of it, are essential, in accordance with the standards of international human rights law. But in addition, according to the Guidelines, public policy should consider working with the media and strengthening the capabilities of all professionals and non-professionals who work with children.

Final considerations: moving towards a regional plan for the promotion of well treatment and prevention of violence The Guidelines establish MERCOSUR’s commitment to designing a Regional Plan for the Promotion of Well Treatment and Prevention of Violence, based on the regional coordination and cooperation of national public policies and the development of an integrated strategy for child protection against violence, understood as a systemic framework which integrates national child rights promotion and protection policies, developed by means of a participatory process and supported by monitoring and follow-up mechanisms. The process for designing the plan will be participatory and collaborative and shall take place through public and/or specific consultations with civil society organizations, the private sector, international organizations and children and adolescents themselves. The Regional Plan will extend from 2018 to 2023. In order to produce it, objectives, strategic priorities and targets agreed by MERCOSUR States Parties and Associate members will be determined, according to the criteria established by the Guidelines and the progress achieved by countries in the region. In the context of this plan, a follow-up mechanism will be set up, with the purpose of gauging the implementation of the Guidelines and the state 42

of compliance with the commitments undertaken by the States through the regional plan. In line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the work of the Office of the Representative of the UN Secretary General on Violence against Children, the follow-up mechanism for the Regional Plan shall include a set of indicators on children’s exposure to sexual, physical and emotional violence. The MERCOSUR countries have made significant progress in terms of adapting their national legislative frameworks to the standards and principles established by international law, as the prohibition of corporal punishment in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay clearly indicates. The work undertaken in relation to the Guidelines involves translating the commitments arising from international instruments into public policies. The achievement of public policies guided by principles in line with international standards, with specific plans and targets for the short, mid and long term, with indicators that shed light on the magnitude and dimensions of violence against children and adolescents, and strategies designed for the coordination of a comprehensive response amongst different government agencies within the framework of the creation of comprehensive protection systems appears as a necessary and possible horizon.


List of References: Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, General Recommendation 19: Violence against women, 11th session, 1992. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, General Recommendation 28 on the core obligations of States parties under article 2 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 19 October 2010. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, General Recommendation 35 on gender-based violence against women, updating General Recommendation No. 19. (CEDAW/C/GC/35), July 2017. Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment No. 13, The right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence, CRC/C/GC/13, 18 April 2011. Committee on the Rights of the Child, United Nations, General Comment No. 8, The Right of the Child to Protection from Corporal Punishment and Other Cruel or Degrading Forms of Punishment (Article 19, Article 28, paragraph 2 and Article 37, amongst others), CRC/C/GC/8, 21 August 2006. IACHR, Report on Corporal Punishment and Human Rights of Children and Adolescents, OAS/Ser.L/V/II.135., Doc. 14, 5 August 2009. IACHR, The Right of Boys and Girls to a Family. Alternative Care. Ending Institutionalization in the Americas, OAS/Ser.L/V/II. Doc.54/13, 17 October 2013. IACHR, The Situation of Persons of African Descent in the Americas, OAS/ Ser.L/V/II, Doc. 62, 5 December 2011. Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Case of González et al. (“Cotton Field”) v. Mexico. Preliminary Objection, Merits, Reparations and Costs. Judgement of 16 November 2009. Series C No. 205. MERCOSUR Institute of Public Policies on Human Rights (IPPDH), preliminary inputs for the discussion of an Inter-American Convention on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Older Persons. Meeting of the Working Group on Protection of the Human Rights of Older Persons of the Organization of American States, Washington, D.C., 22 February 2012. MESECVI, Second Hemispheric Report on the Implementation of the Belém do Pará Convention, OAS/Ser.L, Washington, D.C., 2012.


MESECVI, Third Hemispheric Report on the Implementation of the Belém do Pará Convention. Prevention of violence against women in the Americas: Paths to follow. OAS/Ser.L/II, Washington D.C., 2017. Palummo, Javier, La situación de niños, niñas y adolescentes en las instituciones de protección y cuidado de América Latina y el Caribe, United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF, Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, Panama, 2013. UN, Guidelines on justice in matters involving child victims and witnesses of crime, adopted by the Economic and Social Council in its resolution 2005/20 of 22 July 2005. UN, Report of the independent expert for the United Nations study on violence against children, 29 August 2006, A/61/299. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Handbook on Justice in Matters involving Child Victims and Witnesses of Crime for Professionals and Policymakers, Criminal Justice Handbook Series, New York, 2010. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Justice in Matters involving Child Victims and Witnesses of Crime. Model Law and Related Commentary, New York, 2009.


Tensions and contradictions in adolescent participation in urban fringe communities1 by Cecilia Varela and Arturo Latorre “If history is an endless dialogue between present and past, we could say that children are the nerve centre where the subjectivity of the present is deposited, accumulating love, contempt, neglect, poverty, indifference, solitude; direct or indirect abuse from the world of adults, from those who make history (a history that intervenes them; shaping, risking and challenging them at an early age), and which settles, becoming an almost imperceptible footprint, but with the intensity of a firebrand. And it is on the basis of this that a subterranean dialogue begins to be woven between that past and this present; an invisible dialogue,so often deaf and mute to adults.” Silvia Aguilera, in “Ser niño huacho en la historia de Chile”.

Introduction This article seeks to contribute to thinking on community programmes that promote adolescent participation as a right in marginalized urban contexts, and the tensions that arise between formal education centres, regulatory frameworks and existing public policies at central levels. 1 Authors: Cecilia Varela, licentiate degree in Social Work and Arturo Latorre, master’s degree in Social Psychology Santiago, Chile, September 2018.


We believe that addressing teen participation in marginalized areas requires adopting a position with regard to at least two aspects. The first is in relation to taking the rights-based approach as a guiding framework. Participation should be seen as a “form” of undertaking change. The second aspect is related to a way of looking at the urban fringes of big cities such as Santiago, which is where these adolescents must live. The material, political and symbolic complexities that they face on a daily basis establish specific opportunities for subjectivation, recognition and the full exercise of rights by children and adolescents. We shall begin by providing some data on the territory where the Tregua Community Programme is active, in order to show the intricate nature of that reality, and then we shall describe the actions carried out by the Tregua Programme. To conclude, we shall refer to some of the tensions and contradictions that adolescents manifest in the exercise of different forms of participation.

El Castillo-Comuna de la Pintana Territory “...they call us criminals and tell us to go to hell (and I’m the violent one?), violent are your fucking bundles of money, which are suffering and death for working people. And where does violence begin? It begins from the moment we are born in these ghettos of impotence, in the absence of any opportunities; true violence is the city where it happens.” Portavoz (with Subverso) - Donde Empieza [Where it begins]


We shall now put briefly into context a territory located on the outskirts of Santiago de Chile, in order to give an idea of the social-community intervention experience. There is no doubt that this territory displays “fibres” that criss-cross any territory located on the fringes of large Latin American cities. The challenge is to activate the structural connections that put the lives of children and adolescents at risk, restricting and infringing upon the necessary conditions for the full exercise of rights. The El Castillo sector in the township of La Pintana was established 35 years ago as part of the policies of forced eradication of land that occurred during the military dictatorship in the early eighties. After more than three decades of democratic government, this is still a territory with a high concentration of urban poverty, occupying the lowest levels in the material and symbolic scale as related to the territories. This is the township with the highest (42.4%) percentage of residents living in multidimensional poverty (Casen 20152) in the metropolitan region (21 percentage points above the regional percentage) and with the lowest scores in the Quality of Urban Living Index (ICVU, acronym in Spanish, 20183) of the 93 townships with the highest number of inhabitants in Chile. According to Pérez Aguirre (2001), we must ask ourselves about the “key” and/or “from what point” do we work on behalf of human rights in the territories. We need to look at the world “from” the territory and “with” the adolescents who live there, in order to be able to refer to and measure what they experience on a daily basis.

2https://www.gobiernosantiago.cl/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/DOCUMENTOPOBREZAY-DISTR-ING-RMS-CASEN-2015.pdf 3 http://estudiosurbanos.uc.cl/images/investigaciones/Arturo_Orellana/ ICVU_2018/20180508_ICVU_2018_-_Version_Definitiva.pdf


Cecilia Varela She holds a licentiate degree in Social Work from the University of the Republic of Uruguay and a diploma in Childhood and Public Policy from the University of Chile. She has worked for more than 12 years in various community intervention projects, with an emphasis on promoting the rights of children in violent settings. These activities have taken place in a number of countries such as Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. She has also engaged in research with a focus on the promotion of rights and social and communitybased interventions. She was a member of the coordinating team of the Southern Cone Office of the Marist Foundation for International Solidarity (FMSI), in representation of Uruguay. At present, she serves as coordinator for the Tregua Programme of the Gesta Foundation that is implemented in the southern area of Santiago, Chile.

Arturo Latorre He graduated as a civil engineer from the Catholic University of Chile and holds a master’s degree (c) in Social Psychology from the Alberto Hurtado University. For over fifteen years, he has taken part in a number of projects on behalf of children and youth in the El Castillo de La Pintana sector in the southern urban fringes of Santiago. Currently, he serves as executive secretary of the Gesta-Marist Foundation for Solidarity. He was also a member of the technical team during the establishment of Chile’s Childhood and Adolescence Observatory. He has participated in various initiatives for the promotion of participation and youth organization in the fringe territories, both in schools and in neighbourhoods.


One significant key to help position ourselves is related to the different forms of violence to be found there. Understanding and giving name to these different forms of violence will be necessary both for those of us who enter into these territories, as well as to make it easier for adolescents to classify and understand the situations that they experience. According to Galtung (1995) and Bourgois (2009) we must consider at least four forms of violence: factual violence, structural violence, cultural or symbolic violence and standardized violence. In addition, certain forms of violence must be considered part of the usual “repertoire”, frequently practised and learnt in everyday experiences, and handled as a resource with which to cope with difficulties that arise (Auyero & Berti, 2013). In his Pascalian Meditations,4 Bourdieu refers to the existence of a law of conservation of violence, establishing links between structural violence exerted by the financial markets or standardized by social security; daily violence such as suicide, crime, substance abuse or alcoholism. This is a good point at which to position ourselves within the territory, assuming that what we perceive as everyday violence is no more than the consequence of multiple forms of structural violence. Another focus for an observation of the features of the territories is based on so-called advanced urban marginality (Wacquant, 2013), which enables us to analyse a number of the territories’ characteristics and their possible structural links. As constituent elements of this marginalization, we should mention: job instability, family lives affected by destabilizing events (murders, crippling disease, fires, imprisonment of family members or expulsion from the school system), territorial stigmatization, the lack of positive identification on the part of the territories’ inhabitants, the absence of 4 Cited by Javier Auyero in his prologue for the book Parias Urbanos by Loïc Wacquant (2001).


local support networks and the disappearance of a sense of collective identity and the categories of belonging. A final key to help us situate and understand these realities is related to study areas involving the young people of these territories, who live in a state of constant tension, uncertainty and deprivation of different kinds (Duarte 2001, in Muñoz, Durán and Thayer 2014). Poverty tends to be linked to exclusion and economic deprivation, but we should also pay attention to the daily cultural experience of these social inequities; that is, in relation to the production of “worlds” in which certain modes of being young in society are experienced and projected (Muñoz, Durán and Thayer, 2014).

The participation experience of the Tregua Community Programme “The main problem we are working on is related to the violence that we see all the time, to its standardization. We don’t want boys and girls to become accustomed to violence, we must make them aware of their rights in order to generate a change in culture.” 16-year-old programme participant

The Tregua Community Programme seeks to restore the rights of children who face different forms of violence on a daily basis. It was promoted by a non-governmental organization, Gesta-Marist Solidarity Foundation and was established in 2011, in response to the murder of a 10-year-old child, which occurred in El Castillo, in 2009. As a result of the community diagnosis made in 2011, the children, teenagers and adults stated that violence in its different forms was the central issue affecting the daily life of the territory. They further noted as a


guideline that actions should be promotional and preventive, as a way to energize and recognize the capabilities of children and youth in exercising their rights, with an emphasis on the generation of family and community resources for protection. As a central element they recommended fostering adolescent and youth participation (as content, strategy and focal point of Tregua’s actions, for it to become a “community tool”). The following four suggestions were used to make this participation a reality: ● Structured participation opportunities: where adolescents are invited to take part as collaborators in a proposal that is previously structured and guided by an educator who is ultimately responsible for the proposals. Amongst these we include community libraries, urban colonies and public area recovery opportunities (“going out to the public square”). ● Training and reflection opportunities: structured and semi-structured occasions, in which adolescents and young people reflect on their experiences and acquire new tools to aid understanding, critical analysis and action. The semistructured opportunities include evaluations and planning of the various actions. The structured opportunities include a School for Rights Promoters, a volunteering course, territorial discussions, seminars and other training sessions that are organized throughout the year. ● Creative opportunities: educational projects that promote creation in its various manifestations, whether in the world of art, or in social projects to help others. Artistic creation projects take place with the guidance of a number of cultural mediators; for example, a social circus school, breakdancing, partnerships with song and music groups. The design and implementation of social projects 52

are also facilitated by means of the “Zero Indifference” Competitive Fund, which sets solidarity actions in motion within the territory, with the support of the Gesta-Marist Foundation’s fund for financing youth initiatives. ● Organization and autonomy opportunities: these involve the implementation of different lines of facilitation and counselling for organization and advocacy in different youth groups. These groups gradually take on greater levels of autonomy and self-organization, which involves designing new demands for analysis and action. Facilitation consists in providing training opportunities according to topics of interest, along with advice on applying to various funding bodies, with the legal entity developed by each group. Triggering and maintaining the various opportunities described is possible by means of three cross-cutting “keys” for training and facilitating processes with adolescents and young people as advocates of rights. This line of training was designed with a view to its situation in territories of extreme violence and stigmatization, with a firm belief in the capabilities and resources of adolescents and their communities. For this reason, we have developed three closely related and crosscutting methodological focal points, with the purpose of facilitating activation in defence of and daily struggle on behalf of the human rights of children and adolescents. 1) Emotional activation. This addresses aspects of the emotional world, with personal, family and community stories and experiences. Based on experiences of injury, violence and stigmatization, we discover the collective emotional footprint in order to redefine the role of each individual as promoter of child rights in the various participation venues. The formation of groups


provides emotional support to accompany and sustain the process. 2) Critical activation. This entails facilitating discussion and sharing experience both within the group and with other collectives, providing the opportunity to reflect critically upon and deconstruct criteria, in order to identify relational keys and promote relationships with children that respect and promote their rights. This focal point involves activating critical frameworks in order to understand the reality experienced every day under better political, economic and cultural conditions. 3) Activation for action. This includes conceptual and practical tools to set in motion various awarenessraising initiatives and promote child rights. It is the focal point for learning techniques and methodologies that will make it possible to engage in actions to transform their surroundings. The three methodological focal points are activated interrelatedly, encouraging collective growth and strengthening, for action and reflection. In this regard we can cite the contributions of Restrepo (1994) who stated that in order to understand and promote affection, it is necessary not only to address loving and caring dimensions, but also to foster a visceral rejection of all forms of violence. It is necessary, in this respect, to educate in the emotional, corporal and intellectual understanding of the different forms of violence. One of the most noteworthy aspects of interventions with adolescents on the basis of this paradigm is their emotional activation based on the construction of solidarity and building areas of trust. These bonds of trust arise from intra-generation relationships, as well as cross-generational relationships with 54

the adults who facilitate these processes. Trust is underpinned by a recognition of capabilities and the facilitation of organization, where decision-making becomes autonomous. Training processes thus become the aim in the exercise of participation as a continuous process involving discussion, information-sharing and joint decision-making. Save the Children has worked on these issues very rigorously, returning to the idea of “child-youth protagonism”, noting that in addition to the right to the free expression of opinions, thought, feelings and needs, their points of view should be taken into account and must influence decisions. This means that they become democratically involved by their families, schools, local governments, the media, and governmental and non-governmental organizations. Without a doubt, these aspects represent challenges pending in the field of democratic participation in how this society is shaped. Alejandro Cussianovich (2001) provides elements that enable us to bring our practices into question and adjust them, noting that “...protagonism is definitely not just a conceptual proposal, but possesses inherent political, social, cultural, ethical and spiritual features which, at the same time, call for pedagogy and encourage a rethinking of the social ‘status’ of children and adults; of their roles in local society and in concert with peoples”. In this way, opting for child-youth protagonism implies penetrating and disrupting the relationship of subordination between children and the world of adults. Without a doubt, this task involves an ongoing exercise in rethinking and reflecting on our ways of exercising facilitation as adults who must safeguard children’s participation and protagonism.


Tension between local experience and public policy We shall now describe certain elements that we have identified as “tensions� that permeate the daily life of young people in their attempts at protagonism and participation. A first element that generates a great deal of distrust towards institutionality is related to the high turnover of professional practitioners and programmes, a situation that prevents building permanent bonds and meaningful links with the children and youth of the fringe areas. There is a high level of job insecurity in the working conditions offered to practitioners in programmes whose funding is renewed annually. Structural modifications are necessary in order to give continuity to the different programmes and attract highly experienced and technically trained professionals. A second pressure point in respect of participation opportunities is the excessively and exclusively advisory role of formal participation venues in institutions (Offices for the Protection of Rights5 and Schools). This can be explained on the one hand, by a lack of legislation providing for venues that are not only consultative, but also deliberative, and on the other, by the adult-centric approach of the authorities, in the absence of legislation. Adolescents who participate in the programme lose their motivation when their opinions have little capacity for realization, continuity and impact in the venues to which they are convened by the authorities. In this regard, Baratta (2001) argues that the active participation of children in a society’s political issues, building citizenship in childhood, is a challenge. Major decision-making is still being handled by adults in the venues to which adolescents are convened. 5 The Office for the Protection of the Rights of Children (O.P.D. for its acronym in Spanish) is a ambulatory body answering to the National Service for Minors (SENAME), installed locally, and aiming to provide comprehensive protection to children, adolescents and their families, who are in a situation of social exclusion or experience the violation of their rights.


A third source of tension for teenagers is caused by the low support they perceive for the realization of their ideas and projects. This includes difficulties encountered when looking for places in which to meet, as they must negotiate for space with local neighbourhood councils, and depend on whoever is occupying the council leadership at the moment, as there are no regulations or procedures to grant them space. In addition, in order to gain access to Competitive Funds (INJUV6 and Municipal Funds), they must comply with a number of formalities and procedures that hinder access for adolescents whose level of organization is incipient and informal. To this we should add “hidden� requirements involving political support of municipal management. All of which leads to the lack of credibility of formal institutions handled by adults. The fourth source of tension arises from the level of interest and knowledge that adults (mainly school teachers) may show regarding the everyday experiences and issues that adolescents are interested in. On the one hand, the complexity and diversity of situations that teenagers must face is unknown. To this is added an adult-centric perception that mistrusts their capacity for autonomy and maintains that there is nothing that motivates them. Lastly, in society’s meritocratic vision, they are blamed for the conditions in which they live and for not being sufficiently resilient. This leads to the huge distance and delegitimation that adolescents feel regarding adults, which, in the case of schools, causes distancing from the educational proposals on offer. One final pressure point is related to the lack of promotional and preventive cultural and artistic opportunities. This is due to a tendency on the part of the various governments to focus on highly complex programmes and decrease funding for socio-educational and community programmes of a universal 6 National Youth Institute Chile. www.injuv.cl


nature. In the absence of central funding, initiatives depend on local governments’ management and resources, which vary greatly, depending on the income of each township. Greater investment is needed in proposals that not only include reactive measures to social issues, but also focus on the wellbeing of all of the people in a territory. We should understand that all of the inhabitants of these territories have the right to cultural and recreational opportunities. Challenges • We should start by mentioning the lack of a regulatory framework to comprehensively safeguard the rights of children in Chile, which compels us to adjust our laws to international standards, including universal features over a focus on serious breaches. This should be accompanied by the necessary resources to finance mainly preventive, although also specialized programmes, which can be synchronized locally in the area of children’s issues (the OPD, or another agency), enhancing rights promotion and prevention. These local bodies must be the primary and fundamental management device to handle a comprehensive protection system in the territories. These decision-making venues should contemplate participatory budgeting and the funding of the adolescents’ own initiatives, making the various administrative requirements more flexible and easier to gain access to. • We require legislation to provide for the protagonist role of children regarding matters that affect them, establishing mechanisms for participation and representation, accompanied by decision-making capacity in the various issues that affect them. The various ministries and local governments require coordination in order to organize and set in motion this legislation. To this end, it is


essential to provide for a governing body for children, which should be mentioned in the law, with its functions, powers and responsibilities defined, in order to induce coordination between ministries on children’s issues. • In relation to the adult-centric vision and low legitimacy of some adults, in the perception of adolescents, training should be provided as well as opportunities for rapprochement between the “world of adolescents and youth” and adults. Cussianovich (2006) put forward the idea of emancipatory cross-generationality, which implies significant changes in the roles of fathers, mothers and appropriate adults. It is necessary to build relationships involving good treatment and mutual awareness, in which adolescents become valid interlocutors. He also introduced the core idea of intragenerational solidarity, in which building caring links amongst children and adolescents benefits the development of a culture of cooperation and peace, as well as a move towards learning about cooperative relationships, where discrimination and competition are absent from the upbringing of new generations. Learning to love the common good involves understanding that individual fulfilment and happiness is possible when the collective group walks in harmony with of all of its members. There is no doubt that the arguments of Cussianovich build a key horizon in the process of facilitating adolescent protagonism, developing a new matrix for relationships and recognition for a social transformation.


List of References Auyero, J. & Berti, M. (2013). La violencia en los márgenes. Una maestra y un sociólogo en el conurbano bonaerense, Katz, Buenos Aires. Baratta, A. “Infancia y democracia”; an article included in the paper on: “Derechos de la niñez y la adolescencia antología” of the National Commission on Improving the Administration of Justice; United Nations Children’s Fund; Judicial Branch; Judicial School: United Nations Volunteers, 2001. Bourgois, P. (2009). “Treinta años de retrospectiva etnográfica sobre la violencia en las Américas”, in López García, J. and Santiago Bastos, M. (eds.), Guatemala: violencias desbordadas, Córdoba. University of Cordoba, pp. 28-62. Cussianovich, A. (2001). ¿Protagonismo o subsistencia de la infancia? in La Infancia en los Escenarios Futuros. Editorial Fund of the Social Sciences Faculty of the National University of San Marcos. Peru, 2001. Cussianovich, A. (2006). Infancia, Buen trato y Nuevo pacto social in the Journal of the Inter-American Children’s Institute, N°2. Espinar, A. (2003). “El ejercicio del poder compartido: Estudio para la elaboración de indicadores e instrumentos para analizar el componente de participación de niños y niñas en proyectos sociales”, Lima, Peru. http://www.scslat.org /web/uploads/publiaciones/archivos/el_ ejercicio_120717838 Galtung, Johan (1995). “Violencia, paz e investigación sobre la paz”, in Investigaciones teóricas. Sociedad y cultura contemporáneas, Madrid, Spain, Tecnos. IIN-OAS (2010). Child Participation in the Americas. “Twenty Years after the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child”. MINEDUC (2015): “Política nacional de convivencia escolar”. Available from: http://www.mineduc.cl/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2015/12/ politica-noviembre-definitiva.pdf Muñoz Tamayo, Víctor, Durán M., Carlos, & Thayer C., Eduardo. (2014). Los jóvenes populares urbanos frente a la prensa escrita y digital: distorsiones, identificaciones, distancias y silencios. Última década, 22 (41), 89-123. https://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0718-22362014000200005


Perez Aguirre, L. (2001). “Desnudo de Seguridades. Reflexiones para una acción transformadora”. Trilce. Montevideo. Restrepo, L. (1994). “El derecho a la ternura”, Editorial Arango. Bogotá, Colombia. Wacquant, L. (2013). Los condenados de la ciudad: Gueto, periferias y Estado. -2nd ed. - Buenos Aires: Siglo veintiuno editores.


Early care in natural environments, mediated by family empowerment by Marisu Pedernera Summary: This article attempts to describe how child development and learning in natural environments can be generated and strengthened through family empowerment, acknowledging the strong influence of families and social systems on child development. Working collaboratively with the families of children in early childhood is an increasingly contemplated proposition in the field of early childhood care and education. Current approaches stress the importance of including children’s families in building skills and capabilities to promote child development and, consequently, improve the quality of life of the family in general. Carl Dunst is one of the experts in family-centred practices and he has defined them as follows: “Family-centred practices treat families with dignity and respect; provide family members with information needed to make informed decisions and choices; actively involve families in obtaining resources and supports; and practitioner responsiveness and flexibility to family requests and desires.� (Dunst, C. J., 2000) 62

Along these lines, Turnbull addressed the same idea proposing the following family-centred principles: a) Adopting a social-family perspective, which suggests the expansion of the definition of early care. b) Mobilizing beyond the child as the sole focus of intervention, towards the family as the intervention unit. c) Greater emphasis on family empowerment as the object of intervention. d) The focus which the family uses to identify its own needs and aspirations as main intervention objective. e) Greater emphasis on identifying and strengthening the family’s skills as a way of increasing the quality of family life. f) Greater emphasis on strengthening the family’s social network and using this network as a support to reach the intended objectives. g) Changing and expanding the roles of early care and family practitioners and the ways in which these roles are performed. (Turnbull, A. P. et al., 2007) These principles have revolutionized early care approaches and professional practices, suggesting the adoption of a family-centred philosophy in which families are recognized and valued on the basis of their own capabilities, and supported in their acquisition and development of new capabilities that improve their quality of life. Throughout the history of early care, professional practices and practitioners’ relationships with families have been


changing and evolving. In the sixties, practitioners assumed the role of experts, not just in child development, but also in family issues, prescribing treatment in clinical contexts without consideration of needs, priorities and interests. Later, in the seventies, the focus was on training parents as joint therapists, but this approach came to be viewed as paternalistic, since it was the early care practitioners who decided what parents were supposed to do and trained them to that end. As from the eighties, there was a shift towards family-centred principles promoting the balance of authority and responsibility between early care practitioners and the family, working collaboratively. Currently, the focus is on family empowerment, providing support to families in the identification of their needs and priorities and in decisionmaking, helping them to build their capacities to promote child development in their daily routines. But, why is it important to work in collaboration with families? During the early years of life, which are key to child development, families are the main context providing experiences to children, and the only sustained and steady context over time, beyond the presence of early care practitioners or other support that the family may have. Within the social-family context there are factors that have a direct influence on child development, such as the family’s socio-economic situation, the parents’ education level and the environment in which they live. As stated by Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory (Bronfenbrenner, U., 1986), when we refer to the environment, we do not only speak of the child’s immediate surroundings, but also of structural factors such as society, culture, education, health and protection systems, legislation, etc.


The principles of family-centred practices suggest that parents should be given the opportunity simply to be parents, promoting the quality of father and mother/son and daughter interactions, improving, as a result, the functioning of the whole family. It is important to consider that the processes that influence child development are the result of the child’s interactions with his or her surroundings and with people. This combination has specific characteristics and may be conceptualized in two categories: risk factors or opportunity factors. Risk factors can interfere with the proper development of the child and have a negative impact on it. On the other hand, opportunity factors can improve child development, promote learning and have a positive impact on the lives of children and the whole family. Early care practitioners who use family-centred practices should, in the first place, connect with the family through respect, dignity and empathy, taking into account the family factors that influence child development such as the parents’ level of education, their socio-economic situation and the social environment in which they live. The sum of these and other factors determines the quality of family life, and familycentred practices must be geared to support families in order to facilitate and accompany their children’s development. Thus, according to the paradigm of family-centred principles and practices, early care can be summed up as a series of supportive interactions between families and practitioners, focusing on the needs of families and characterized by commitment, equality, positive communication and mutual trust and respect. Currently, we speak of collective empowerment because it includes all participants, both families and early care practitioners, sharing skills and


knowledge, involved in a two-way learning process. (Grau, P. G., 2015) So, how do children learn? Children learn throughout the day, during the routines carried out in their natural environments, when they have the specific need to implement a skill in order to function satisfactorily in those routines and learn from them. In this way, they acquire and fine-tune these skills when they have the opportunity to practice them, again and again, in the different routines of their natural environments (home, school, parks/squares, the homes of other family members or neighbours, etc.). (McWilliam, R. A., 2016) As regards children functioning in daily routines, we must recognize that this functioning is not separated into areas of child development (cognitive, social-affective, motor, communicative, adaptive). Usually, practitioners of different fields aim their interventions towards each of the areas of child development, in isolation, seeking to increase the functionality of one area or another, without taking into account other areas, or routines, or the contexts in which they are executed. However, all areas of child development are deployed in daily routines as a whole, through the skill that the child needs to acquire, maintain or fine-tune, in order to achieve an adequate functional performance. How can child caregivers promote child development? Children learn better when they have the opportunity to repeat the skill they want to acquire, maintain or fine-tune several times and in several different scenarios, and it is the parents and caregivers who spend most of their time with children who can best address this learning. 66

Source: (McWilliam, R. A., 2010)

As the chart shows, children’s caregivers have greater and better opportunities to promote child development during their daily routines in their natural environments, since they spend a great deal of time together. Therefore, professional practitioners who support family processes should help families to strengthen their capacity and skills in order to foster meaningful and quality interactions. Adults have the capacity to acquire and retain a large amount of information provided in one short, intensive session, such as a golf lesson. However, using the same metaphor for child development, it must be borne in mind that owing to their maturation process, children are not yet able to process large


amounts of information as quickly as adults do and, in addition, transfer it to their natural environment. And how do adults learn? Family-centred practices propose the incorporation of Andragogy(Knowles, M. S., 1970); that is, the process of adult teaching and learning. Andragogy is based on four principles, which are described below:

Source: (Knowles, M. S., Holton, E. y Swanson, R., 1972).

One of the models that makes it possible to carry out interventions that include everything described above is the Routine-Based Approach.(McWilliam, R. A., 2010) This shifts away from pedagogical approaches in which adults are taught 68

Marisu Pedernera Marisu Pedernera, Paraguay. She is an occupational therapist who is implementing the Routines-Based Model at the Telethon Foundation Paraguay. She is an exchange professional with the Telethon Foundation Paraguay and the Evidence-based International Early Intervention Office (EIEIO) at The University of Alabama, U.S.A.

as if they were children, and adopts family consultation as a tool with which to determine the difficulty posed by the routine, what the intervention strategy should be, and whether it is successful or not, both in its execution by parents and as regards children’s progress. Working in a family-practitioner partnership, promoting child development in natural environments and training the adults of those environments are, together, the fundamental premises underpinning early care in natural environments, whose main objective is the acquisition and development of children’s skills, in order to enable them to function successfully in family, school and community routines and, consequently, improve the quality of life of the whole family.


List of References: Bronfenbrenner, U. (1986). Ecology of the family as a context for human development: Research perspectives. Developmental psychology, 22(6), 723. Dunst, C. J. (2000). Revisiting” rethinking early intervention”. Topics in early childhood special education, 20(2), 95-104. Grau, P. G. (2015). Atención temprana: modelo de intervención en entornos naturales y calidad de vida familiar. Universidad Católica de Valencia San Vicente Mártir. Knowles, M. S. (1970). The modern practice of adult education: Andragogy verus pedagogy. Knowles, M. S., Holton, E. y Swanson, R. (1972). Andragogy: NETCHE. McWilliam, R. A. (2010). Routines-based early intervention. Supporting Young Children and Their Families. Baltimore: Brookes. McWilliam, R. A. (2016). Metanoia en Atención Temprana: Transformación a un Enfoque Centrado en la Familia. Revista latinoamericana de educación inclusiva, 10(1), 133-153. Turnbull, A. P., Summers, J. A., Turnbull, R., Brotherson, M. J., Winton, P., Roberts, R., et al. (2007). Family supports and services in early intervention: A bold vision. Journal of Early Intervention, 29(3), 187-206.


Child and youth participation in Latin America: the Brazilian case by M.A.P. Mara T issera Luna

“(...) Thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands or millions of children (...) combat age old traditions of silencing children and rigid governance systems keeping children out of real influence and decision-making processes in their homes, organizations, institutions, local communities, countries and regions”.1

Introduction Child and youth participation methods and platforms should be an integral component of participatory democracy in Latin America. This is because children and youth’s civic and political participation is the basis to establishing truthfully democratic societies which comply with the human rights of the totality of its citizens, including the most socially and economically excluded. In this article, the case study of the Brazilian National Street Children’s Movement (henceforth referred to as MNMMR: Movimento Nacional de Meninos e Meninas de Rua) serves to exemplify the importance of child and youth civic and political participation mechanisms in holding governments accountable for their international children’s 1 Save the Children (2012). Child rights governance. Children in politics. A collection of 11 inspiring, motivating and suggestive case studies on children’s engagement in governance. Child Rights Governance Global Initiative. Copenhagen, Denmark. P. 3.


rights commitments. The case of the MNMMR (funded in the 1990s as a response to police brutality and institutional discrimination against street and poor children), takes on new relevance in the current political and institutional Brazilian context, where democracy is being constantly threatened by ever-increasing social, racial and class inequalities. What is child and youth participation and why is it important? The basis of the right of children to participation are their rights to be heard and to have their views given due weight in decision-making processes that affect their lives. Participation

Mara T issera Luna Is a sociocultural anthropologist (University of Buenos Aires) and a Master in Public Administration graduate (Central European University). She has conducted both academic and policy-oriented research on the protection of vulnerable children’s rights in several countries (Argentina, British Guyana, Kazakhstan, Mexico, and the US). She did so as part of the staff of RELAF (the Latin American network for the right of children to live in a family) and as an independent researcher. She also did a critical analysis of North-South relations within global children’s rights advocacy networks in affiliation with the University of Buenos Aires. She has a geographically diverse professional and educational background: apart from Argentina, she has worked and/or studied in Brazil, France, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, and Portugal. Contact details: www.maratisseraluna.com / mara@maratisseraluna.com


is one of the general principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), together with the right to non-discrimination, the right to life and development, and giving consideration to the child’s best interest.2 Participation is enshrined in several provisions of the CRC, where it is considered as “an underlying value that needs to guide the way each individual right is ensured and respected, a criterion to assess progress in the implementation process of children’s rights”.3 In this article the focus is on the right to participation when it involves children and youth’s civil and political engagement in public decision-making settings. According to Kofi Annan (2002), the evolution of these forms of children’s participation in public affairs are “citizen engagement” through deliberative and representational procedures that contribute to building spaces of democratic coexistence together with adults, and “political engagement”, which is the “group of actions that children and youth perform in an organized fashion to achieve political goals, thus exerting influence on the decision-making processes that affect them”.4 The variety of methodologies and tools that aim at realizing child and youth citizen and political participation can be classified into different levels of effectiveness according to how meaningful and consequential they are. These levels have been classified by Roger Hart into the eight levels of “the ladder of participation”, from models of “non-participation” 2 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC., General comment No. 12 (2009): The right of the child to be heard. 20 July 2009, CRC/C/GC/12. P. 5. 3 The right to participation are defined on art. 12 (Respect for the views of the child), art. 13 (Freedom of expression), art. 14 (Freedom of thought, conscience and religion) art. 15 (Freedom of association), art. 17 (Access to information and mass media) of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, and on the General comment No. 12 of UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (2009) on The right of the child to be heard. 4 Kofi Annan (UN General Assembly’s Special Session on Children in May 2002), cited in: Gutiérrez Herazo, A. (2013). La participación de niños, niñas y adolescentes en espacios de incidencia regional. Documento de trabajo. INN, REDLAMYC, Save the Children. P. 15.


characterized by manipulation and tokenism, to “models of genuine participation”.5 In the latter, children “understand the intentions of the project, (…) know who made the decisions concerning their involvement and why, (…) have a meaningful (rather than a decorative) role (…) [and] volunteer for the project after the project was clear to them”.6 This highest level of “genuine” child and youth participation can only be achieved in societies willing to transform authoritarian power relations between adults and children into more democratic ones. Civic and political participation benefits both the individual children and youth and their societies. On a personal level, “genuine”, meaningful participation contributes to the affirmation of children and youth’s self-esteem and identity and it encourages them to be curious about the social issues around them. It also gives them a sense of belonging to a group and to their communities, and it opens up space for them to demand their freedom and progressive autonomy.7 On a social level, participation can contribute to the empowerment of children as citizens given it creates visibility for children in public settings, thus contributing to the re-distribution of political and social power with adults.8 Indeed, all communities and countries benefit from meaningful children and youth’s civic engagement, for it exposes them to the theoretical knowledge, competences, and confidence necessary to participate in a democratic process as responsible adults in the future.

5 Hart. R. A. (1992). Child’s participation. From tokenism to citizenship. Innocenti essays no. 4. UNICEF International Child Developmemt Center, Spedale degli Innocenti. Florence, Italy P. 9, 10, 11. 6 Ibidem. P. 11. 7 Gutiérrez Herazo, A. (2013). La participación de niños, niñas y adolescentes en espacios de incidencia regional. Documento de trabajo. INN, REDLAMYC, Save the Children. P. 20-22. 8 Ibidem. P. 12 and 14.


Why are most children still excluded from participation in Latin America? In the past decades, several children and youth participation mechanisms have been created in Latin America as the result of the efforts of inter-governmental bodies, nongovernmental organizations, grassroots movements and other actors to realize the principles of the CRC.9 These participation mechanisms include parliaments, forums, councils, and child and youth participation in regional governance.10 Nevertheless, the reality remains that children (especially those belonging to socially marginalized social groups) continue to be excluded from meaningful participation in public settings, due to the following problematic issues: • Financial obstacles: these are divided into those taking place on the household level (where children are exposed to poverty and lack of material resources); on the local level (with a lack of access of communities to quality services and infrastructure such as health care, education and transport); on the national level (especially in countries with high rates of economic growth with no equality policies); and on the international level (due to inequalities driven by neoliberal policies and other economic ideologies that lead to large inequalities within and between countries).11 • Sociocultural barriers: Children from marginalized groups are subjected to multiple and intersecting sources of discrimination (discrimination on the grounds of race, 9 Some participation forums and event involved Latin American high-level deci-

sion-makers For further details see: Giorgi, V. (2010). La participación de los niños, niñas y adolescentes en las Américas. Instituto Interamericano del Niño, Niña y Adolescentes. P. 9 and 10. 10 For a description of diverse examples, see: Gutiérrez Herazo, A. (2011). El hecho del dicho. Instituto Interamericano del Niño, la Niña y Adolescente. P. 24-36. 11 Save the Children Fund (2016). Realising the Pledge to Leave No One Behind.


gender, ethnic and social background, religion, disability, nationality, migratory status, etc.) which intersect with discrimination on the grounds of age.12 • Political obstacles: lack of accountability by local and national governments due to the monopolization of the governance structure by elites, armed conflicts, invisibilization of excluded groups from national policies and data and inequality in access to assets (such as productive land).

Obstacles and enabling factors for child and youth participation in Brazil Brazil has been and continues to be a deeply unjust, unequal and polarized society. This is rooted in its three- century history of Portuguese colonialism, the exclusion of many social groups (i.e. Afro descendants and native peoples) from the establishment of its Nation-State in the XIX century, and its economy based on large state based economy, where big land-owners belonging to oligarchies have monopolized the land at the expense of peasants’ subsistence.13 However, it can be said that certain sociocultural, political and economic transformations taking place in Brazil in the past decades have resulted into three main enabling factors for the implementation of platforms for child and youth political participation: − Economic development. In the past decades, many Latin American countries including Brazil experienced an 12 Save the Children Fund (2016). Every last child. The children the world chooses to forget. P. 5 13 For a more detailed account, read: Galeano, E. (1997). Open veins of Latin America: five centuries of the pillage of a continent. New York: Monthly Review Press; and Fausto, B. (2013). História do Brasil. EDUSP. Edição: 14ª (15 de abril de 2013).


enormous increase in their public revenues from national and international sources. As a consequence, they have extended the coverage of basic education, improved health care for children, and have implemented minimum financial security for all children, for instance in the form of cash transfers. − Democratization and social mobilization. Brazil made the transition from a military dictatorship (and from a history of political instability characterized by an alternation between democratic governments and military coups) to democratic stability in 1985.14 The democratization process was strongly characterized by widespread political and social mobilization carried out by all types of civil society movements: grass-root movements, right-based activists, environmental defenders, development NGOs, charities, and others.15 These diverse struggles from the nongovernmental sector achieved the recognition of the issues faced by groups that had been historically “invisibilized”. Thus, children, Afro-descendant peoples, aboriginal peoples, LGTB, women, incarcerated people and their children, the disabled, etc. became part of the political agenda.16 It also enabled for power relations between adults and children to become less authoritarian than those in previous generations. − International human rights commitments. Brazil has ratified several binding and non-binding regional and international human rights laws that include provisions 14 Brazil enjoyed a stable continuity and alternation of elected governments until May 2016, when President Dilma Rousself was impeached under accusations of corruption. Dilma was replaced by her former Vice-President Michel Temer, who has ruled since then, and no democratic elections have been held. At the time of writing this article, elections are scheduled for October 2018. 15 Pansardi, B. (7 July 2015). Mobilizar para garantir: 25 anos do ECA (Blog article). 16 MNMMR (2016). Carta de Intenção.


on the respect for rule of law and human rights, public participation and non-discrimination. Still, the large majority of Brazilian children are denied political participation and are excluded from decision-making processes because membership to marginalized groups intersects with (and is amplified by) authoritarian power relations with adults. For example, the importance of child and youth participation in family and community decision-making is particularly challenging “for disadvantaged, low income parents to understand when they themselves have had no voice and see authoritarian child rearing as the best approach”17. Also, it is common for marginalized families not to acknowledge the capacities of their children as decision-makers even when, as workers, they are critical to the economy of the family.18 It could be for this reason that some of the most outstanding examples of meaningful child and youth political participation emerged from self-organized working children who live separated from their families in the streets, such as the MNMMR.

The political struggle of the National Movement of Street Children in Brazil The MNMMR is a national, popular, autonomous and nonprofit political organization conformed by a network of child protection programs, social educators, street and working children and youth. Its ultimate aim is to hold the Brazilian state accountable for the protection and fulfillment of Brazilian children and youth’s human rights, by empowering marginalized children and youth to be the agents in the 17 Hart. R. A. (1992). Child’s participation. From tokenism to citizenship. Innocenti essays no. 4. UNICEF International Child Developmemt Center, Spedale degli Innocenti. Florence, Italy. P. 7. 18 Ibidem.


defence of their rights19. Its actions revolve around defending children’s rights by advocating on decision-makers and the general public, and contributing to the training and political organization of educators and children20. It also denounces the mainstream violent and neglecting practices of the Brazilian government and its security forces against poor, working and street children and youth. The MNMMR was established with the aim of giving voice to street children, who were lacking representation in decisionmaking processes due to being separated from their families and out of schooling. Initially, the movement for the protection of street children was motivated by the preoccupations of the professionals responsible for their protection. These social educators were concerned about the large numbers of children living and working in the streets, as well as the lack of adequate responses by state institutions.21 Indeed, between 1981 and 1985 important efforts were made by social workers and educators to develop the so-called “community- based alternatives of social protection targeting street children”. This model was counter-hegemonic to the traditional institutions (i.e. the school system and the social services) because it intended to implement protection methodologies that were respectful of the child’s history and knowledge, based on the theory of the “pedagogy of the oppressed” theorized by Paulo Freire.22 MNMMR was registered as an official non-profit organization in 1985 right after the fall of the last Brazilian Military 19 MNMMR (2016). Carta de Intenção. 20 MNMMR (2016). Carta de Intenção. 21 Souza, T. de Jesus (2013). O movimento nacional de meninos e meninas de rua

e a conquista dos dereitos: o marco do movimento social en prol da garantia dos dereitos da crianca e do adolescente no Brasil. III Simpósio Mineiro de Assistentes Sociais. CRESS. 7-9 Junho 2013. P. 5. 22 Ibid. P. 6.


dictatorship23. It quickly became a national movement with wide public and political support, its first big landmark being the “First National Congress” held in Brasilia in 1986. In the same year, MNMMR became part of the broad and strong political mobilization of actors involved in the democratization of the country’s institutions. It did so, for instance, by participating in the “National Committee on the Child and the Constitution” set up by the Brazilian government to lead the drafting of the new constitution and child protection law.24 MNMMR was one of the many civil society groups that advocated for the inclusion of children’s rights provisions in the constitution drafting process by means of organizing a massive public campaign, including demonstrations of children in different cities. This campaign initially resulted in the passing of two constitutional amendments proposed by the civil society, which became the constitution’s chapter on child protection. This achievement was followed by greater social mobilization that included an Assembly gathering 5,000 street and working children in Brasilia and which led to the Statute of the Child and Adolescent. This law defines children as “citizens with clearly stated rights to respect, dignity and freedom”, and mandates the establishment of “Councils for the Rights of the Child and Adolescent” at federal, state and local levels.25

23 In 1964 a military coup (led by the national bourgeoisie) overthrew the democratically elected government and ruled the country for 21 years. This dictatorship was responsible for serious human rights violations such as “arbitrary arrests, sexual violence and hiding dead bodies”; in fact, “at least 434 people were killed or disappeared during this period” according to the National Truth Commission. Source: Barbara, V. (May 1, 2016). In Brazil, a New Nostalgia for Military Dictatorship. The New York Times. 24 Pansardi, B. (7 July 2015). Mobilizar para garantir: 25 anos do ECA (Blog article). 25 UNICEF (1996). The state of the world’s children 1996. Making child rights constitutional in Brazil.


Through its influence in the drafting of the Constitution and the Statute of the Child and Adolescent, the MNMMR contributed to an institutional and cultural transformation in the way children are seen. In fact, in the 1980s and early 1990s many Latin American countries including Brazil saw the emergence of new ideologies regarding the social role and socio-political participation of children which ideologically and discursively opposed the “Paradigm for Social Control”. This paradigm defined children as “incapable immature and incomplete (...) passive and mere objects of intervention and family or State supervision”, and had until then dominated narratives and policies regarding children since the establishment of the Nation States (end of the XIX century, beginning of the XX century).26 Democratization movements tried to challenge this paradigm by opposing it to two other models: the “Paradigm of the Child Role”, which supports the practices of active political participation developed by Popular Education theories (such as that of the Brazilian educator and philosopher Paulo Freire); and the “Paradigm for Integrated Child Protection”, based on the North Atlantic “protection” tradition crystallized in the Convention of the Rights of the Child.27 Both paradigms stood for children’s right to be seen as autonomous social subjects, and to participate as active citizens. Nowadays, the networks and local representations conforming the MNMMR continue their political struggle in diverse Brazilian states, by providing training, conducting advocacy, and creating platforms to enable children and youth’s political engagement. Its ultimate aim continues to be that of strengthening Rule of Law and civil society groups in order 26 Imhoff, D., Brussino, S. (2013). Socio-political child participation and political socialization processes: exploring with boys and girls from the city of Cordoba, Argentina. ISSN: 2223-7666. P. 206. 27

Ibidem. P. 206.


to ensure government’s accountability for the protection and fulfillment of the rights of all Brazilian children, especially those belonging to socially marginalized groups.28

Conclusion Children’s political engagement has the potential to contribute in important ways to social mobilization for the progressive policy reforms and social transformations that are necessary to advance socially just, inclusive societies in Latin America. For this reason, turning children and youth’s political participation into a normalized practice of political systems should be a priority of grass-roots movements, human rights organizations and inter-governmental agencies. What can be learned from the experience of the Brazilian National Street Children’s Movement is that child and youth participation can lead to government’s accountability regarding children’s rights when children are regarded as active citizens and political actors, and if they can get involved in political movements in a meaningful way.

28 MNMMR (2016). Carta de Intenção.


List of References: Barbara, V. (May 1, 2016). In Brazil, a New Nostalgia for Military Dictatorship. The New York Times. European Youth Minority Inclusion (February 5 2016). How to engage active participation of minority young people? Hart’s Ladder of participation (Blog Post). Fausto, B. (2013). História do Brasil. São Paulo: EDUSP. 14th edition (15th April 2013). Galeano, E. (1997). Open veins of Latin America: five centuries of the pillage of a continent. New York: Monthly Review Press. Giorgi, V. (2010). La participación de los niños, niñas y adolescentes en las Américas. Instituto Interamericano del Niño, Niña y Adolescentes. Gutiérrez Herazo, A. (2011). El hecho del dicho. Instituto Interamericano del Niño, la Niña y Adolescente. Gutiérrez Herazo, A. (2013). La participación de niños, niñas y adolescentes en espacios de incidencia regional. Documento de trabajo. INN, REDLAMYC, Save the Children. Hart. R. A. (1992). Child’s participation. From tokenism to citizenship. Innocenti essays no. 4. UNICEF International Child Developmemt Center, Spedale degli Innocenti. Florence, Italy. Imhoff, D., Brussino, S. (2013). Socio-political child participation and political socialization processes: exploring with boys and girls from the city of Cordoba, Argentina. ISSN: 2223-7666. Lansdown, G. (2001). Promoting children’s participation in democratic decision-making. UNICEF Innocenti Research Center. Florence, Italy. Movimento Nacional de Meninos e Meninas de Rua (2016). Carta de Intenção. Nuestra Voz a colores (web page). Instituto Interamericano del Niño, la Niña y Adolescente. Retrieved from: http://nuestravozacolores.org/ Pansardi, B. (7th July 2015). Mobilizar para garantir: 25 anos do ECA (Blog article). Retrieved from: http://oficinadeimagens.org.br/mobilizar-paragarantir-25-anos-do-eca/ Save the Children (2012). Child rights governance. Children in politics. A collection of 11 inspiring, motivating and suggestive case studies on


children’s engagement in governance. Child Rights Governance Global Initiative. Copenhagen, Denmark. Save the Children Fund (2016). From Agreement to Action. Delivering the Sustainable Development Goals. Save the Children Fund (2016). Every last child. The children the world chooses to forget. Save the Children Fund (2016). Realising the Pledge to Leave No One Behind. Souza, T. de Jesus (2013). O movimento nacional de meninos e meninas de rua e a conquista dos dereitos: o marco do movimento social en prol da garantia dos dereitos da crianca e do adolescente no Brasil. III Simpósio Mineiro de Assistentes Sociais. CRESS. 7-9 Junho 2013. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC). General comment No. 12 (2009): The right of the child to be heard. 20 July 2009, CRC/C/GC/12. UN General Assembly, Convention on the Rights of the Child, 20 November 1989, United Nations. UNICEF (1996). The state of the world’s children 1996. Making child rights constitutional in Brazil. UNICEF (n/d). Fact sheet: A summary of the rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. UNICEF (n/d). Fact sheet: A summary of the rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. UNICEF (n/d). Fact Sheet: The right to participation. UNICEF (n/d). The Convention of the Rights of the Child. Participation rights: having an active voice.


Neuroplasticity in early childhood. Its relationship with the environment by C. Regino Piùeiro Lamas and Tamara Díaz Lorenzo Genetics and the environment are the main factors affecting cognitive development. Neurodevelopment is a dynamic process of interaction between children and their surroundings, which leads to the maturation of the Central Nervous System and the cognitive functions. Macpherson et al (1) have indicated that there is significant neurodevelopment in the first five years of life, including neuron formation (neurogenesis), neuronal migration, synapse formation (synaptogenesis), axon myelination and other processes. Preconception health should be promoted as a strategy to prevent adverse effects for a future pregnancy. Some of the main factors in the prenatal stage that affect neurodevelopment are: the age of the mother and father, parents’ diseases, infections, maternal stress, maternal malnutrition, teenage pregnancy, foetal hypoxia and neurotoxic substances. Anaemia during pregnancy can cause irreversible damage to the foetal hippocampus, an area of the brain which is important in learning and memory; folic acid deficiency can cause neural tube defects (2-5). Maternal malnutrition is a cause of low birth weight and is one of the main non-genetic factors that can cause damage to Central Nervous System development. Teenage pregnancy, for its part, can lead to low birth weight and possible cognitive impairment.


Studies have shown that calcium, iron and zinc content in the placentas of adolescent and adult women is influenced by the age of the mother (6). We know that the brain starts its growth in the third week of pregnancy. Neuron formation reaches its peak at 14 weeks and the process is almost complete at 25 weeks, which is why this stage is vitally important. As from two months of age, the brain develops in far greater proportion than the rest of the body. At about the end of the second year, it reaches 70% of the weight of the adult brain, and reaches 90% at 5 years (2-5). Neuroplasticity is the basis of memory and learning. Neuroplasticity is activated during learning and the following occurs: remodelling and formation of new synaptic connections, greater synaptic strength and development of new neurons. The neuronal plasticity of the brains of children between the ages of 1 and 5 develops rapidly and, therefore, their cognitive development (learning, memory) is fundamental. Learning, behavioural and neurodevelopment disorders in children are the result of complex interactions between environmental (biological, chemical, psychological, social and nutritional) and genetic factors (5). Environmental factors intervene in the genetic programme, giving rise to changes during the life of the individual (including intrauterine life). This occurs by means of so-called “epigenetic� mechanisms, which do not affect gene structure, but gene expression. Principal environmental factors that help improve neuroplasticity (positive neuroplasticity): Age-appropriate physical activity, quality education, healthy nutrition, a healthcare system, social interaction, early stimulation, hours of sleep according to age, environmental health and good schooling and financial levels of parents.


- Physical Activity. To achieve the maximum neurodevelopment, it is necessary to engage in stimulation, which we can help through play and physical activity, as it not only serves as distraction, but is also a great ally in learning. We know that physical exercise benefits the production of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which positively influences neuroplasticity and, therefore, the appropriate development of the brain. Rothman et al. (7) suggest that BDNF acts in specific regions of the brain as a mediator of the beneficial effects of physical exercise (malnourished and obese persons have difficulty performing physical activity). In recent decades, physical activity in children has been replaced by a more sedentary lifestyle and, owing to insecure conditions, parents prefer children to stay at home and devote more and more hours a day to video games or television viewing. Physical exercise is one of the ways to prevent a number of different diseases, such as obesity, diabetes mellitus type 2, arterial hypertension and others, which are risk factors for early cardiovascular disease. The habit of physical activity, or a sedentary lifestyle, begins to be established in the early years of life and lifestyles acquired in this period persist into adulthood. Physical education for children is very important; whatever children do not do while they are young, will be very difficult to take up in adulthood. The best model that children can follow is engaging in physical activity with their parents. Aerobic exercises benefit neuroplasticity, which is associated with learning and memory improvement. Some of the activities recommended for preschoolers (up to 5 years) are walking, riding a bicycle, ball games, swinging, running and jumping. (8). Donnelly et al. (9) studied children aged 5 to 13 years in order to discover whether physical activity influenced cognition, learning, and brain structure and function. They found evidence to suggest that there are links between physical activity, cognition and academic achievement. Stillman et


al. (10) have referred to molecular and cellular mechanisms which are of great value in the relationship between physical exercise and cognition. Chen et al. (11) indicate that aerobic exercise in preadolescent boys improve their working memory. Similar findings have been reported by Li et al. (12). - Quality Education (Child Centres). Amongst the environmental factors surrounding child development, we should bear in mind the quality of learning children receive from educators. As we learn, the brain modifies its structure and function organization and can create new neural networks in the Central Nervous System. We know that a high quality education increases the cognitive abilities of children and helps their comprehensive development. It must begin in early childhood. In its Article 28, the Convention on the Rights of the Child establishes the right to education. (13). - Healthy Nutrition. A balanced diet that contributes the neuro nutrients needed for normal neurodevelopment is essential. The brain is formed by elements present in our diet, macronutrients (protein, fats and carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Children’s brains require certain neuro nutrients in sufficient quantities to fulfil essential functions; the most complete and richest food in every way is breast milk (14). Proteins (amino acids) are important in the development of the brain and the cognitive functions. They are involved in the structural formation of neurons and are precursors of neurotransmitters in the brain (neurotransmitters communicate one neuron with another). The foetus and the newborn child depend on the maternal contribution of omega 3; its decline in the brain leads to neuron formation deficits, and alterations in visual performance and learning. Omega 6 is also necessary for normal neurodevelopment. In normal conditions, glucose is the brain’s principal source of energy. It can be found in slowly 88

Tamara Díaz Lorenzo She graduated as a doctor in medicine from the Higher Institute of Medical Science of Havana, in 1993. First grade specialist in Paediatrics in 1996 and second grade specialist in Nutrition and Food Hygiene in 2004. She is an auxiliary researcher for Cuba’s Academy of Science and assistant professor at the Ministry of Higher Education of Cuba. She holds a master’s degree in Nutrition from Havana’s National Institute of Nutrition and Food Hygiene. In addition, she has received multiple graduate degrees in Cuba, the United States and Spain, and has published 24 papers in various national journals and 27 in international journals. She has made 19 contributions to books published in Brazil, Spain and Cuba. She has received various honours and international awards. She has served as member and chairperson of several committees for the organization of national and international events and scientific societies. From 2005 to 2010, she served as the head of the Department of Food Hygiene of the Institute of Nutrition and Food Hygiene, and from 2010 to 2012, as national director of the Licentiate Degree in Nutrition in Cuba, at the Faculty of Health Technology. She is currently a lecturer for the general medicine programme of the José Martí Institute and advisor to the “Land and Freedom” CENDI Centres of the state of Colima, Mexico.

Regino Piñiero Lamas PhD in medical science. Paediatric Endocrinologist. Second Grade specialist, full professor and paediatrics consultant for the Faculty of Medical Science at the University of Havana. Research Fellow at Cuba’s Academy of Science. Honorary member of Cuba’s Endocrinology Society. International consultant in cognitive neuroscience and nutrition. He has published eight book and is the author of one hundred articles published in journals related to endocrine and nutritional diseases and of some chapters of a textbook on paediatrics. He received postgraduate training at the Division of Paediatric Endocrinology and Nutrition, University of Pittsburgh, United States of America, at the Department of Nutrition of the University of Zaragoza, Spain, and at the Paediatric Endocrinology and Nutrition Service of the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. He currently serves as director of the general medicine programme of the José Martí Institute and as advisor to the “Land and Freedom” CENDI Centres of the state of Colima, Mexico.


absorbed carbohydrates, such as oats, which also provides vitamin B1 and a stable level of glucose for several hours (it is released slowly). The main micronutrients involved in brain development are: vitamins A, E, D, B6, B1 and folic acid and minerals; iron, iodine and zinc. Malnutrition and neurodevelopment. Chronic malnutrition leads to the decline of cognitive functioning and social interaction, amongst other outcomes. Children suffering from undernutrition have greater probabilities of contracting diseases, resulting in entering the education system later and in greater absenteeism and dropout rates. Children who suffer from severe malnutrition may have a reduced number of neurons and neural synapses (neural contacts). Iron deficiency anaemia is the most common nutritional problem in many countries; it limits brain development and functions (affecting memory capacity and concentration). The social and economic cost of preventing malnutrition is minimal, compared to its impact on the economy, health, education and future loss of productivity. Obesity and neurodevelopment. Obesity has been reaching epidemic proportions in both developed and developing countries (obesity in poverty). Obese children may perform poorly in school, apparently as a result of decreased attention span and memory. It has been observed that they have lower levels of vitamins (B12, D, A and E) and minerals (iron and zinc), which may be related to the above. (15) • The Health System must be accessible and uninterrupted; comprehensive care must be provided by a multidisciplinary team, and it must ensure equity. In its Article 24, the Convention on the Rights of the Child refers to the right to health and medical care, and states that: a) child mortality must be reduced; b) medical care must be ensured, with emphasis on the development of 90

primary healthcare; c) diseases and malnutrition must be combated; d) appropriate prenatal and postnatal healthcare for mothers must be ensured. • Social Interaction. In the early years, the neurodevelopment of children typically includes the progressive acquisition of such important functions as verbal language and social interaction (communication). This evolution is closely linked to the maturation process of the Central Nervous System. Social interaction promotes cognitive development. A child’s first relationships are usually with his or her parents, whose behaviour he or she observes. Between the ages of 3 and 6, children learn to interact with people outside their immediate family, especially with groups of the same age, which leads to learning and adapting to new forms of relationship and of living in the world. • Early Stimulation. This is indispensable for adequate brain development. Ojeda and Anaya (16), have pointed out that to achieve optimal neurodevelopment in children, it is necessary to address early stimulation in the prenatal stage. This, they indicate: optimizes the development of the senses, promotes the physical and mental health of the child who is about to be born, develops affective child-parent-family links, and fosters the development of communication and other aspects. They also point to the importance of postnatal stimulation, where the child participates from birth, with his or her family, in early stimulation programmes. Preconception care should be ensured in order for the couple to reach pregnancy in an appropriate state of health, and with the knowledge needed to apply prenatal and postnatal stimulation. • Hours of Sleep (depending on age). The development


of the sleeping and waking cycle is a dynamic process, which depends on age and is related to Central Nervous System maturation. Sleep in its different phases (REM and non-REM) helps to consolidate learning. The more complex cognitive processes continue functioning when we sleep, which is why sleep disorders can lead to impaired memory, attention and executive functioning. The lack of sleep can affect the ability to learn and the capacity to form new memories. Recent data show the importance of sleep in the neuroplasticity of the brain. • Environmental Health. Environmental pollution affects neurodevelopment and has led to climate change. Exposure to environmental neurotoxicants alters neurodevelopment processes and causes life-long disabilities. Prenatal and postnatal exposure to mercury, cadmium, lead and pesticides in foods, due to current environmental pollution, affects the developing brain, leading to cognitive development disorders (5). The WHO considers children’s environmental health to be one of the objectives of the twenty-first century and promotes healthy environments for children. • Good Schooling and Economic Well-Being of Parents (home). The role of the family is essential. Low-income families with little schooling, factors which restrict their ability to care for their children appropriately, are unfavourable environments for future neurodevelopment outcomes of newborns. In its Article 4, the Convention on the Rights of the Child refers to measures to protect children’s rights: States Parties must safeguard economic, social and cultural rights (which include the right to: food, housing, education, health, social security, participation in cultural life, water and sanitation, and the work of their parents). 92

• The Community and Children in Early Childhood. Comprehensive development in early childhood is possible if action is taken in the different scenarios where the lives of children evolve, such as the community, the home, health, education and recreation centres. Public policies can lead to intervention programmes for early childhood (from conception to 6 years of age) being set up in communities, in order to make the comprehensive development of children possible. • Child Abuse and its Impact on Neurodevelopment. Child abuse must be eradicated. It is a negative environmental influence that may decrease the brain’s grey matter and the number of neural synapses, according to Magnetic Resonance Imaging (17) studies. In its Article 19, the Convention on the Rights of the Child refers to children’s right to be protected from abuse. It is important to design policies for the benefit of early childhood development, thereby contributing to the reduction of social and economic disparities and gender inequalities that divide society, as well as contributing to the inclusion of those who have traditionally been excluded. Conclusions: Certain priorities must be set for the benefit of children: eradicating anaemia, improving nutrition, confronting environmental pollution and climate change. Steps should be taken to ensure normal neurodevelopment, focusing on preconception, prenatal and postnatal stages (mainly in the first 5 years of life). Investing in early childhood care is perhaps the most important investment a society can make to promote better social, human, affective and economic outcomes.


List of References Macphersonv Helen, Wei-P, Teo, Luke A. Schneider, Ashleigh E. Smith. A LifeLong Approach to Physical Activity for Brain Health. Front Aging Neurosci. 2017; 9: 147. Piñeiro R. La nutrición y el desarrollo del cerebro. Importancia desde la etapa preconcepcional hasta los seis años (2nd part, extended version). Editorial Amoxtli S.A, D.F, Mexico 2015. Piñeiro R, Díaz T. Factores que influyen en el Neurodesarrollo de 0 a 6 años. Editorial Amoxtli SA de CV. Mexico City, October 2017. Piñeiro R. La nutrición y el desarrollo del cerebro. First Part, Editorial Amoxtli S.A, D.F, Mexico 2014. Piñeiro R, Díaz T. Neuronutrición y trastornos cognitivos en niños y niñas, Editorial Amoxtli S.A, D.F, Mexico 2016. de Moraes ML, de Faria Barbosa R, Santo RE, da Silva Santos F, de Jesus EF, Sardinha FL, Tavares do Carmo Md. Maternal-Fetal Distribution of Calcium, Iron, Copper, and Zinc in Pregnant Teenagers and Adults. Biological trace element research 2010; 139(2):126-36. Rothman SM, Griffioen KJ, Wan R, Mattson MP. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor as a regulator of systemic and brain energy metabolism and cardiovascular health. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2012; 1264:49-63. Piñeiro R, Díaz T. Actividad física en la primera infancia. Su importancia en el Neurodesarrollo. Editorial Amoxtli SA de CM. Mexico City, October 2018. Donnelly JE, Hillman CH, Castelli D, Etnier JL, Lee S, Tomporowski P, Lambourne K, Szabo-Reed AN. Physical Activity, Fitness, Cognitive Function, and Academic Achievement in Children: A Systematic Review. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2016; 48(6):1197-222. Stillman CM, Cohen J, Lehman ME, Erickson KI. Mediators of Physical Activity on Neurocognitive Function: A Review at Multiple Levels of Analysis. Front Hum Neurosci. 2016; 10:626. Chen AG, Zhu LN, Yan J, Yin HC. Neural Basis of Working Memory Enhancement after Acute Aerobic Exercise: fMRI Study of Preadolescent Children. Front Psychol. 2016; 7:1804. Li L, Men WW, Chang YK, Fan MX, Ji L, Wei GX. Acute aerobic exercise increases cortical activity during working memory: a functional MRI study in female college students. PLoS One. 2014; 9(6):e99222.


Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989 - Cultural Rights. http://www. culturalrights.net/en/ Díaz T, Piñeiro R. Alimentación y Nutrición en la Infancia y la Adolescencia. Editorial de Ciencias Médicas, Havana, 2012 Piñeiro R, Díaz T. La obesidad en niños y adolescentes como señal de ateroesclerosis precoz. Editorial Científico Técnico. Havana; 2015 Ojeda M, Anaya T. Guía para la estimulación temprana por vías no formales. Desde preconcepcional hasta los 6 años. Impresión Amoxli SA de CV, Mexico, October 2017 Gold Andrea L, Sheridan Margaret A, Peverill Matthew, Busso Daniel S, Lambert Hilary K, Alves Sonia, Pine Daniel S, McLaughlin Katie A. Childhood abuse and reduced cortical thickness in brain regions involved inemotional processing. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2016;57(10): 1154–1164.


Notes for developing Human Rights Education in the formal education system in Latin America by Ana Laura PiĂąeyro Jardim Latin America is the continent with the greatest inequality on the planet, an inequality which is marked by a structural component that inhibits and restricts development. And inequality between the sexes, as well as between its different peoples, continues to be a focus of discrimination. This takes place despite the struggles in defence of rights of social organizations, the groups that lead them, and the work carried out on behalf of protection and promotion of human rights in inter-governmental bodies. It is because of this that the task of educating in human rights is so important, with the challenge of adapting to the times in which we live and with a deeply ethical component. This involves a process of questioning regarding our ethical reference points, how we put them into practice in our behaviour and in how we relate to others (PĂŠrez Aguirre, 1999), focusing on the relationships between rights-holders: with ourselves, with others and with our surroundings. Human Rights Education (hereinafter HRE) involves, as we understand it, not only the task of transforming learners, but also, and above all, an act of mutual transformation between all of the subjects that are part of the educational process 96

(Pérez Aguirre, 1999). As Brazilian pedagogue Paulo Freire noted, “Nobody educates anybody else. Nobody educates himself. People educate each other...”. The educational act is understood as a dynamic and dialectical process, with the multidimensionality and complexity that is typical of human beings. It involves mutual interactions among people who take part in it, even when they have different roles to play, which entail asymmetrical responsibilities (Magendzo, 2008) that characterize the learner-teacher relationship. At the same time, there is a political element involved, in which power relations come into play, the ways in which we interact in these two roles (Rodino, 1999, 2003). In addition, learning and knowledge are relocated, with an internal movement involving self-knowledge, as well as knowledge-building with others, generating a common ground, a shared position, which is jointly constructed (Rebellato, 1997). 1) An HRE proposal anchored in International Human Rights Law International human rights standards and legislation clearly indicate the need for education as a human right to adopt a comprehensive and cross-cutting perspective. This marks a position of protection and promotion of respect towards all persons, so they may develop their potential, transform their life situations and build coexistence amongst all, with guidelines of respect for human dignity and for different cultures. In this context, the United Nations, through UNESCO and the UNHCHR,1 have been driving a number of initiatives, such as: the Decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2005); the Plan of Action, World Programme for Human Rights Education (which began in 2005 and is currently in its third phase); and the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training, which was proclaimed in 2011. 1 These acronyms stand for: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural

Organization, UNESCO, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNHCHR.


“The goal of human rights education is to build societies where human dignity is not infringed. It is not enough to denounce or punish abuses after they have occurred. They must be prevented, and to this end, people need to know their rights, defend them and, at the same time, respect and defend their exercise by others. Human rights education is a means to promote that knowledge and respect and, in this way, it becomes a practical instrument for the prevention of human rights violations. At the same time, it attempts to build peaceful and democratic coexistence, which day by day becomes more respectful of life and individual freedoms, more egalitarian, fair and caring for each and every one. In sum: more human. Seen in this way, it is the engine that drives individual and social transformation.� (Rodino, A. M. 1999: 4)

HRE is considered a right in and of itself, a concept rooted in international spheres. Within nations, it must face the challenge of transmitting the fundamental human rights principles, such as equality and non-discrimination, as well as strengthening the links between all rights, highlighting their interdependence, indivisibility and universality. The principles that are the objective of human rights should be embodied in the everyday experience and situations that people are involved in (PĂŠrez Aguirre, 1999) within their own socio-cultural contexts, thus fostering and strengthening societies that respect human dignity, in its multiple manifestations. It is in the field of International Human Rights Law that we can identify the duty of the States to adjust their domestic


legislation and implement public policies that include HRE as a strategy to foster “the attitudes and behaviours needed to uphold human rights for all members of society”.2 2) HRE, an approach to socio-cultural transformation In International Human Rights Law, in both the universal system (UN) and the Inter-American system (OAS), there is broad consensus regarding the right to education and to human rights education. Both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 26.2) and the Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights “Protocol of San Salvador” (Article 13.2) explicitly refer to the purpose of education. “... education should be directed towards the full development of the human personality and human dignity and should strengthen respect for human rights, ideological pluralism, fundamental freedoms, justice and peace. [...] education ought to enable everyone to participate effectively in a democratic and pluralistic society and achieve a decent existence and should foster understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations and all racial, ethnic or religious groups and promote activities for the maintenance of peace.” 3 From this perspective, receiving systematic, quality education that enables each and every one of us to understand human rights as a dimension of mutual respect leading to responsible coexistence with one’s own dignity and that of other individuals, groups and peoples implies viewing HRE as a human right in itself. 2 United Nations, Plan of Action, World Programme for Human Rights Education, First Phase (Resolution 59/113B – General Assembly). 3 Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. (OAS, 1989) PROTOCOL OF SAN SALVADOR. Art. 13.2.


This conception places formal education and, in particular, primary education, in a leading position for promotion, prevention and realization of human rights. Since it is mandatory for the States to generate educational public policy ensuring universal access for all school-age children,4 this provision of teaching with a focus on HRE becomes highly significant. Incorporating HRE, with its objectives, principles and content, to formal education is a vital step that contributes to, strengthens and consolidates a culture of respect for human dignity, moving towards democratic societies with social justice, respect for diversity, the promotion of equality and tolerance in the exercise of citizenship. “This report understands human rights education as the process of acquiring certain knowledge, values, attitudes and skills necessary to know, understand, assert and claim our own rights on the basis of standards established in various international instruments as reflected in domestic legislation.â€? (IIHR, VI Report 2007: 34). Education processes that take this approach must be understood as comprehensive or holistic (Magendzo, 2008), involving the cognitive, affective and attitudinal areas (Rodino, 1999, 2003). HRE thus gains strength as a right in itself with a two-fold meaning; a conception of human beings and a way of forming relationships with other people, as well as specific practices for respectful coexistence (PĂŠrez Aguirre, 1999). This means that HRE involves acts that include or contain the purpose of educating in and for human rights (Magendzo, 2008). That is, educating in the philosophy of human rights and also generating social and educational practices which respect the dignity of all people involved (Rodino, 1999, 2003). 4 Articles 13 and 14 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural

Rights, UN, 1966.


... we have moved far beyond merely providing information and ‘instruction’ on human rights. While never easy, it may be more straightforward to convey information about them, their history, the contents of the Universal Declaration, the Conventions... But educating is something else. To educate is to change attitudes and behaviour. It is to have an impact on hearts, lifestyles, beliefs. And it obviously can only be done in keeping with the attitudes of the educator him or herself. We cannot conceive of the educational process other than as a kind of empathy, of a mimesis of attitudes amongst both objects of the education process. And this leads me to suspect that education must always be an ethical task if it is anything at all. (Pérez Aguirre, L., 1999)

This turns HRE into a proposal for building and promoting a new ethical and political culture; the culture of human rights. Its foundation is rooted in critical thinking and committed practice. 3) HRE: a tool that builds meaning Education is an area for the construction of social and cultural meaning, as well as legitimized social practice. HRE, for its part, contextualizes human rights in real-life and specific situations (IIHR, 2006) and is perceived as a tool for emancipation. It enables human rights to move away from abstract ideas that are alien to the realities that people experience. As an agent of social change, HRE makes action possible in favour of human dignity. HRE involves knowledge, values and attitudes, and skills or capacity for action (IIHR) that should be developed in individuals and societies, in order to promote coexistence in permanent dialogue between individuals, groups and peoples.


However, we must also recognize that other conceptions and ways of understanding education exist in society (Mosca-Perez Aguirre, 1985), such as transmitting information, reproducing the domination of the hegemony and social control, and others.

Ana Laura Piñeyro Jardim She holds a licentiate degree in Psychology from the Faculty of Psychology of the University of the Republic of Uruguay (UDELAR) and a master’s degree in Human Rights from the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences of the National University of La Plata, Argentina (UNLP). Her research thesis was on “The Incorporation of Human Rights Education in the public education system, primary sector, in Uruguay”. She is experienced in the field of education at various levels of formal education and works directly with children, parents and teachers. She has also taught at university level, at the Faculty of Psychology, in the Educational Psychology area. She has extensive experience in Human Rights Education projects (HRE) in the Human Rights Directorate of the Ministry of Education and Culture. She has worked in teacher training for the Human Rights Directorate of CODICEN. She has also served as an external consultant for the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights (IIHR), in issues related to the right to education and HRE, and has taken part in a number of HRE projects for the IIHR Office for South America. analaurapi@hotmail.com


These conflicts and tensions that represent the contradictions between different visions of reality are part of every process of development and evolution in society. We should, therefore, not deny them, but accept them and bring them into dialogue, as a human characteristic. These contradictions are present in the educational practices of teachers (Magendzo, 2008), whether consciously or unconsciously. They are transmitted through people’s values and attitudes, beyond the explicit content developed in programmes, curricula and laws (IIHR) which govern public education established by States. Behavioural models and patterns represent the values and ideas which we pass on in the way we relate with others and with things. This is why it is important to train teachers in the critical analysis of realities and of their attitudes and actions (Freire, 1990, 1996), in accordance with the principles and values of human rights. “...culture is structured around social relations and communications networks. It entails the conjunction of different elements that make up a vision of the world, of the environment, of nature and of others. A certain way of interpreting the production of knowledge. Recognizing or denying one’s own potential. Building an identity linked to values, traditions and a shared history. In this sense, culture is a matrix that generates behaviours, attitudes, values, language codes, habits and social relations. In it are reproduced the relations of domination-dependency that are current in the society in which we live. But it is there that new alternatives can begin to take shape.” (Rebellato, J.L. 1997:10) In recognizing the complexity and contradictions of social life, we perceive that there are other significant actors in HRE, who are not part of the formal education system. These actors are


of great value when it comes to transmitting (or not) models and attitudes consistent with the principles of human rights. Among them are, for example, families, the media and other social and political agents (IIHR, 2006). Everything is expressed and manifested in the development of societies. It is part of social movement, of its evolution in communities, the places we occupy, the roles we play, how tension and conflict are processed; all of which makes for progress and social evolution. Being able to identify inconsistencies, the elements that pose difficulties, through critical analysis and reflection on situations and reality, as well as self-reflection, is what will make it possible to accept the issue, identify opportunities for dialogue and come up with resolution strategies (Freire, 1990, 1996). We can see how the different dimensions of HRE transcend the space-time dimensions of school, in order to give meaning to other processes of personal and social development in individuals and groups. “Thus, efforts to promote the enjoyment of other rights must not be undermined, and should be reinforced, by the values imparted in the educational process. This includes not only the content of the curriculum but also the educational processes, the pedagogical methods and the environment within which education takes place, whether it be the home, school, or elsewhere. Children do not lose their human rights by virtue of passing through the school gates.â€?5 HRE sheds light on the power wielded by schools, with universal access for all girls and boys, as a place in which to train rights-holders who can learn models and attitudes based 5 UNITED NATIONS, Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment N°

1, 2001, CRC/GC/2001/1, para.8


on the values and principles of human rights. It is in schools that we can work to develop societies where human dignity is a fundamental value in the relations between individuals and their contexts. Developing critical, communicative, cooperative capacity and solidarity will make it possible to think about and analyse the social contexts and realities in which children live, in order to act upon them. Self-reflection and self-evaluation will lead to making responsible decisions within the framework of democracy and the ethics of human rights. This requires teaching methodologies that are consistent with the values, objectives and principles of human rights, which cross-cut the entire educational field: from what is taught as content, relationships, links and the environment within institutional areas, to the conception and management of all educational bodies.

List of References FREIRE, Paulo, (1990) “Paulo Freire conversando con educadores, Montevideo”, Ed. Roca Viva, Montevideo Uruguay. FREIRE, Paulo, (1996) “Pedagogía de la autonomía, saberes necesarios para la práctica educativa”, Ed. Siglo XXI, 2nd. Edition, Argentina (2008). INTER-AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF HUMAN RIGHTS (IIHR), (2006)“Curricular and methodological proposal for incorporating human rights education into the formal education of children between 10 and 14 years”. Published by IIHR in San José, Costa Rica. INTER-AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF HUMAN RIGHTS (IIHR), “Inter-American Reports on Human Rights Education”. IIHR. Reports VI (2006), VII (2007), VIII (2008), IV (2009) and X (2010). Published by IIHR in San José, Costa Rica. MAGENDZO, Abraham (2008).”La escuela y los derechos humanos”. Ediciones Cal y Arena, Mexico.


MOSCA, J and PÉREZ AGUIRRE, L. (1985) “DERECHOS HUAMNOS, pautas para una educación liberadora” Ediciones Trilce, revised edition, Montevideo, Uruguay (2006). PÉREZ AGUIRRE, Luis María. (1999) “Si digo educar para los derechos humanos”, lecture at the IIHR. Diploma programme support material. AUSJAL-IIHR. Digital version at: http://ipes.anep.edu.uy/documentos/2011/ desafiliados/materiales/aguirre_dos.pdf REBELLATO, José Luis (1997). “Horizontes éticos en la práctica social del educador”. Published by the Children’s Institute of Uruguay (INAU) Montevideo, Uruguay. Digital publication at: http://www.inau.gub.uy/ biblioteca/rebellato%20horizontes.pdf RODINO, Ana María. (1999) “La educación en valores entendida como educación en derechos humanos. Sus desafíos contemporáneos en América Latina.” Published in the Journal of the IIHR/Inter-American Institute of Human Rights, N° 29, January-June 1999, San José, Costa Rica. RODINO Ana María. (2003). “Educación para la vida en democracia: Contenidos y orientaciones metodológicas”. Cuadernos Pedagógicos, IIHR.