Bulletin IINfancia N° 11 - July 2021

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Luis Almagro Secretary General - OAS Néstor Méndez Assistant Secretary General - OAS Lolis Salas Montes President - Directing Council IIN Teresa Martinez Vice President - Directing Council of the IIN Víctor Giorgi Director General – IIN Lic. Victoria Lucas Content Coordination - IIN Ingrid Quevedo Communication - IIN Sara Cardoso Design - IIN Edition July 2021

The Inter-American Institute for Children and Adolescents (IIN) is the Specialized Organization of the Organization of American States in matters of children and adolescents. As such, it assists the States in the development of public policies, contributing to their design and implementation from the perspective of promoting, protecting, and respecting the rights of children and adolescents in the region. Within this framework, the IIN pays special attention to the requirements of the Member States of the Inter-American System and to the particularities of regional groups.

INDEX Prologue........................................................................................................9 Children’s agency, children’s rights and the digital environment...................13 Transition to an independent life for teenagers leaving care institutes in Bolivia: an analysis with a rightsbased approach.....................................................................................22

Childhood in the digital environment: participation and privacy shaping new exclusions in the regulatory field in the Americas..........................................................................36

URUGUAY: Challenges to the Implementation of Efficient and Effective Public Policies in relation to Law 18214, the Personal Integrity of Children Act..........52

Female Child and Adolescent Offenders, a brief criminological study...........................................................................62

The “Land and Freedom” Child Development Centres of the State of Colima, Mexico and play from the perspective of: A Good Start..........................................................75

Los conceptos expresados en esta publicación son responsabilidad de cada autor. El IIN se complace en habilitar este espacio de intercambio y reflexión con la región.


Mental Health in Early Childhood. Art and roots in urban territories....................................................................................89

The most common, curable birth defect —a major cause of physical disability— is still widely underresourced and untreated in Latin America and beyond.......................................................................................................102

Globalization, Rights and Education......................................117

Building cultures of peace from early childhood.........127

From Lournal L’Enfant to the Newsletter of the Inter-American Children’s Institute: an analysis of periodicals on child care and protection between 1890 and 1927......................................................................................................141

Click to go back to index



Prologue Víctor Giorgi

Director-General of IIN-OAS

The Inter-American Children’s Institute is pleased to present this eleventh issue of the IIN-fancia Newsletter, following up on an editorial project begun six years ago. This publication takes place on a date steeped in history for our institution. It was on 9 June 1927 that ten countries signed the founding charter of the American Institute for the Protection of Children. In turn, in 2017, the OAS, in commemoration of the 90th anniversary of that foundational act, designated 9 June as Americas Children and Youth Day. One date, two celebrations with a great deal of meaning, which account for 94 years of history with continued commitments to the well-being of children and the Americanist conception; and with rifts, transformations in the incorporation of new perspectives and new paradigms providing a focal point from which to work for and – more recently – with children and adolescents, recognized as a collective subject. 9

As in any commemoration, these dates encourage us to have a look at the path of history travelled, but also to think about the meanings that that history and its legacies acquire at every moment and historical circumstance. Today, the region and the world are experiencing an unprecedented crisis. The pandemic, beyond its medical and health-related implications, comprehensively affects the lives of us all, including children and adolescents. Acting as a kind of highlighter, it has shed light on certain aspects that had always been present in our societies, but that we were not able, did not want or could not bring ourselves to see: inequities, violence, exclusion, objectification of childhood, the weakness of protection systems. The societies of the Americas, even the most highly developed, were not able to keep their populations safe; that is, to ensure access to the minimum necessary for a decent life in any critical situation. This is very far from being the reality of the region and our daily work with children gives evidence of it. In this publication, readers will find a diversity of contributions. Some of them are related to issues that have been on the agenda of rights for some time, but that today are revealed much more dramatically. Others are not explicitly related to the effects of the pandemic, but touch on issues related to the realization of rights that are not foreign to this context. On this occasion we have included a paper that provides a historical look at the emergence and evolution of ways of thinking about child protection, not as an invitation to contemplate the past, but as a contribution that enhances our understanding of the debates and positions that cut across the field of childhood today. The new and harsh reality that the region is undergoing does not displace from the agenda the great issues that were being addressed before. It underscores them, sharpens them, infuses them with new elements, but we must resist the temptation 10

to take the pandemic and its effects as a “smokescreen” that conceals the structural aspects of the most unequal and violent region of the planet. Poverty, violence and exclusion are not the result of the virus, but of our social, economic and political dynamics. At the IIN, the conviction that current urgencies could not divert us from the direction determined by our Action Plan (20192023) led us to strive to include the emerging demands of the crisis within the broad courses of action we had anticipated. As we have often said, our Action Plan is our “navigation chart”, and as such it should be flexible, so that we can face the unforeseen without veering away from our course. This “listening to reality” led us to prioritize new work areas. An example of this is the key importance that digital environments have assumed as venues for the promotion and protection of rights; or the place of education, not as a curricular process but as a social area for cross-generational encounters and a privileged area for the presence of the State in the territories and in the daily life of children, adolescents and families. These new areas of work on old topics are referred to in various contributions included in this newsletter. The history of the region shows us that children’s and adolescents’ access to their rights has always been more a result of economic cycles than of legal or regulatory progress. The future is uncertain, but even the most optimistic forecasts agree that the region faces difficult years ahead, during which the promotion of child rights will require technical rigour, ethical commitment and the ability to coordinate efforts with different organizations and stakeholders. The history of the Americas and their children abounds in crises, insecurities and suffering; but also in creativity, resilience and the ability to overcome adversity. In this regard, we reaffirm the historic commitment of the IIN to continue 11

working for and with children and adolescents to make their rights a daily reality. Finally, we cannot fail to thank all of those who, despite these difficult times, have accepted our invitation and have made efforts to share their reflections and experiences in this space. It is a heterogeneous group of people in terms of nationality, training, institutional affiliations and theoretical reference frameworks, but, as on other occasions, they have converged in an editorial space whose main focal point is the promotion and protection of the rights of children and adolescents. We hope that this publication will provide a modest contribution to reflection, analysis and much-needed thinking at these critical times when reality challenges us to the extreme and demands from all of us commitment and clarity to move towards a horizon of equity and social integration in which the dignity of children and adolescents is fully respected. Montevideo, June 2021


Children’s agency, children’s rights and the digital environment Dr. Gabriela Martínez Sainz University College Dublin This year, the Committee on the Rights of the Child adopted its General Comment 25 on the rights of the child in relation to the digital environment, which seeks to assist States in implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) by providing clear guidelines and specific guidance on the measures that different actors should take to ensure the protection and promotion of the rights of children and adolescents in this digital age. This paper discusses the importance of considering the impact of the digital environment on the exercise of children’s rights when designing public policies and educational programmes. In addressing one of the emerging challenges – the protection of personal data and children’s right to privacy – it is possible to discuss the essential role of education in rights, including digital rights, to ensure that children can make informed, autonomous and safe decisions regarding their own privacy, intimacy and online identity. Children’s rights in the digital environment The pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) exacerbated the use of digital technologies in all areas by people around the world, including children and adolescents. In this way, 13

the digital environment and the role of digital technologies became essential to safeguard some of children’s rights, such as the right to education, access to information and even health services. Because of this, the adoption of General Comment 25 came at a decisive moment and constituted an essential tool for guaranteeing children’s rights in this environment. This General Comment gives an official interpretation of how to understand the principles and articles of the CRC in the face of the emerging challenges posed by the digital environment and the considerable use of digital technologies by children and adolescents. Hundreds of children and adolescents were consulted when drafting the Comment and, most unusually, several of the comments they made on the opportunities offered by the digital environment, as well as the challenges posed to the exercise of their rights and the risks to which they are exposed, were incorporated verbatim. This General Comment is key, as it responds to the need to ‘update’ the contents of the CRC to bring it into line with the realities of the digital age and thus ensure the validity of the text in the face of emerging challenges. One of these challenges is the collection, analysis and use of children’s personal data by companies and organizations responsible for the supply, design, management and use of the digital environment. Regulations are required to ensure the protection of children’s personal data and to safeguard their right to privacy. The right to the protection of personal data, as argued by Ornelas (2011, p.85), “is derived from a transformation, from the conception of the right to privacy and intimacy, to the shaping of a new fundamental right endowed with its own characteristics”. According to the author, the right to the protection of personal data extends individuals’ protection – of their privacy and their intimacy – in relation to the processing of their information by third parties, whether governmental institutions or private concerns. In this regard, it is understood that this new right not only collects, but expands the object of the right to privacy and 14

the right to intimacy; since in addition to protecting a person’s private data, it covers any that may be used by third parties and risk harming some other fundamental right or guarantee (Arellano, 2012, p.152). The right to the protection of personal data, unlike the right to intimacy, is legally recognized by several countries and, in contrast to the right to privacy, has specific provisions and legal mechanisms for its exercise. However, these mechanisms do not always include specific considerations for children and adolescents, nor do they anticipate differential treatment or legal provisions that significantly address their particular needs (Bernier, 2011; Davara Fernández de Marcos, 2010; Millán, 2012; Monterrey & Castillo, 2011). Digital literacy for the protection and promotion of children’s rights in the digital environment Prior research has shown that children are interested in protecting their personal data on the Internet, but that to achieve this they require greater knowledge and skills (Pangrazio & Selwyin, 2018; Livingstone, S., & Third, A., 2017). As the results of this study show, the programmes developed in Mexico, even while they show evidence of the political will to advance the digital rights agenda, are insufficient for the development of the knowledge and skills required. In fact, in many cases, these programmes represent an obstacle to this objective as they incorporate unsafe learning experiences for children and adolescents. Exercising the right to privacy and intimacy online is a complex task, not only for children and adolescents but for people in general. As the research conducted by Pangrazio and Selwyin (2018) demonstrates, online personal data decisions that must be made to ensure privacy and intimacy require users to understand complex digital communication structures and processes in addition to personal, ethical and social implications. Given this complexity, basic content limited 15

to the transmission of information proves to be insufficient. Programmes and public policies must seek to make children and adolescents ‘digitally literate’, so education about personal data, privacy and intimacy online must necessarily include the development of skills that allow them to make informed decisions. A critical part of education on digital rights, privacy and personal data requires critical analysis of the situations that children and adolescents face in the digital environment. Educational programmes must show some of these situations in a way that is accessible and relevant for children and adolescents from an early age. As Simon (2011) suggests, “children should be trained in easy language, to enable understanding of the spirit of protecting their own private lives and those of others” (p.33). However, programmes are framed mainly from a perspective of digital security, with an emphasis on the risks, rather than on digital rights, with an emphasis on the possibilities that they represent for children and adolescents. In line with what Esquivel and Díaz (2011) suggest, the importance of educating for privacy and digital rights is that it will allow children and adolescents to analyse the risks they face, establish their own protection strategies and make decisions about the possibilities presented to them. This requires not only a critical approach to education, but a non-adult-centric view of children’s agency regarding the online privacy and intimacy of children and adolescents. Children’s agency and digital rights An adult-centric perspective on digital rights education in general, and on the right to privacy and the protection of personal data focuses all decision-making processes on adults. Public policies and educational programmes that are designed from this adult-centric perspective ultimately undermine children’s agency by limiting them to a passive role in which decisions about their own privacy and intimacy devolve upon 16

the adults around them. A change of perspective implies that children and adolescents are at the centre of decision-making that concerns them, including in the digital environment. Children’s agency, as explained by various authors (Biesta and Tedder, 2006; González Coto, M., 2012; Valentine, K., 2009), involves recognizing children and adolescents as active and autonomous individuals, capable of making decisions about their own lives. Pangrazio and Selwyn (2018) argue that children’s agency in a digital environment incorporates the actions taken by individuals, the degree of self-determination and decision-making based on their own needs, but also on the concerns and risks they face. The results of this study show the need for educational programmes to be designed to enable children and adolescents to explore, reflect and decide on their own privacy and intimacy. This implies, as suggested by Ornelas (2011), elucidating the way in which programmes allow children and adolescents to exercise their agency according to their age and maturity. Which is also consistent with the principle of progressive autonomy for children, as guaranteed in the Convention. In order to comply adequately with their legal obligations regarding the protection of personal data, the States need to take digital rights education seriously through their public policies and programmes. Such education should start from a perspective focused on children and adolescents and their agency. This translates into acknowledging their active role as users of the digital environment, designing programmes whose contents strengthen autonomy, reflection and decisionmaking; programmes that aim to train and not only inform about online privacy and intimacy. In this way, the programmes themselves offer learning experiences through which it is the children and adolescents who can make decisions about their online protection, how and with whom they share their privacy. This involves commitments beyond programme design and has clear implications for adults, not just parents 17

Gabriela Martinez Sainz Dr Gabriela Martinez Sainz is a Professor of Education at University College Dublin. She specializes in children’s rights, global citizenship education, and sustainable development education. Her research and teaching focuses on the teaching of and learning about key elements essential for global, plural and sustainable societies. Her current research projects focus on understanding the impact of digital spaces and how they can be leveraged for global citizenship education. Dr Martinez Sainz is joint director of the Rights Education Network (REN) at University College Dublin and co-founder of Child Rights Chat, a multinational project that creates digital spaces for learning about children’s rights, their legal instruments and the challenges for their protection and promotion in practice. As a researcher, she has been connected to the Centre for Human Rights and Citizenship Education at Dublin City University, the Brazilian Centre for Analysis and Planning, CEBRAP, the Centre of Governance & Human Rights of the University of Cambridge, and the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies of the University of Oxford. She has worked as an educational consultant for international organizations such as UNICEF Mexico and Child Rights Connect, in projects related to human rights and education for peace, professional development, child participation and school coexistence.

and guardians, but teachers and other adults working with and for children and adolescents. As Peschard Mariscal (2011) explains, the Internet is a space that “demands great responsibilities from the adult who is close to the child” including a responsibility to learn about the risks faced by children and adolescents online, to be trained in how they can protect them, but also, to be educated in how to allow children and adolescents to gradually and responsibly learn to make decisions about their privacy and intimacy in a digital environment. This implies providing tools for children and adolescents to face digital challenges, ensuring that they have areas for analysis and reflection that gradually lead them to actively determine their own online privacy, intimacy and identity. 18

References • Arellano, W. (2012). Privacidad y protección de datos en internet: España, la Unión Europea y México. In, Tenorio, G., Los datos personales en México: perspectivas y retos de su manejo en posesión de particulares, pp.143-168. Mexico: Porrúa. • Bernier, C. (2011). El Memorándum de Montevideo: un marco de referencia para la protección de los datos personales de los jóvenes en Internet en la región Iberoamericana. In, Gregorio, C. & Ornelas, L. [Eds.] Protección de datos personales en las redes sociales digitales: en particular de niños y adolescentes. Memorándum de Montevideo. Mexico: Instituto Federal de Acceso a la Información y Protección de Datos, Instituto de Investigación para la Justicia. • Biesta, G. & Tedder, M. (2006). How is agency possible? Towards an ecological understanding of agency - as achievement. Exeter: University of Exeter. • Cobo, C; Cortesi, S; Brossi, L; Doccetti, S; Lombana, A; Remolina, N; Winocur, R, and Zucchetti, A. (Eds.). (2018). Jóvenes, transformación digital y formas de inclusión en América Latina. Montevideo: Penguin Random House. • Davara Fernández de Marcos, I. (2010) “Protección de datos de carácter personal en México: problemática jurídica y estatus normativo actual” in, Instituto Federal de Acceso a la Información Pública [Ed.] Protección de datos personales: compendio de lecturas y legislación. Mexico: Tiro Corto Editores. • Gil, E. (2016). Big data, privacidad y protección de datos. Madrid: Imprenta Nacional de la Agencia Estatal. • González Coto, M. (2012). La agencia de la niña y el niño en la condición preciudadana. Electronic journal, “Actualidades Investigativas en Educación”, 12 (2), 1-19. • Gregorio, C. (2011). Impacto y evolución de las redes sociales digitales: libertades y derechos. In, Gregorio, C. & Ornelas, L. [Eds.] Protección de datos personales en las redes sociales digitales: en particular de niños y adolescentes. Memorándum de Montevideo. Mexico: Instituto Federal de Acceso a la Información y Protección de Datos, Instituto de Investigación para la Justicia.


• Livingstone, S., & Third, A. (2017). Children and Young People’s Rights in the Digital Age: an emerging agenda. New Media & Society, 19(5), 657–670. • Millán, A. (2012). Reconocimiento normativo del derecho a la protección de los datos personales en el ámbito internacional. Mexico: Instituto de Acceso a la Información Pública y Protección de Datos Personales del Distrito Federal. Retrieved from: http://www.infodf.org.mx/comsoc/campana/2012/ LIbrodatosPweb.pdf • Monterrey, E. & Castillo,G. (2011). La protección de datos personales. Retos de la protección de dato personales en el sector público. Mexico, Instituto de Acceso a la Información Pública y Protección de Datos Personales del Distrito Federal. Retrieved from: http://www.infodf.org.mx/comsoc/campana/2012/ LIbrodatosPweb.pdf • Mossberger, K., Tolbert, C. J., & Mcneal, R. S. (2008). Digital Citizenship. The Internet, Society and Participation. London: The MIT Press. • Ornelas, L. (2011). El derecho de las niñas, niños y adolescentes a la protección de sus datos personales: evolución de derechos y su exigencia frente a las redes sociales. In, Gregorio, C. & Ornelas, L. [Eds.] Protección de datos personales en las redes sociales digitales: en particular de niños y adolescentes. Memorándum de Montevideo. Mexico: Instituto Federal de Acceso a la Información y Protección de Datos, Instituto de Investigación para la Justicia. • Pangrazio, L., & Selwyn, N. (2018). “It’s Not Like It’s Life or Death or Whatever”: Young People’s Understandings of Social Media Data. Social Media and Society, 4(3). • Peschard Mariscal, J. (2011) Protección de las niñas, niños y adolescentes en el ámbito digital: responsabilidad democrática de las instituciones del gobierno y de las agencias de protección de datos. In, Gregorio, C. & Ornelas, L. [Eds.] Protección de datos personales en las redes sociales digitales: en particular de niños y adolescentes. Memorándum de Montevideo. Mexico: Instituto Federal de Acceso a la Información y Protección de Datos, Instituto de Investigación para la Justicia. • Ribble, M. (2011). Digital Citizenship in Schools: Nine Elements All Students Should Know. (2nd Ed.). Eugene: ISTE, 2011.


• Reyes, A. (2012). Legislación mexicana en materia de Protección de Datos Personales; Autorregulación y Sellos de Confianza. In, Tenorio, G. [Ed.], Los datos personales en México: perspectivas y retos de su manejo en posesión de particulares, pp. 27-51. Mexico: Porrúa. • Simon, F. (2011). El enfoque de derechos en el “Memorándum de Montevideo”. In, Gregorio, C. & Ornelas, L. [Eds.] Protección de datos personales en las redes sociales digitales: en particular de niños y adolescentes. Memorándum de Montevideo. Mexico: Instituto Federal de Acceso a la Información y Protección de Datos, Instituto de Investigación para la Justicia. • Valentine, K. (2009). Accounting for agency. Children & Society, 25(5), 347– 358.


Transition to an independent life

for teenagers leaving care institutes in Bolivia: an analysis with a rights-based approach Marcela Losantos Velasco

1. Introduction The Report on Measurement and Monitoring of Deinstitutionalization in Latin America and the Caribbean (RELAF & UNICEF, 2016) has concluded that there are different reasons why children may lose parental care, but the ways in which States characterize the situation and build models of care in response to it are even more heterogeneous. In the case of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, a report by the Ministry of Justice and Institutional Transparency and UNICEF (2015) disclosed that in Bolivia there are 5678 children in foster care centres in this country and 73% of them are between 13 and 18 years old, which means that many will probably reach adulthood in a residential care centre. This, despite the fact that the New Children’s Code (2014) stipulates that foster care centres must always be circumstantial and must be used as an exceptional, provisional and transitional measure. The experience of permanent institutionalization is delicate. On the one hand, in many cases it is the only protection


measure available (Melendro, de-Juanas and Rodríguez, 2017). However, on the other, some studies attribute the situation to a kind of negligence on the part of the State and its authorities, failing to resolve care by alternative means that respect the right to live in a family. Young people who reach adulthood in care centres must transition to independent living much faster than any other young people of the same age, facing complex challenges such as finding housing and work, caring for their health, and completing their studies, while emotionally adapting to solitude (Sulimani-Aidan, & Melkman, 2018). In this state of affairs, the research study probes into the individual and institutional conditions of young people leaving care centres when they reach adulthood, in the main cities in Bolivia. For this purpose, both adolescents in their final years of residential care and young people who left care centres in the last two years prior to this research study were consulted regarding their experiences. The following sections will discuss methodology, main findings and conclusions. In concluding this introduction, it should be noted that this is the first study of its kind conducted in Bolivia. 2. Research methodology 2.1 Participants The research study was conducted with two groups of participants: 1) adolescent boys and girls living in care centres who are preparing to leave the centre and begin living independently; and 2) young people who left the care system when they reached the age of majority.


Table 1. Study participants


As table 1 shows, a total of 386 young people were involved, of whom 309 were in residential care and 77 had already left the care system. Of all of these, 53.6% were female and 46.4% were male. The study was carried out in La Paz, El Alto, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz, as they concentrate the largest number of care centres and, therefore, the largest percentage of the population living under this residential care regime. 2.2. Data collection A mixed methodology was employed, through the application of self-administered online surveys and semi-structured interviews. Surveys were conducted through Google Forms with closedended, single-choice and multiple-choice questions. The tool used was an adaptation of two questionnaires, one used in the study Entre o acolhimento institucional e a vida adulta: uma análise do proceso de transição [Between institutional care and adult life: an analysis of the transition process]. Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil (Perez, 2018) and the other was employed in the study La transición a la vida adulta de jóvenes sin cuidados parentales: aproximaciones para una 1 AAL: Adolescents about to leave YL: Young leavers


realidad inexplorada [“The transition to adult life of young people without parental care: approaches for an unexplored reality”] (Incarnato, 2018). In-depth interviews were based on an interview guide with questions similar to those in the survey, but in an open-ended question format, in order to broaden the information received. A total of 34 interviews were conducted. 2.3. Information Analysis Based on these analysis units, data collection tools were developed, as well as tools for information processing and analysis. Quantitative data were processed through SPSS statistical software, while the Content Analysis technique was used for qualitative information. 2.4. Ethical considerations The research work was carried out on the basis of three general ethical principles: confidentiality, autonomy and benefit. All information was handled confidentially. Only the research team had access to the participants’ identity and personal details. In order to comply with the principle of autonomy, although participants were contacted through the care centres to which they belonged, or had belonged, their participation was on a voluntary basis, with their prior consent and knowledge of the nature and purpose of the study. Finally, regarding the principle of benefit, the research made sure to avoid the revictimization of the participants. To this end, all members of the research team participated in a


Marcela Losantos Velasco Marcela Losantos Velasco holds a licentiate degree in Psychology, a master’s degree in Health Psychology and a PhD in Psychology from Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Catholic University of Bolivia “San Pablo”. Currently, she is coordinator of the Institute for Research in Behavioural Sciences, postgraduate lecturer for the speciality and for the master’s degree in Family Therapy of the Department of Psychology and national coordinator of the VLIR-UOS Inter-University Cooperation Programme, with Flemish Universities in Belgium. Her research in social vulnerability and children’s and adolescents’ rights earned her a Summa Cum Laude degree in 2015 from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and during the 2018 period she received the Marie Curie award for her research career from the National Academy of Sciences of Bolivia.

process of awareness-raising and training on the subject and on the principles of protection when working with a population without parental care. 3. Findings The findings of the study are shown according to the most significant issues related to the conditions in which young people leave the care centres, considering in the analysis whether these conditions are aligned with the rights-based approach that should prevail in the care provided to this population group. Institutionalization experience Among the young people consulted, results regarding their age of admission to the care system and their environment of origin show that the ages of the majority at the time of admission to the care centre ranged between 7 and 12, exceeding 40% 26

of participants in both groups. If this is analysed in light of the fact that the study participants were between 16 and 18 years old, it implies an average stay range in the care centres of between seven and eleven years. This prolonged sojourn seems to deepen the perception of not being prepared to leave and live independently. This is evidenced by 52.9% of young people living in care centres stating that they perceived that they were not prepared to leave. An essential issue related to the feeling of being prepared to leave is training and job insertion. Both stand out among the concerns of young participants, as only 50% have been trained in a technical career prior to leaving. “Go off and apply,” because I’m already 18 “...you don’t have to depend on us any more, you have to look for work on your own”. Eh, on the one hand, they are right, yes, I understand; but no..., what bothers me the most is that... they constantly pressure me, every time... the same thing, let’s say, and it’s very complicated...” (Personal communication, young male about to leave. El Alto, 2019)

The lack of technical or vocational training inevitably results in precarious and informal working conditions, which, combined with other factors such as the absence of a social support network, the limited possibility of medical or professional assistance and others, can result in a very difficult transition process towards autonomy. Regarding training expectations, when young leavers were consulted on the level of education they would like to reach, 78% said they would like to attend university. This figure is significant in the light of the data on job placement, which


reveals that 76% of young leavers state that work is their main occupation, rather than studying. In other words, by contrasting the desire to pursue university studies with the need to prioritize the generation of income through paid work, we can confirm that more than 70% of young leavers lack opportunities to become professional and are therefore at a disadvantage when it comes to job placement, thus joining the bulk of informal sources of work in Bolivia. Also, when comparing this information with data on the type of employment accessed by this population, we observe that their job placement is unrelated to the technical training they may have received. Among young leavers, the main area in which they work is that of customer service (22.2%) and sales (39%), and far below are those trades in which they were trained, such as cooking (4.4 %), automotive mechanics (2.2%) or hairdressing (1.7%). Transition to independent life The moment of leaving a care centre is determined – nearly always – by the age of majority, since their legal status becomes that of adult citizens upon reaching the age of 18. Among the young people surveyed, the main reason for leaving was having completed their schooling and/or attained the age of majority. However, the study found that there are other factors that must be taken into account before the formal protection system decides whether a young person is ready to leave. For example, having a social support network is essential to cushion the stressful events young people face in their transition to autonomous living. According to the literature on the population in residential care (García, 2017; Melandro, 2011; López, Santos, Bravo and del Valle, 2013), an effective social support network can make the difference between success or failure in adapting to the new circumstances. However, the networks of these young people are often fragile and very limited, due to the breakdown of social ties as 28

a result of the early loss of parental care and confinement in care centres. When asked about the quality and frequency of family ties, it was found that just over a third had regular contact with their family, between once a week (22.2%) and once a month (14.7%), although a considerable percentage had practically lost contact with their family of origin (23.5%). The social support network comes mainly from the institutional context of the care centre where the young people live or lived and from the family context, where the link is rather weak. A not insignificant detail is that participants’ accounts show a lack of trust in others – new people or people outside the institutional context who could provide them with effective support – and difficulty in establishing friendships and sustaining closer emotional ties, outside of their previous institutional life. On the other hand, further information on the topic shows that for the majority of young people the transition to autonomous life meant living alone independently (29.3%), followed by those who went to live with siblings (24.1%) and then those who left the centre to live with their partners (10.3%). Transitions to parents’ and/or grandparents’ homes are the least frequent; amounting to only 3.4% of young leavers. Transition risk factors Risk factors that negatively affect the transition to autonomous life, hindering independence and adaptation to the new context, include: a) fearing the lack of a reliable and stable emotional and proximity environment, b) a lack of savings for their daily sustenance, c) unclear rights and duties in their new adult status, and, d) a lack of awareness regarding their health care, associated with the lack of health insurance. Several young people who leave the care system also reported that by living in a care centre they had become accustomed to “having everything”, which had a negative impact on their


independence. Similarly, for some, confinement in a care centre limits their knowledge of the outside world and when they leave to begin an autonomous life, they do not know how to handle themselves, do not know the city and often feel disoriented. “I always got lost, I had to leave an hour earlier for my job, earlier, earlier, an hour, half an hour to go, and half an hour to find the workplace, I used to get lost. I used to go round and round, never finding my workplace, that happened to me several times.” (Personal communication, young leaver, Cochabamba. 2018).

“The boys here think that since they give them everything, they think that outside it will still be the same, and they have to know how to survive outside anyway.” (Personal communication, young leaver, La Paz. 2018).

Protective factors for a successful transition2 Factors of protection for successful independence included: a) having joint leaving plans with several of their peers at the centre, b) having clarity regarding their rights and duties, c) having established habits and routines, d) having support in finding housing, e) having a job at the time of leaving, f) having emotional support and feeling supported if they fail, g) being able to establish friendships, h) participating in external activities, and, i) knowing about health care. In addition, participation/membership in social groups and institutions such as churches was considered important. 2 We use the term successful transition to refer to those conditions that facilitate independent living, although this does not necessarily mean success in all aspects of independent living.


Finally, research has shown an intersection between risk and protective factors. Thus, for example, there is a one-way relationship between the fear of loneliness as a risk factor and having a joint leaving plan as a protection factor, especially when institutional life has meant always having company. Another obvious relationship is the perception of financial insecurity at the time of leaving, versus having some savings acting as a buffer. In this regard, although institutional practices show that it may be possible to save during the last period of a young person’s stay, the amount of money saved seems not to be sufficient to grant financial security at leaving time. A third connection has to do with uncertainty regarding access to health services versus universal insurance. Although health coverage will not be a concern at the time of leaving, it becomes a central and fundamental issue for the independence of young leavers. In Bolivia, effective universal health insurance does not yet exist, so if a need arises, it must be covered by young people’s own funds or, at best, by the care centres or support programmes in the transition to autonomous life. The examples cited are just a few of the factors that could become protective factors upon the departure of young people and their transition to an autonomous life with full citizenship. However, this requires the participation of several sectors and at various levels: institutional, private and State, which in combination, can comprehensively improve these conditions. 4. Conclusions The aim of this contribution was to build knowledge regarding the current conditions in which a young person moves towards


independent life after reaching the age of majority in a care centre, informing our analysis with a rights-based approach. Our research has led to the conclusion that the transition to an independent life after a long period of institutionalization, is not simple. Factors specific to the individual’s circumstances, family history and the history of institutionalization itself are key elements that will play for or against independence. However, there are also factors pertaining to the care/ institutionalization model itself that are key in this transition process: issues such as preparation for leaving, the usefulness and importance of the individual’s life project, technical preparation, security in living conditions and sources of work, are, among others, extremely important issues that, in combination with individual factors, may strengthen or hinder independence. The institutionalization history of the young participants shows an average stay in institutions of between seven and twelve years. This reflects, first of all, a violation of the right to live in a family environment. However, it should be understood that, in Bolivia, the New Children’s Code was only enacted in 2014, specifically and emphatically addressing the right to family life and it was only in April 2017 that the Plurinational Plan for its implementation was submitted. This means that the young participants in the study belong to the “sandwich” generation, between the previous code and this new one. And, although the experience of institutionalization is perceived by the participants as mostly positive, it should be emphasized that this has significant consequences when it comes to the transition to independent life. The first and perhaps most important is a progressive distancing from their families of origin. Findings show that, despite having consanguineous families, the young people themselves do not consider them to be their main significant adults at the time 32

of leaving and do not consider the possibility of returning to them, although they do suggest staying in contact. However, it can be inferred from their own accounts that these teenagers and young people come from what is known in the literature as “multi-problem families” (Minuchin & Montalvo, 1967). Families with family structure and organization issues, as well as issues such as alcoholism and violence. Their return therefore depends on a serious assessment of their families’ current characteristics (at the time of leaving), but also on long-term work to be done by care centres to strengthen the families from which they originate. The second consequence is their limited contact with the outside world. Authors such as Liebel (2009) discuss how the right of guardianship supersedes the right of citizen participation of institutionalized young people. This also results in the scant training in making decisions that young men and women may have received when they leave their care centres. While citizen participation is a right, it is also a skill acquired through being exercised, so if persons are not sufficiently trained in it, it may not develop, as evidenced by the testimonies of young people who demand better preparation to deal with the world beyond the institution. Finally, one last point has to do with the relationship between job placement or employability opportunities and social support networks. Effective employability requires contact points and networks. However, the findings regarding social support networks show that care centres and their own friends are young people’s closest networks of contact. In fact, while they do detect the presence of social support, only a small percentage feel part of these networks permanently. The study – the first of its kind in Bolivia – sheds light on a number of features of the current model of institutionalization and leaving on which we should reflect. In the transitional period when young people are leaving their care centres, 33

their rights as adolescents overlap with their human rights in general. It is from this confluent perspective that the current care model should be analysed, to ensure that all efforts made by care centres and social service institutions can result in successful, decent and full lives for the young people who leave them. Acknowledgements: This research study is the joint effort of the Instituto de Investigaciones en Ciencias del Comportamiento (IICC) [Institute for Behavioural Science Research] of the Bolivian Catholic University “San Pablo”, the TIA Foundation, the RIBAAJEP Network (Red Interinstitucional Boliviana para el Apoyo a Adolescentes y Jóvenes Egresados de Protección) [Interinstitutional Bolivian Network for the Support of Adolescents and Young Care Leavers] and the Observatorio de la Deuda Social en Bolivia (ODSB) [Observatory of Social Debt in Bolivia]. Special thanks are due to the research team: Paloma GutiérrezLeón, Ana María Arias, Carla Andrade, Clara Clementi, Jazmín Mazó and Luciana Vargas.

References • García, L. (2017). La intervención socioeducativa en el proceso de emancipación de jóvenes acogidos en el sistema de protección. • Incarnato, M. A. (2018). La transición a la vida adulta de jóvenes sin cuidados parentales: aproximaciones para una realidad inexplorada (Master’s degree thesis, Buenos Aires: FLACSO. Argentine Academic Headquarters). • Liebel, M. (2009). Significados de la historia de derechos de la infancia. In, A. Cussiánovich (Ed.), Infancia y derechos humanos: Hacia una ciudadanía participante y protagónica (pp. 23-40). Lima: Ifejant.


• López, M., Santos, I., Bravo, A., & Del Valle, J. F. (2013). El proceso de transición a la vida adulta de jóvenes acogidos en el sistema de protección infantil. Revisión de la investigación y respuestas. Anales de Psicología/Annals of Psychology, 29 (1), 187-196. • Melendro E, M., de-Juanas Oliva, A., & Rodriguez, A. E. (2017). Deficiencies in socio-educational intervention with families of adolescents in risk of exclusion. Bordon-revista de Pedagogia, 69(1), 123-138. • Ministry of Justice and Institutional Transparency (2015). Estudio sobre Niñas, Niños y Adolescentes en cuidado institucional: Una aproximación a la situación de niños, niñas y adolescentes que residen en centros de acogida en Bolivia. Unicef: La Paz, Bolivia. • Minuchin, S., & Montalvo, B. (1967). Techniques for working with disorganized low socioeconomic families. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 37(5), 880. • Plurinacional, A. L. (2014). Ley 548: Código niño, niña y adolescente [Children’s Code]. Plurinational State of Bolivia. • Perez, L. C. (2018). Entre o acolhimento institucional e a vida adulta: uma análise do processo de transição. Retrieved: 22 March 2019. Available at: https://lume.ufrgs.br/handle/10183/188726 • Red Latinoamericana de Acogimiento Familiar [Latin American Foster Care Network] RELAF and UNICEF (2020) Informe Final Proyecto RELAF [Final Report]. Retrieved from: http://www.relaf.org/informe.pdf • Sulimani-Aidan, Y., & Melkman, E. (2018). Risk and resilience in the transition to adulthood from the point of view of care leavers and caseworkers. Children and Youth Services Review, 88, 135-140


Childhood in the digital environment:

participation and privacy shaping new exclusions in the regulatory field in the Americas Juan Ignacio Gianibelli and Juan Ignacio Azcune

“The years of the future that we shall have prepared for will preserve my sweet belief in tenderness, the assembly of the world will be a gathered child.” Juan Gelman I.- Childhood in Digital Environments. Convention on the Rights of the Child. Its regulatory dimension. The concepts of childhood, adolescence and participation have not always been defined in this way and, in this sense, when addressing them, we must perceive that “they are social, dynamic and culturally variable constructs”.1 So, too, with the conceptualizations and ways of addressing the various social issues. Social representations, as Burman says, constitute a projection screen on which conceptions about nature and its relationship with society are inscribed.2 1 BURMAN, 1994, cited by PALADINO, Celia “Discursos y omisiones de la psicología evolutiva” Universidad Nacional de La Plata, 2011 http://sedici.unlp.edu.ar/bitstream/handle/10915/3243/Documento_completo.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y 2 VILLALTA, Carla, Entregas y secuestros. El rol del Estado en la apropiación de niños, Buenos Aires, Editores del Puerto, 2013.


While talking about children’s rights in a highly technologicized environment alludes to a difficult balance to reach, what is clear is that not providing them with the opportunities, tools and a digital education violates their rights and, even more, diminishes the benefits they may derive from the use of the network in different areas of their lives, in both the short and the long term. ICTs and the Internet in particular have a direct and indirect influence on freedom of expression, on the right to receive and disseminate information, as well as on the right to free association and identity, among other rights that are protected by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (henceforth CRC) (OHCHR, n.d.). This context makes it important to analyse how the appropriation and use of ICTs make it possible to exercise rights, as well as, in other cases, suffer violations. Because of this, this paper seeks to explore the impact of the use of ICTs in relation to rights, with an attempt to answer the following questions: How do children and adolescents appropriate new technologies and, in particular, the Internet? What are the opportunities and risks posed by this appropriation? How does this access and use relate to the CRC? We are convinced that it is the participation of children themselves in the drafting of self-care guidelines, based on their own experiences. When we talk about producing selfcare guidelines, it is essential that they should be drafted jointly with the students based on their personal experiences in ICT environments and on those that they have heard from their peers. Children are probably better able to understand their peers’ language, better identify ICT risks and are more up-to-date on ICT developments. Knowledge of their rights and the ways in which they can be violated, as well as notions of respect and criteria to differentiate content and validate sources, are essential aspects in the production of self-care guidelines. 37

Ultimately, it means providing them with the tools to make the appropriate decisions that safeguard their physical and mental well-being and integrity, while considering the well-being and integrity of others. The Committee on the Rights of the Child (henceforth, the Committee) has warned that the right of children to be heard and taken seriously is one of the fundamental values of the CRC, together with the general principles of nondiscrimination, the right to life and development and the primary consideration of the best interests of the child. For this reason, the Committee emphasizes that article 12 of the Convention establishes not only a right in itself, but should also be considered in the interpretation and implementation of all other rights.3 In this regard, different didactic activities may be proposed that allow children to reflect on how they interact on the Internet, how they protect their identity, what type of relationships they establish, how they develop their “virtual” friendships, what content they are interested in, what content they are not interested in, how many people are able to see their publications, how they lose control over a published image, what the possible risks are, etc. The fact that the CRC was drafted prior to the rise of the Internet does not prevent it from remaining the best guiding instrument for guaranteeing the rights of children and adolescents in virtual environments. All relevant studies indicate that the Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted in 1989, in a different context from the current one in terms of the daily presence of technology, must remain the pillar on which public policies, and legislation involving children, are considered and assumed. ICTs have now become fundamental to the realization of many of the rights enshrined in the CRC and its Optional Protocols. Some of these rights take on new dimensions in relation to 3 Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment No. 12, “The right of the child to be heard”, 1 July 2009, CRC/C/GC/12, par. 2.


the use of technology. These include the right to freedom of expression (arts. 12 and 13), which should be further promoted while ensuring its effective implementation. Technology also serves as a support and medium for: the right to assembly and free association (art. 15), for which social networks offer tools that enhance their scope; the right to education (art. 28), to recreation and play and culture (art. 31), where school plays a fundamental role in digital literacy and in forging digital citizenship. In 2013, the Committee, in its General Comment No. 17, The right of the child to rest, leisure, play, recreational activities, cultural life and the arts (art. 31), noted: “45. Growing role of electronic media. Children in all regions of the world are spending increasing periods of time engaged in play, recreational, cultural and artistic activities, both as consumers and creators, via various digital platforms and media, including watching television, messaging, social networking, gaming, texting, listening to and creating music, watching and making videos and films, creating new art forms, posting images. Information and communication technologies are emerging as a central dimension of children’s daily reality. Today, children move seamlessly between offline and online environments. These platforms offer huge benefits – educationally, socially and culturally – and States are encouraged to take all necessary measures to ensure equality of opportunity for all children to experience those benefits. Access to the Internet and social media is central to the realization of article 31 rights in the globalized environment.” The report of the UN Special Representative on Violence against Children, Marta Santos Pais (2014)4 stresses that ICTs are increasingly useful in ensuring protection while “offering opportunities for young people to access information from institutions (including ombudsmen), seek advice from helplines, report incidents of violence and ask for help when 4 https://undocs.org/es/A/69/264


they feel in danger”. And it affirms the conviction that ICTs much more strongly represent an opportunity for personal and social development and for the expansion of the exercise of rights, rather than threats. For its part, on 4 July 2018, the United Nations adopted its resolution on The promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet5 that reaffirms the importance of protection and guarantees for the exercise of human rights online. Among its most significant aspects, the resolution states that private sector actors must be guided by international human rights law and respect its standards, using it as the basis for their content moderation policies, as well as ensure and protect the confidentiality of digital communications, enabling encryption and anonymity online. “Encourages business enterprises to work towards enabling technical solutions to secure and protect the confidentiality of digital communications, which may include measures for encryption and anonymity, and calls upon States not to interfere with the use of such technical solutions, with any restrictions thereon complying with States’ obligations under international human rights law”, the document reads. The resolution also expresses concern regarding collection, retention, processing and use or disclosure of data on the Internet that may violate or abuse human rights, while urging States to take the necessary measures to prevent, mitigate and remedy human rights violations resulting from these exploitative practices.

5 Human Rights Council, Thirty-eighth session, UN, The promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet, 2018, https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/1639840?ln=en


This year, the Committee6 adopted General Comment7 25 on rights in the digital environment. This is the crystallization of a paradigm shift that has been taking place for some time at the international level and that entails the obligation on the part of national States (including Argentina) to make and implement regulatory changes and updates. The UN established a basic guide on how the digital environment and children’s rights interact, and how best to respect, protect and fulfil them. Since the inception of General Comment No. 25, the Committee has taken into account focused discussions on technology and notes that the digital environment “affords new opportunities for the realization of children’s rights, but also poses the risks of their violation or abuse” (para. 3). In this regard, it highlights four basic principles for the development of measures for the protection of children on the Internet (paragraphs 8-21): • Children should be protected from discrimination and treated fairly, whoever they are (right to nondiscrimination). 6 The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (the Committee) is the Treaty Body of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols. This treaty has constitutional hierarchy (article 75, paragraph 22, of the Constitution of the Argentine Republic) according to the conditions of its validity. 7 A General Comment is an authoritative document that sets out how States should interpret and implement the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, in this case in relation to the digital environment. The aim is in particular to provide guidance on legislative, policy and other measures to ensure the fulfilment of the obligations of the Convention (on the Rights of the Child) and its Optional Protocols in the light of opportunities, risks and challenges to children’s rights in the digital environment. In this regard, for more than twenty years, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Argentine Republic (CSJN) has been using the rulings of the international bodies implementing the Human Rights Treaties for this purpose, see CSJN Campodónico de Beviacqua, Ana Carina c/ Ministerio de Salud y Acción Social - Secretaría de Programas de Salud y Banco de Drogas Neoplásicas [Campodónico de Beviacqua, Ana Carina v. Ministry of Health and Social Action - Health Programmes Secretariat and Antineoplastic Drug Bank]55 (24 October 2000), Maldonado, Daniel Enrique, et al. Robo agravado por el uso de armas en concurso real con homicidio calificado -causa N° 1174 [Aggravated robbery with the use of weapons in actual concurrence with qualified homicide -case No. 1174-]63 (7 December 2005), Casal, Matías Eugenio, et al/ Robo simple en grado de tentativa -causa N° 1681 [Simple robbery in degree of attempt -case No. 1681] (September 2005) F., A.L. s/Self-enforcing measure. 13 March 2012.


• Children should be supported to grow and become what they want to be without harmful interference (best interests of the child). • When making a decision, adults, including governments and businesses, should do their best for children and not for themselves (right to life, survival and development). • Children have opinions that must be taken into account in everything that matters to them (right to be heard). The Comment is very clear on the legislative front in that it expressly states that countries should review, adopt and update national legislation in accordance with international human rights standards, in order to ensure that the digital environment is compatible with the rights set out in the Convention and the Optional Protocols thereto (paragraph 23). From a national regulatory point of view, in the Argentine Republic children hold all the fundamental rights recognized in the National Constitution and in the international human rights instruments, several with constitutional hierarchy (article 75, paragraph 22), while at the same time enjoying specific rights due to their status as people who are at the stage of growth.8 Consequently, both the National Constitution and a number of international norms establish specific obligations of States for the benefit of children.

8 Instruments with constitutional status (article 75, paragraph 22, of the Constitution) stipulate specific rights for children. Among these, we can mention the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which provides that children have the right to protection measures (Article 24); and the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR), insofar as it establishes that every child has the right to measures of protection by his/her family, society and the State (Article 19). But without a doubt, the most relevant treaty in this area is the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which expressly recognizes children and adolescents as holders of rights. This regulatory block is also complemented by the Comprehensive Protection of Child Rights Act (No. 26,061), which was enacted in order to comply with international commitments, especially those enshrined in the CRC.


II.- The right to participation and privacy. Data Protection As the UN points out, the need to address the challenges posed by the digital world to the right to privacy has never been more pressing.9 Driven mainly by the private sector, digital technologies that consistently use data on people’s lives are progressively penetrating the social, cultural, economic and political fabric of modern societies. Human rights are applicable and enforceable in the online world with the same strength as in the real world and States have the responsibility to protect and guarantee Human Rights. Likewise, enterprises that provide ICT services should avoid infringing the human rights of others and should address the adverse human rights impacts in which they are involved.10 Most children (and most of their mothers, fathers and caregivers) are unaware of the possible risks of sharing personal data on the Internet. Many also do not know that such data are their property and that they have the right to demand that it not be disclosed, rectified or shared with third parties.11 The data that children share on social media require a comprehensive approach from the family, institutions, and the State, as inappropriate exposure can have serious consequences on people’s lives. However, it is also interesting to note the current weakening of the condition of alleged childlike innocence, which was sustained by the filter or control that adults exerted with respect 9 The right to privacy in the digital age. Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. 2018. Expand at https://undocs.org/en/A/HRC/44/24. 10 UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Endorsed by the Human Rights Council in its resolution 17/4 of 16 June 2011. Also expand on this topic in our region, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Report on Business and Human Rights: InterAmerican Standards. http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/reports/pdfs/Business_Human_Rights_ Inte_American_Standards.pdf 11 De qué hablamos cuando hablamos de tratamiento responsable de datos personales de los NNyA? UNICEF https://www.unicef.org/argentina/sites/unicef.org.argentina/files/2018-04/ COM-4_ProteccionDatos_Interior_WEB.pdf


to the information and messages that circulated socially and that is not sustainable in the current communication context (Steinberg & Kincheloe, 1997, Duarte, 2013).12 Children are active participants in technology and the Internet, which makes them live their private lives and want to share it to be socially recognized and admitted, without being aware, as a rule, of the dangers that this information can represent in their lives and in their future personal and professional development. As Stagno rightly points out,13 any discussion about children’s autonomy and the recognition of their social agency are not exclusive of the care provided by adults, and their defence by an adult authority does not imply denying the presence of children as producers of culture. On the contrary, we must embark on the new ways of thinking about children as social actors, which represents a new perspective and a more complex approach to children, based on their cultural life. III.- The human right to privacy The right to private life is a fundamental human right recognized in article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and many other international and regional human rights instruments. In the digital environment, information privacy, which encompasses information that exists or can be obtained about individuals and their lives, and decisions based on that information, is of particular importance. Something similar has been established within the inter-American system. 12 Cited in VERGARA, Ana, PEÑA a, Mónica, CHÁVEZ, Paulina, VERGARA, Enrique, “Los niños como sujetos sociales: El aporte de los Nuevos Estudios Sociales de la infancia y el Análisis Crítico del Discurso”. 13 STAGNO, Leandro (2011). El descubrimiento de la infancia, un proceso que aún continúa. In, Finocchio, Silvia and Romero, Nancy, Saberes y prácticas escolares. Rosario (Argentina): Homo Sapiens Editores - FLACSO.


As mentioned above, the CRC aims to ensure the rights of children in the face of any action or omission that may restrict them.14 Thus, the Committee has issued new provisions in its General Comment No. 25 (2021) on children’s rights in relation to the digital environment. In this regard, it stressed that the changes that are introduced must be effected with the participation of children. In other words, the protagonists themselves must be heard and their opinions must be taken into account when designing public policies (Paragraph 17).15 In line with this resolution, we can see that the presence of the media and of images is very significant in the way in which the generations compose their subjectivity. At the same time, children seem to be developing new values, such as respect for nature and human rights and non-discrimination. This is partly due to the influence of the media and cultural globalization phenomena.16 Particularly noteworthy is the Committee’s stipulation in paragraph 18 that advocates that States should use the digital environment to consult with children on relevant legislative, administrative and other measures and to ensure that their views are given serious consideration and that children’s 14 Even in its preamble, the Convention states that: “...the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth”. Specifically with regard to the right to privacy, Article 16 refers to it expressly when it notes that “No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation. Adding in paragraph 2 that, “The child has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks”. Neither should we ignore the fact that it is the Convention itself that clearly determines in Article 3.1 that, “In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration”. 15 And General Comment No. 25 (2021) paragraph 17. “When developing legislation, policies, programmes, services and training on children’s rights in relation to the digital environment, States parties should involve all children, listen to their needs and give due weight to their views. They should ensure that digital service providers actively engage with children, applying appropriate safeguards, and give their views due consideration when developing products and services.” 16 Op. cit. VERGARA, Ana, PEÑA a, Mónica, CHÁVEZ, Paulina, VERGARA, Enrique


participation does not lead to undue monitoring or collection of data that violates their right to privacy, freedom of thought and opinion. They should ensure that consultative processes include children who lack access to technology or the skills to use it. In relation to the right to privacy, it highlights how threats to the privacy of children can arise from the collection and processing of data by public institutions, businesses and other organizations, as well as from criminal activities such as identity theft. Threats may also arise from children’s own activities and from the activities of family members, peers or others, for example, by parents sharing photographs online or by a stranger sharing information about a child (paragraph 67). With regard to accessibility and participation, the Committee urges the State parties to ““...ensure the right of children to withdraw their consent and object to personal data processing where the data controller does not demonstrate legitimate, overriding grounds for the processing. They should also provide information to children, parents and caregivers on such matters, in child-friendly language and accessible formats”. (paragraph 72). IV.-Data protection and children, in Argentina in particular and in the Americas in general. Its necessary reformulation. At the national level of the Argentine Republic, Law No. 25,326, the Protection of Personal Data Act, enacted in October 2000, as well as the new Civil and Commercial Code, Law No. 26,994, in force since 1 August 2015, regulate rights related to the ownership and dissemination of personal data in general (articles 52, 53, 55). The right to privacy and family intimacy of children and adolescents is, in turn, included in article 10 of Law No. 26,061, the Comprehensive Protection of Child Rights Act. 46

Juan Ignacio Azcune A lawyer and specialist in Administrative Law, studying for a master’s degree in Human Rights at the Faculty of Legal and Social Sciences of the National University of La Plata – U.N.L.P. Argentina. He has completed postgraduate studies at the University of San Pablo CEU, Madrid, Spain and at the XXXV Interdisciplinary Course on Human Rights, Inter-American Institute of Human Rights, San José, Costa Rica. He has served as an intern and ad honorem collaborator at the InterAmerican Children’s Institute of the Organization of American States, OAS, Montevideo. He currently serves as an advisor to the Ombudsman’s Office of the Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He also serves as acting associate professor for Administrative Law I, Chair II of the Faculty of Legal and Social Sciences, National University of La Plata, Argentina. He has authored various articles on doctrine within his field. CONTACT: jazcune@hotmail.com

Juan Ignacio Gianibelli A lawyer and preliminary and family mediator in the Province of Buenos Aires. He is a studying for a master’s degree in Human Rights, at the Faculty of Legal and Social Sciences of the National University of La Plata – U.N.L.P. Argentina. He has engaged in specialized studies on Restorative Justice and participated as a speaker in various Latin American Congresses on Restorative Justice and the Culture of Dialogue, Peace and Human Rights. He served as technical advisor to the Human Rights Secretariat of the Province of Buenos Aires, Human Rights Protection Directorate. He currently serves as Director of Criminal Conflict Analysis at the Under-Secretariat for Criminal Policy of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights of the Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is also a Research Teacher at the Training Institute of the Buenos Aires Prison Service. Author of several articles on the doctrine of Restorative Justice and Alternative Conflict Resolution. CONTACT: juangianibelli@hotmail.com


Law No. 25,326, which was passed more than TWENTY YEARS (20) ago, has become outdated given the technological and regulatory advances that have taken place since then. In this regard, we consider that it is necessary to incorporate special and express parameters for the processing of children’s data, in the light of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (adopted by Law No. 23,849) and other international treaties with constitutional hierarchy, in accordance with the provisions of article 75, subparagraph 22, second paragraph, of the Constitution. The absence of a specific provision in the data protection regulations involving children is actually much more than an approximation to legal dogma. Our approach cannot ignore how, ultimately, through a legislative amendment,17 a more complex process is in operation, which includes an “economy of discrimination”.18 As the doctrine rightly points out,19 various laws in the Americas demand as a minimum requirement for the collection of personal data, that it should be carried out through prior, informed and free consent. A very few that explicitly mention children rely primarily on the “best interests of the child”, the “right to privacy, honour and physical integrity” or the “right to dignity”, echoing the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. With few exceptions, most Latin American countries (and supranational bodies such as the Organization of American States) lack specific regulations that objectively protect children. 17 A good example is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union, which was enacted on 25/05/16 and was put into effect on 25 May 2018. In this regard, it specifically addresses the conditions applicable to the consent of children and adolescents in relation to information society services, allowing adolescents over 16 years of age to give their consent for the processing of their personal data. In addition, it admits that member States may allow lowering the age of consent as long as children and adolescents are over 13 years of age. 18 VIANNA, Adriana de Resende B., Derechos, moralidades y desigualdades: Consideraciones a partir de procesos de guarda de niños. 19 BLUMENSOHN, Ivana, “Protección de los Menores en el Proyecto de Ley de Datos Personales”.


As part of the XV Ibero-American Meeting on Data Protection, the Ibero-American Data Protection Network (RIPD, for its acronym in Spanish) has officially adopted and presented the “Standards for Personal Data Protection for Ibero-American States”.20 When analysing these standards, we clearly note the lack of specific regulation.21 Regarding the processing of personal data concerning children, the document notes that the Ibero-American States shall give priority to the protection of the best interests of children, in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international instruments that seek and promote in the academic training of children, the responsible, appropriate and safe use of information and communication technologies and the possible risks they face in digital environments with regard to the improper processing of their personal data, as well as respect for their rights and freedoms (point 8) With regard to obtaining the consent of children and adolescents, it states that, “...the responsible party shall obtain the authorization of the holder of parental authority or guardianship, in accordance with the provisions of the rules of representation provided for in the domestic law of the IberoAmerican States, or, where appropriate, shall directly request the authorization of the minor if the domestic law of the IberoAmerican State in question has established a minimum age for it to be granted directly and without any representation of the holder of parental authority or guardianship” (point 13) V.-Conclusions Because of this, we should not limit an approach that makes more complex the intersections that cross the paths of different 20 https://www.redipd.org/es/documentos/estandares-iberoamericanos Ibero-American Data Protection Network (RIPD). 21 For a specific and detailed description of the legislation in several of the countries of the Americas, see https://www.redipd.org/legislacion.


childhoods when thinking about them in connection with a digital environment, since otherwise we shall find ourselves faced with significant gaps22 when instituting a child as a holder of rights without contingencies. And not only will we be faced with a situation that does not generate the benefits sought, but we will also face the danger, as Bachelet Franck points out, that the rights of children and their participation in the digital environment may be transformed into a “vague and uncertain notion that is the object of the operations of definition, construction and then multiple appropriations, where everyone seems to be talking about the same thing, while actually talking about very different realities”23 In addition, new and updated data protection laws24 promoting equal and non-discriminatory participation should be adopted expeditiously in every State. To this end, we consider it necessary and most appropriate, especially in light of the Committee’s General Comment No. 25, for the OAS to draft a Model Law, as it has done in other successful experiences,25 with the purpose of contributing to the process of harmonization of the Human Rights of children in force and with the national legal frameworks in the field of Data Protection. In this regard, we believe it is particularly necessary to incorporate special and explicit parameters for the processing of data on children and adolescents in a digital context, in the light of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Undertake an Awareness and Prevention Campaign based on public policy in support of and follow-up to possible violations 22 LLOBET, Valeria. (2011). “Las políticas para la Infancia y el enfoque de derechos en América Latina. Algunas reflexiones sobre su abordaje teórico”. In: Fractal: Revista de Psicología. 23 Cited by GRINBERG, Julieta (2013) La recepción de “Los derechos del niño” en Argentina: Trayectorias de activistas y conformación de una nueva causa en torno a la infancia. In, Virajes Antropología Sociología Vol. 15 No. 1, January - June 2001 2 4 h t t p s : / / w w w. o h c h r. o rg / S P / N e w s E v e n t s / P a g e s / D i s p l a y N e w s . aspx?NewsID=24639&LangID=S 25 In this regard, see the Inter-American Model Law On the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women in Political Life https://www.oas.org/en/mesecvi/ docs/LeyModeloViolenciaPolitica-EN.pdf


of the rights of children and adolescents in the use of the Internet, including participation, self-protection and crossgenerational dialogue between the family, community and the State • Promote a specific digital environment for children, different from adults’ environment, with a gender focus, without discrimination, free of stereotypes and with their indispensable participation.26 • Raise awareness in the educational community about the opportunities provided by ICTs and promote risk prevention. Promote child participation in the issues that concern them. • Promote the adequate protection of children when they interact with technology, the adaptation of regulatory frameworks to new contexts where violence against children occurs, to maximize the online protection of children. • Strengthen the recognition and use of citizen participation and control mechanisms. • Stimulate critical thinking on how the mass media treat their approach to children and adolescents and their link with ICTs.

26 Gender Equality Observatory for Latin America and the Caribbean, ECLAC, 2013 “The gender-based digital divide: a reflection of social inequality” https://oig.cepal.org/en/notes/ note-equality-ndeg-10-gender-based-digital-divide-reflection-social-inequality



Challenges to the Implementation of Efficient and Effective Public Policies in relation to Law 18214, the Personal Integrity of Children Act Rodrigo Simaldone

a. Rationale: The main motivation for an analysis of this issue is existing sensitivity to the corporal punishment of children in the world, which continues to this day. Uruguay now has a law that prohibits the corporal punishment of children, but it is declaratory in nature, since it provides for no penalties and does not promote advocacy by organizations involved in this child-related issue, and therefore does not mandate the State to generate efficient and effective public policies. At the time of the adoption of Law 18214, it gave rise to a great deal of suspicion and some resistance on the part of certain social actors who claimed that this regulation interfered in sensitive issues reserved to the family environment. It is therefore important to carry out a study on the main challenges of this legislation on the rights of children, which will serve specifically to demystify and clarify erroneous information on the scope of the law. 52

b. Uruguayan Chapter. Data and progress achieved in relation to Law 18214, the Personal Integrity of Children and Adolescents Act. In Uruguay, the use of violence is more frequent towards younger boys and girls: 60.6% of children aged 2 to 4 years suffered psychological assault or physical punishment. This survey, conducted in 2013 by UNICEF in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Development as part of the global MICS programme, found that 55% of children aged 2 to 14 had been subjected to at least one form of psychological or physical punishment by members of their household. During the month preceding the survey, this occurred more often in urban areas (56%) than in rural areas (42%), and physical punishment was more common among boys (34%) than girls (18%). The study found that on average, 3% of children suffered severe physical punishment (hitting the child in the head, ears or face or hitting the child hard and repeatedly), and that only 34% of children had experienced only non-violent forms of discipline; this occurred more frequently in rural areas (47%) than in urban areas (33%)1. One of the advances gained following the adoption of the Personal Integrity of Children Act in Uruguay was the adoption of the Gender-Based Violence Act, Law Nº 19580, which enabled the incorporation of public policies and actions for women in vulnerable situations. Another step forward was the establishment of the SIPIAV2, (Comprehensive System for Child Protection against Violence), in which work has been carried out on child abuse and sexual abuse detected in schools, through a road map for 1 Global initiative to end all Corporal Punishment of Children, “Corporal punishment of children in Uruguay” available at https://endcorporalpunishment.org/reports-on-every-state-andterritory/uruguay/ 2 Sipiav, Mission, available at http://www.inau.gub.uy/sipiav


the prevention and care of child abuse and sexual abuse in the health sector, and an intervention protocol for situations involving violence against children3. In addition, over the years, enjoyable school programmes,4 have been created, coordinated by ANEP,5 through which “good treatment” was promoted in response to situations of violence against girls and boys and awareness and training days were organized. For its part, INAU, the Children’s Institute, conducted out two campaigns during 2008 and 2009 with the mass dissemination of brochures delivered directly to homes, which addressed 3 SIPIAV, Documentos institucionales, disponibles en http://www.inau.gub.uy/sipiav/documentos-interinstitucionales 4 ANEP, Programa de Escuelas Disfrutables, available at https://www.ceip.edu.uy/programas/ ped/ 5 ANEP, National Public School Administration.

Rodrigo Simaldone A lawyer specializing in human rights, with a master’s degree in Human Rights, International Cooperation and International Law, from the European Institute Campus Stellae in Santiago de Compostela and a master’s degree in Gender Law, Access to Justice and Women’s Rights from San Carlos University of Guatemala. He also has over five years’ national and international experience in different functions and areas of Human Rights, such as strategic litigation, advocacy and legal analysis of reports, applying methodology with a gender perspective. He has also worked as a legal consultant for international cooperation agencies such as UN Women, UNFPA, UNESCO. He has worked as a lawyer at the Inter-American Children’s Institute (IIN), Uruguay, and Cejil (Centre for Justice and International Law) in San José, Costa Rica.


good practices such as “courtships free of violence, break the silence”, “kick the ball into the middle of hope”, “Montevideo, a city free of harassment”,6 seeking to position the topic as a social problem, in addition to an exhibition of photos and selfexpression workshops with children. In addition, two new specialized family courts were set up to deal with emergencies involving children,7 and a Victims and Witnesses Unit8 was created under the Public Prosecutor’s Office to coordinate policies for the protection of victims and witnesses, in coordination with INAU. As far as sectoral activities are concerned, protocols for dealing with sexual violence against children and adolescents are currently in place; the Ministry of the Interior,9 Inmujeres10, and civil society organizations have organized seminars on institutional violence, as well as workshops or training sessions for local community leaders on situations involving violence against children and adolescents11. Finally, we should mention that INAU has created programmes such as the Unidad de Derivaciones y Urgencias (Referrals and Emergencies Unit) (UDU), Línea Azul (Blue Line), 24-hour Protection Coordination, Health Space and Coordination of Specialized Interventions, which work on issues of violence 6 Ministry of Social Development, Perspectivas hacia una Política Pública en Violencia Basada en Género, available at https://www.gub.uy/ministerio-desarrollo-social/ sites/ministerio-desarrollo-social/files/documentos/publicaciones/CNC%20Perspectivas%20 hacia%20una%20Pol%C3%ADtica%20P%C3%BAblica%20en%20Violencia%20Basada%20en%20G%C3%A9nero.%20%20Febrero%202020.pdf 7 SIPIAV, “Violencia hacia niños, niñas y adolescentes: Herramientas para el proceso judicial”, available at http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:k5_Kou-nd8wJ:www. inau.gub.uy/sipiav/documentos-interinstitucionales/download/6502/1495/16+&cd=1&hl=es419&ct=clnk&gl=uy 8 Office of the Public Prosecutor, “Política de Atención y Protección a Víctimas y Testigos”, available at http://fiscalia.gub.uy/innovaportal/file/3482/1/doc-politicaatencyprotec_vyt_ fgn_2017_v2.pdf 9 Ministry of the Interior, “Guías, protocolos y folletos”, available at https://www.minterior. gub.uy/index.php/documents-and-legislacion/guides-and-manuals 10 Integrated National Health System, “Protocolo para el abordaje de situaciones de maltrato a niñas, niños y adolescentes en el marco del Sistema Nacional Integrado de Salud”, available at https://www.gub.uy/ministerio-salud-publica/sites/ministerio-salud-publica/files/documentos/ publicaciones/Protocol% 20de%20maltrato.pdf 11 UDELAR, University of the Republic, Mirada interinstitucional a la violencia hacia niños, niñas y adolescentes, available at http://www.universidad.edu.uy/prensa/renderItem/ itemId/44095


and corporal punishment against children.12 In fact, although Uruguay has made some tentative progress in incorporating public policies, they have not been effective in underpinning the problems on which this law has shed light. IV. URUGUAY: Challenges to the Implementation of Efficient and Effective Public Policies in relation to Law 18214, the Personal Integrity of Children Act. It is important to visualize the implementation of regulations, in order to generate efficient and effective public policies to counteract existing deficiencies. That is why Uruguay must face up to certain challenges in order to improve the situation: 1) Awareness-raising in society regarding the importance of the media in disseminating the law. Currently, the media play a leading role in people’s awareness at the cultural level, in the visibility of the problem in relation to the consequences of both the adoption of the Personal Integrity of Children Act and its invisibility, so it is necessary to work with all of the media to build bridges and partnerships, to shed light on the issue and treat it with the importance that it deserves. To this end, we should think about short-, medium- and long-term strategies to achieve coordination between those working in the field of social communication, as well as other professions. 2) Another key challenge is that professionals specializing in the Act, and in non-violent relationship and discipline guidelines, should be able to continue to support the media in order to discuss issues related to violence and punishment of children, since the law gave rise to controversial repercussions throughout its drafting process, and thus to generate discussion, information and debate. These relationship 12 INAU, Children’s Institute, Programmes, available at http://www.inau.gub.uy/85-propia/ programas


guidelines should include the possibility of generating cultural change among adults and children, facilitating the generation of change within families, individuals in the community and society in general. 3) Another challenge is for Uruguay to be able to recognize the problem and to continue to engage in the issue of violence and punishment against children. Therefore, the challenge will include continuing to recognize that children and adolescents are bearers of human rights, and that there can be no justification for continuing to grant them a lower level of legal protection. To this end, it is important that cultural practices and attitudes continue to evolve, so that it can be generally established that all forms of violence against children are considered unacceptable. 4) Another of the serious challenges is that the State should generate awareness within itself as well as without, so that violent practices and punishment as a whole of children and adolescents are repealed and modified as part of an awareness-raising experience. To this end, it is important for Uruguay to continue to recognize the importance of human rights at both national and international levels, and to assume as a responsible practice the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, through respect for the personal integrity of children, and the express recognition of the interAmerican and universal legal mechanisms for the protection of the human rights of children. 5) A further challenge is for State institutions to undertake an analysis of all relevant legislation and regulations, including the Constitution of the Republic of Uruguay, applying intersectional and mainstreaming criteria and principles. 6) At the same time, a major challenge is to address the gender-differentiated problem perceived in the country within children’s own homes. Girls and boys frequently perceive daily gender inequalities in the community and at home, and girls


generally receive less support than boys to continue on their chosen education path, because the goal they are compelled to aim for is to remain in the private sphere, to take on tasks of self-care and care of their families, so that their studies and life projects are side-lined. Therefore, it is important that both civil society and other organizations connected to the Human Rights of children strive to reduce or decrease inequalities in education, training, the economy, etc. so that both girls and boys have an opportunity to achieve their life projects. To this end, it is necessary to identify the needs for awareness-raising, education and public and vocational training. 7) Another major challenge is to continue working with leading figures, both teachers and social educators, health personnel, directors, and bodies in charge of education. Negative behavioural patterns continue to be reproduced today, for children themselves and their parents, and it is leading figures themselves who should be role models and address the problem in its entirety. This also includes the challenge of continuing to work with leading figures in education, health, social development, territorial development. 8) Included among the challenges is the need for specific diagnoses of violations of the human rights of children in relation to all forms of corporal punishment, both legal and in practice. In addition, an analysis should be made of the tools used for monitoring and measurement of violence and punishment of children, which should be conducted with a gender-based perspective. 9) Another necessary challenge is to continue working at all levels on violence and corporal punishment against children in order to develop work methodologies on positive parenting. To this end, it is important to develop positive discipline methodologies on which to base the level of incidence existing in the Mercosur region on positive parenting and 58

to obtain reliable and comparative data. It is, therefore, essential to continue to develop awareness-raising campaigns to eliminate punishment and promote positive discipline, with the active participation of children, and to continue to promote consultations with children to learn about the impact of the current situation on violence and punishment and to empower them in decision-making areas. Such a situation would enable children to become empowered as agents of change in order to learn about and disseminate their rights, and above all, to promote the prohibition of punishment. To this end, it is important to use jurisprudence from the IACtHR and European international bodies, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, who monitor the situation. Uruguay therefore needs to strengthen both its regulatory and its organizational framework (responsible institutions) for the implementation of plans to eradicate corporal punishment of children. This should be accompanied by awareness-raising programmes with strategic communities such as policy makers, national security agents, judicial institutions, education authorities, civil society organizations and the media. All of these efforts should be supported, discussed and agreed through national dialogue with broad public and private participation. In short, the biggest challenge is for the law to have a positive impact on the situation of children, with comprehensive responses, including commitments at national and international levels. This will require progress and awareness that there is a plurality of childhoods, and this is a historical debt at all levels. These points are reinforced in the recommendations section.


Bibliografía • ANEP, Programa de Escuelas Disfrutables, available at https://www.ceip.edu. uy/programas/ped/ • Fiscalía General de la Nación (Office of the Public Prosecutor), “Política de Atención y Protección a Víctimas y Testigos”, available at http://fiscalia.gub. uy/innovaportal/file/3482/1/doc-politicaatencyprotec_vyt_fgn_2017_v2.pdf • Global initiative to end all Corporal Punishment of Children, “Corporal punishment of children in Uruguay” available at https:// endcorporalpunishment.org/reports-on-every-state-and-territory/uruguay/ • INAU, Children’s Institute, Programmes, available at http://www.inau.gub. uy/85-propia/programas • Ministry of Social Development, Perspectivas hacia una Política Pública en • Violencia Basada en Género, available at https://www.gub.uy/ministeriodesarrollo-social/sites/ministerio-desarrollo-social/files/documentos/ publicaciones/CNC%20Perspectivas%20hacia%20una%20Pol%C3%ADtica%20 P%C3%BAblica%20en%20Violencia%20Basada%20en%20G%C3%A9nero.%20 %20Febrero%202020.pdf • Ministry of the Interior, “Guías, protocolos y folletos”, available at https:// www.minterior.gub.uy/index.php/documents-and-legislacion/guides-andmanuals • Sipiav, Documentos institucionales, available at http://www.inau.gub.uy/ sipiav/documentos-interinstitucionales • SIPIAV, “Violencia hacia niños, niñas y adolescentes: Herramientas para el proceso judicial”, available at http://webcache.googleusercontent. c o m /s e a rc h ? q = c a c h e : k 5 _ Ko u - n d 8 w J : w w w. i n a u . g u b . u y /s i p i av / documentos-interinstitucionales/download/6502/1495/16+&cd=1&hl=es419&ct=clnk&gl=uy • Sistema Nacional Integrado de Salud (Integrated National Health System), “Protocolo para el abordaje de situaciones de maltrato a niñas, niños y


adolescentes en el marco del Sistema Nacional Integrado de Salud”, available at https://www.gub.uy/ministerio-salud-publica/sites/ministerio-saludpublica/files/documentos/publicaciones/Protocol% 20de%20maltrato.pdf • UDELAR, University of the Republic, Mirada interinstitucional a la violencia hacia niños, niñas y adolescentes, available at http://www.universidad.edu. uy/prensa/renderItem/itemId/44095


Female Child and Adolescent Offenders,

a brief criminological study María Leandra Enriquez

Introduction The purpose of this paper is to discuss some guidelines, as well as to address some brief queries regarding young girls and female teenagers and their connection with criminal behaviour. In this regard, we shall review some criminological theories that attempt to explain this phenomenon, we shall mention certain differentiated risk factors, refer to regional field research and briefly enumerate the (non-binding) international regulations that specifically refer to how criminal law treats young girls and female adolescents. We should mention that we shall address the issue of girls and adolescents in conflict with criminal law, but owing to space limitations, we shall not be touching upon the role of girls as victims or witnesses of crimes.


Development It is a historical fact that criminological research has not frequently focused on female juvenile crime. There have been a number of academic or scientific publications, articles or papers that analyse children and adolescents in general and their relationship to crime, and on the other hand, a few texts that examine links between adult women and criminal activity, but the occurrence of transgressive girls and adolescents is seldom addressed. The most obvious explanation for this would appear to be the low number of girls that come under the purview of juvenile justice systems, regardless of the country or region under consideration. It is not necessary to operate within such a system to discern the obvious: young girls and female teenagers do not constitute the majority of clients of formal youth social control systems, nor do they match the criminal types usually associated with their male peers (UNICEF, Fundación Justicia y Derecho, 2017), despite the fact that in recent decades (for whatever reason) there has been an increase in their participation in crime (Cauffman, 2008). While the above might justify the sparseness of studies devoted to them, it is also understood that there are other underlying reasons that explain the scant protagonism of this group of people, both in academic circles and in the agendas of criminal and social public policy. In intersectional terms, transgressive girls and adolescents are hindered by being part of a category which does not help them; race, social class, gender and age, all of which come together to ensure that they do not become the objects or protagonists of most field studies, nor of social interventions, or public policies, thus determining their singularity as secondary, passive or complementary to their male peers. This is how they are positioned within a marginal spectrum, within an already segregated setting. However, female juvenile delinquency exists and has its own characteristics. If we carry out a historical review of the various


theories that have attempted to explain the phenomenon of female juvenile delinquency, we encounter initially the classic theories of Lombroso. These lines of thought tried to explain the phenomenon of female delinquency on the basis of individual aspects, either biological assumptions (bioanthropological abnormalities, sexual development, etc.), or psychoanalytic or psychiatric assumptions, in which there was always an alignment of female delinquency and biological or psychic disorders. These theories include the idea that both women and children exhibited different brain development, and that a girl’s brain could evolve adequately with the appropriate social stimuli and structures (Cámara Arroyo, 2013, p. 313, 314). There were also some individualistic intermediate theories with a social projection. In 1923, W.I. Thomas published The Unadjusted Girl, strongly influenced by Lombroso’s work, albeit at some remove from the biological vision, to explain female delinquency. According to this author, the cause of female delinquency is the breakdown of the traditional family model (Cámara Arroyo, 2013, p. 317). One of the works influenced by the theories held by Thomas was Cowie and Slater’s Delinquency in Girls, published in 1968. According to these authors, delinquent girls have physical health abnormalities (Cámara Arroyo, 2013, p. 319). The childhood of this type of girl was beset by physical deficiencies, which would result in little chances of becoming part of the middle class. From another angle, Sutherland’s social learning theory attempted to explain female juvenile delinquency in the United States, stating that some girls are more susceptible to being involved in crime because they associate with others who expose them to these activities, reinforcing criminal behaviour and pro-crime values. Association with other delinquent girls, especially with members of youth gangs, was a strong indication of female juvenile delinquency (Cámara Arroyo, 2013, p. 320). Later, the social theories developed in the 1970s established a paradigm shift with new theories which distanced themselves from biological and psychological conceptions and emphasized the social aspect of women’s criminality. In this sense, a new 64

explanatory model emerged of female criminality, based on the existence of different methods of socialization among boys and girls in industrialized societies. This new understanding of female criminality is known as the sex role theory (Cámara Arroyo, 2013, p. 321). According to this theory, young girls and female adolescents are more highly supervised than boys and their education tends towards submission and obedience from an early age, so they will adopt a more passive and less aggressive role than men, which could explain the lower crime rate in this sector of the population. Social control theories (Cámara Arroyo, 2013, p. 324) explain the low number of underage transgressive women as being due to the strong informal control to which they are subjected from an early age, starting in the family setting. According to this theory, those who are most likely to end up in institutions are young women with no family and without anybody to help them. This informal control is enhanced by the formal control carried out by penitentiary or protection units for female juvenile offenders. Finally, contemporary approaches to the study of female juvenile delinquency can be found in the so-called gender studies (Cámara Arroyo, 2013, p. 328), which handle explanations of female juvenile delinquency on the basis of gender differentiation, such as psychological, social learning, and environmental factors, among others, maintaining its multifactorial basis. Further to this criminological analysis, we should investigate whether young girls and female adolescents share the same risk factors (regarding engaging in criminal behaviour) as their male counterparts. This is based on the idea that risk factors operate cumulatively and over a certain period of time; that is, there is a low probability that a single risk factor can make it probable that a child or adolescent may violate a norm. According to this premise, it has been concluded that both boys and girls share most of the risk factors for delinquency (Cauffman, 2008; Cámara Arroyo, 2013, p. 332), such as social marginalization, economic exclusion, consumption


María Leandra Enriquez María Leandra Enriquez is a lawyer, specializing in violence and juvenile delinquency, with a master’s degree in Criminology and Criminal Policy. She is a researcher and independent consultant.

of psychoactive substances by children and their parents, domestic violence. However, the way risk factors affect adolescents of both sexes, and levels of risk and exposure to them are different (Cauffman, 2008, p. 130). In this respect, Cauffman (2008) has explained that child abuse is a clear risk factor in terms of engaging in criminal behaviour, although young girls and female adolescents in violation of the law report being exposed to a higher level than boys (92% v 10 to 47% respectively) (p. 130), and, in addition, the way in which stress resulting from such trauma can be channelled may also vary (Cámara Arroyo, 2013, p. 334). Another variable to consider is that girls commonly suffer from more mental health issues than boys (Cauffman, 2008, p.124). This is not a minor issue, as few juvenile justice systems have mental health resources available (in the community), or resources specializing in children. In this regard, girls are less likely to complete a health treatment. This idea considers that child rights policies have been studied, developed and conceived ignoring the inequalities caused by gender relations (Bodelón and Aedo, 2015). Legal texts that focus on the rights of the child, as well as standards in the field of juvenile criminal justice, generally refer to these matters using the masculine term for “child” in Spanish: niño. In this context, young girls and female adolescents in the 66

juvenile justice system must confront a double penalty: they are punished for the alleged commission of an offence and for having violated the norms of appropriate femininity. As a result of the behavioural double standard, they are treated differently in the juvenile justice system, and are more likely to experience some kind of moral censure through formal or informal control (Chesney and Shelden, 2004). In this regard, sexuality, while an integral part of adolescent girls’ bodies, seems to be one of the aspects upon which punitive control strategies are exerted. We should also note that the problems that are typical of adolescence have generally been characterized as applying to males. This in turn generates some disadvantages: a) resources are usually allocated according to male needs; b) most juvenile justice system operators have less experience in working with young girls and female adolescents. Another problem that arises in the juvenile justice system is the tendency to pathologize female behaviour, which causes adolescent girls to be interned so that they can be treated in what is deemed to be an appropriate manner. The difficulties that beset boys are explained in institutional terms, while those of girls, in emotional or even personal terms (López Gallego, 2011). Another regional empirical contribution to this subject is the field study carried out by UNICEF and the Fundación Justicia y Derecho (Justice and Law Foundation) in Montevideo (Eastern Republic of Uruguay) called Adolescentes mujeres: delito y respuesta penal (Adolescent women: crime and criminal law response) (2017). The aim of the study was to collect different data from 2006 to 2013 on all cases initiated in the juvenile criminal justice system of that city in order to identify and analyse the differences between young girls and female adolescents and male clients of the juvenile criminal justice


system. Along these lines, and after analysing 1952 files, corresponding to 2740 male and female adolescents, it was concluded that both male and female adolescents have similar social backgrounds, “(...) come from households with an overrepresentation of single-parent and non-family member households, particularly in the case of adolescent girls. They also have a similar distribution as regards their activities and in the distribution between those who do not attend school and do not work, and those who carry out one or both activities. However, there is a slightly higher proportion of adolescent women who attend school, in comparison to boys (…). Furthermore, adolescents of both sexes live predominantly in the neighbourhoods and municipalities where this institutional apathy is prevalent” (UNICEF, Fundación Justicia y Derecho, 2017 p.53). It was also concluded that girls enter the juvenile justice system earlier than boys; while the participation rates of girls are higher between the ages of 13 and 16 and then they begin to decrease, in the case of boys “(...) the older they are, the greater the number of young people who commit offences” (UNICEF, Fundación Justicia y Derecho, 2017 p.53). For their part, and in relation to the type of offence, adolescent girls commit offences connected to the Narcotics Act, while male adolescents carry out more violent behaviours, and are three times more likely to use firearms. Finally, with regard to the penalty to be imposed (deprivation of liberty in more than half of the cases), and in relation to the judicial process, no significant differences were found between girls and boys. However, there were some disparities in relation to the length of time for which they were deprived of their liberty, boys receive lengthier terms of imprisonment and girls are subject to a greater number of custodial preventive measures (UNICEF, Fundación Justicia y Derecho, 2017 p.52-54). Nevertheless, an aetiological exploration of the causes of female juvenile delinquency, of the penal management of young girls and female adolescents within juvenile justice systems, as well as of the low representation of girls in juvenile criminal 68

statistics (added to the patriarchal structural relationship of power) highlight a number of extremely serious problems in daily practice. As a group, young girls and female adolescents are extremely vulnerable within juvenile justice systems, and it is not uncommon for them to be subjected to different forms of institutional violence (physical, sexual, psychological violence, different discriminatory acts due to their status as girls and women, denial of the right to physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health or denial of the right to education). In response to the above, the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (the Beijing Rules, 1985), established from the first that “Young female offenders placed in an institution deserve special attention as to their personal needs and problems. They shall by no means receive less care, protection, assistance, treatment and training than young male offenders. Their fair treatment shall be ensured” (rule 26.4). Against this background, the Joint United Nations Report on prevention of and responses to violence against children within the juvenile justice system (2012) states that “Girls are a minority in the juvenile justice system, but, in line with international standards and norms, they require special protection because of their particular vulnerability. Due to their low numbers in the system, many countries do not make special arrangements or create special facilities for girls; and thus, they are often held together with adult women. Alternatively, they are at high risk of being held in isolation or far away from home, due to the need to keep them separate from males” (UN, 2012, par. 45). Further to this, the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders (Bangkok Rules, 2011), the first non-binding instrument to exclusively address the issue of women and girls in the criminal sphere, indicate that “The gender-based vulnerability of juvenile female offenders shall be taken into account in decisionmaking” (Rule 65). It also establishes that the States “(...)


shall put in place measures to meet the protection needs of juvenile female prisoners”. And that girls “(...) shall have equal access to education and vocational training that are available to juvenile male prisoners”. And, “(...) shall have access to age- and gender-specific programmes and services, such as counselling for sexual abuse or violence. They shall receive education on women’s health care and have regular access to gynaecologists, similar to adult female prisoners” (Rules 3638). Further still, the Resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (Res. 69/194, 2014) on the “United Nations Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence against Children in the Field of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice” states that “Taking into account the distinctive needs of girls and their vulnerability to genderbased violence, Member States are urged, as appropriate and while taking into consideration relevant international human rights instruments: a) To eliminate the risk of all forms of harassment, violence and discrimination against girls; b) To ensure that the special needs and vulnerabilities of girls are taken into account in decision-making processes; c) To ensure that the dignity of girls is respected and protected during personal searches, which shall only be carried out by female staff who have been properly trained in appropriate searching methods and in accordance with established procedures; d) To implement alternative screening methods, such as scans, to replace strip searches and invasive body searches in order to avoid the harmful psychological and possible physical impact of such searches; e) To adopt and implement clear policies and regulations on the conduct of staff aimed at providing maximum protection for girls deprived of their liberty from any physical or verbal violence, abuse or sexual harassment” (para. 41). Finally, along the same lines, the instrument designed by the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children, entitled “Safeguarding the rights of girls in the criminal justice system. Preventing violence, 70

stigmatization and deprivation of liberty” (2015) states that “Girls who enter the criminal justice system often face discrimination and bias during the processing and handling of their cases. There is, therefore, an urgent need to integrate a child- and gender-sensitive approach at every stage of the justice process, from the first contact with the police, to the moment of arrest and detention, and once a court decision has been issued. All criminal justice professionals must ensure that investigations and legal proceedings do not discriminate against girls or employ gender stereotypes that compromise a girl’s right to a fair and impartial justice process. The criminal justice system is very often an intimidating environment for girls and women: a truly gender-sensitive approach requires that gender-sensitive proceedings are put in place, and female justice professionals are recruited and adequately represented among police, prosecutors and judges” (UN, 2015, p.25). Conclusions Como se ha analizado precedentemente, las variables del gAs discussed above, gender and age variables have their own characteristics when studying criminal conduct. Children and adolescents now play a leading role in the juvenile criminal justice sphere and gender differences are rarely taken into account to explain the causes of transgressive activities, or how the commission of criminal acts should be handled. This is reflected in the scarcity of resources or differentiated programmes for girls and female adolescents, as well as in the lack of specialized training of juvenile criminal justice system operators for dealing with a particularly vulnerable group of people: because of their status as both teenagers and girls/ women. Further to all of which, criminological investigation shows that, although the number of boys who commit criminal acts is considerably higher than that of girls (as well as with respect 71

to the type of offence committed), the fact is that they share most of the risk factors for engaging in criminal conduct; the difference lies in the level of exposure among adolescents to the different factors, as well as in their impact on their daily lives. Along these lines, a limited, but constant number of international instruments have been produced, which set out the differential needs of young girls and female adolescents within juvenile justice systems, but criminological research must continue, with the aim of continuing to generate appropriate and evidence-based managerial regulatory frameworks. “In short, girls in all regions of the world are at high risk of serious violations of their human rights. This vulnerability makes it imperative that criminal justice systems are responsive to the situation of girls, sensitive to the challenges they face, and respectful of their rights” (UN, 2015, p.4).

Bibliography • UN General Assembly (1985). United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (The Beijing Rules). Resolution Nº 40/33, of 28 November 1985. • UN General Assembly (1990). United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Non-custodial Measures (The Tokyo Rules). Resolution Nº 45/110, of 14 December 1990. • UN General Assembly (2011). United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders (Bangkok Rules). Resolution Nº 65/229, of 16 March 2011. • UN General Assembly (2014). United Nations Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence against Children in the Field of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. Resolution Nº 69/194, of 18 December 2014.


• Bodelón, Encarna (2003). “Género y sistema penal: los derechos de las mujeres en el sistema penal”, in Bergalli, Roberto (coordinator and collaborator), Sistema penal y problemas sociales. Editorial Tirant lo Blanch Alternativa: Valencia, pp. 451-486. • Bodelón, Encarna and Aedo, Marcela (2015). Las niñas en el Sistema de Justicia Penal, Journal: Anales de la Cátedra Francisco Suárez, Vol. 49, pp. 219-236. • Bright, C. L., Kohl, P. L., & Jonson-Reid, M. (2014). Females in the Juvenile Justice System: Who Are They and How Do They Fare?. Crime and delinquency, 60(1), pp. 106–125. https://doi.org/10.1177/0011128711421652. • Cámara Arroyo, Sergio (2013). Delincuencia juvenil femenina: apuntes criminológicos para su estudio en España. Anuario de Derecho Penal y Ciencias Penales, 66, 293-362. • Cauffman, E. (2008). Understanding the Female Offender. The Future of Children, 18(2), 119-142. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20179981 • Chesney-Lind, Meda and Shelden, Randall (2004) Girls, Delinquency, and Juvenile Justice, Wadsworth Publishing: UK. • Chesney-Lind, Meda and Nikki, Jones (2010), Fighting for Girls: new perspectives on gender and violence, State University of New York Press: Albany. • Guirao González, Ana and Bas Peña, Encarnación (2013). “Intervención jurídica y socioeducativa con las menores infractoras en centros de internamiento. Una revisión preliminar” Original academic paper submitted to the Centro de Investigación Científica (CINC-ANSP) for publication in the journal, “Policía y Seguridad Pública”. • López Gallego, Laura (2011). Géneros de encierro: cuando las adolescentes son las “internadas”, in: X Jornadas de Investigación en Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, UdelaR, Montevideo, 13-14 September 2011. • UN. Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children, (2015) Safeguarding the rights of girls in the criminal justice system. Preventing violence, stigmatization and deprivation of liberty.


• UN. OHCHR, UNODC, SRSG (2012). Joint report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children on prevention of and responses to violence against children within the juvenile justice system. • Rey Sanz, Bibiana (2015). Las chicas ante la Justicia Juvenil. Un estudio sobre el perfil de las chicas infractoras en Cataluña a lo largo del periodo 2010-2013. Barcelona: CEJFE. • UNICEF y Fundación Justicia y Derecho, (2017). Adolescentes mujeres: delito y respuesta penal. Montevideo.


The “Land and Freedom” Child Development Centres of the State of Colima, Mexico and play from the perspective of: A Good Start

Miriam Díaz González

I opened my eyes and saw you, I recognized your voice, I smelt your smell, I knew you were waiting for me; take care of me, but let me open the windows of the world. (Díaz, M.2017, p.9) Introduction The “Land and Freedom” Child Development Centres (CENDI for its acronym in Spanish) were established in Colima on 24 August 2004, at the initiative of Lic. Joel Padilla Peña and Ms Evangelina Bustamante Morales, members of the Executive Committee of the Labour Party, with the aim of providing attention, care and education from the initial level to the completion of basic education. The forerunners of these educational institutions were the Centros de Desarrollo Infantil del Frente Popular “Tierra y Libertad” [“Child Development Centres of the ‘Land and Freedom’ Popular Front”] of Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico, founded in 1990.


For the CENDIs, early childhood is “the period that begins at birth and extends to the age of six, at which time, girls and boys move to Primary Education” (Díaz, M. 2017, p.2). This remarkable time of life may be divided into two stages of evolutionary development: one from zero to three years of age and another from three to six years, in each of which the social situation of their development changes – the relationship established between girls and boys and the environment surrounding them, as well as their attitude towards the world, their needs and interests, types of activity, sensitive periods, relationship between affective and cognitive elements (Rios, I. 2007, p.65). Development Early education or initial level at the CENDIs Early Education or Initial Level, based on the ideas of Isabel Ríos (2007), comprises the ages from zero to three years. “The first three years, when children’s growth and development, their acquisitions, move at a very intense rhythm; and not only are the isolated functions and processes special, so too are the combinations of these; when their nervous systems, and their bodies in general, are more fragile, when relations with others are limited” (p.66). In recent years, the successes of neuroscience have helped to recognize the importance of early education, so that there are more and more people who affirm that education during these years of life is one of the most decisive interventions for the maximum possible comprehensive development of each child, which according to “A Good Start”, a programme for the education of children from 0 to 3 years,(2017), is understood as “...a continuous, dynamic process, with successive stages, aimed at greater differentiation and integration of functions


Miriam Díaz González Licentiate and master’s degree in Preschool Education, PhD in Pedagogical Sciences, former director of the Latin American Reference Centre for Preschool Education, Cuba, tenured professor at the Enrique José Varona University, Havana, assistant researcher at the Central Institute of Pedagogical Sciences of Cuba. As a specialist in early childhood, she has provided technical advice in several countries and as a UNESCO consultant, in the implementation, development and evaluation of the Better Early Childhood Programme, in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, where in 2016 she was hired as an independent consultant by UNESCO, to design the theoretical underpinnings of the Happy Upbringing Programme. She is a professor for the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Programme in Education at the University of El Salvador. She has produced various publications on Early Childhood and lectured in several countries. Since 2017, she has served as scientific advisor to the “Land and Freedom” Child Development Centres of the State of Colima, Mexico.

throughout life. This is a holistic process that involves all spheres of human development (motor, affective, cognitive, communicative, perceptive, spatial, social” (p.213). In the first three years of life, there is a succession of stages, of physical, physiological and psychological changes, which give these years a particular connotation, because it is an age range of great psychological and physical fragility, which makes children, as biological beings, dependent on an adult to meet their needs for care, adequate nutrition, good health, new experiences, security, protection, affection, opportunities for learning and trust, to achieve their survival and comprehensive development.


The fragility that characterizes this stage is counteracted by the high potential for development, since as long as the needs of children are met, significant changes are evident; the pace of their growth – physical and psychological development – is intense. At the same time, the inconsistency of the body and, especially, of the nervous system is evident, which demonstrates the need for secure attachments, love, security, affective sustainability, for an appropriate lifestyle, type of upbringing, care, relationships and experiences that help children get to know the world, discover its culture, its traditions, its norms. In this respect, Emilia López (2017) reports that these are years in which the influence of the environment on biological development, on the plasticity of the brain and on the formation of interconnections is remarkable, the basis of development and the current and future capacity for the active appropriation of human experience, which is vital in the transition to individuality. Organization and structure of early education at the CENDIs The CENDIs follow the precepts of the Ministry of Education (sep.gob.mx/index.html,2020), which stipulate that early education “...is a right of girls and boys, an opportunity for mothers and fathers to improve and/or enhance their parenting practices and a commitment of teachers and support staff to fulfil the purposes proposed, which is essential to ensure optimal development at these ages” (p.2). The document Aprendizajes Clave para la educación integral. Plan y Programas de estudio para la Educación Básica [Key learning for comprehensive education. Plan and study programmes for basic education] (2017), states that early education “...is the first step with which students begin their transition through the twelve grades that constitute basic school education in Mexico”. As from the educational reform (2019), it has been considered part of basic education and, 78

therefore, compulsory (Chamber of Deputies, 2019). With this ruling, Mexico became the first country to visualize and recognize the undisputed significance of the first three years of life from the legal point of view. Early education is structured in two levels and each one of these includes three sub-levels:

Key learning for Early Education A Good Start, Programme for the education of girls and boys from 0 to 3 years (2017), guides the professional, systematic and organized care of the family and the adults who interact with the children during these years of their lives. As an educational guide “...it offers guidelines for the affective bond, to establish the bases that lead to: favouring their security, happiness and trust; their intelligence and the development of their capacities...” (p. 8). Among the main challenges proposed with A Good Start (2017) are that children, from birth, should be recognized by the whole of society as holders of rights and competent learners, with access to education achieved for all as a fundamental right. In the conviction that “Education begins with life and ends only 79

with death...” (Martí, p. 390), we move towards comprehensive care that meets all the needs of children and “... coordinate the efforts of institutions and social organizations that offer early education from the perspective that should include attention, education and care of young children” (p.15). Analysis shows its comprehensive features, from its theoretical foundations, pedagogical approaches, work methodology, recognition of the educational sense of care and the unity between care and education as inseparable social practices. Also included among key learning are “…the knowledge, practices, skills, attitudes and values that are developed specifically in school and that, if not learned, lead to deficiencies difficult to compensate in aspects that are crucial to their lives” (p.66). These respond to the whole stage from zero to three years and encompass the different dimensions of child development, for example: “Living with others and sharing learning, play, art and culture” (p. 66), as well as the inclusion of play as a principle, foundation and focal point for planning. Holders of rights from early education: A little history… A look at history reveals the slowness that has characterized the process of shifting the status of children as objects of property of the family, as miniature adults, useful for work and the family economy, to autonomous holders of rights and duties. The legal consolidation of this view was achieved with the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989 (CRC), which guarantees the rights to guardianship, defence and protection, as well as proclaiming children’s full citizenship from birth and visualizing them as citizens with rights. Many years have passed since its adoption on 20 November 1989 by the United Nations in New York. Among the background references for this treaty is the Declaration of the Rights of the 80

Child, signed in Geneva in 1924, drafted by Eglantyne Jebb. She was the founder of the international organization, Save the Children, which included an exceptional text for the time in which it is recognized that children have rights and that adults are responsible for their care and compliance with the Declaration of the Rights of the Child of 1959. Certainly, other attempts at proposals for the benefit of children preceded it, which, although they turned out to be pipe dreams, still enhance this narrative. We should recall an innovative pedagogue who wrote on the theory and practice of education, precursor of the struggle for the rights and equality of children: the notable Polish doctor and writer, Janusz Korczak (1878–1942), who in the thirties wrote the so-called Magna Carta of Children’s Rights, in which he proclaimed children’s rights to live in the present and to protest against injustices; perhaps he never imagined that the road would be so long. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), details the Human Rights of people from 0 to 18 years of age and, from the life cycle approach, considers children in early childhood as equal human beings, who, being at a particular moment of development, have specific needs and subjectivities determined by their age. It was General Comment No. 7 (CRC/06) that made it possible to group under the term “early childhood” all children from birth and the first year of life, through the preschool period and until their transition to school. This was a crucial moment for the consideration of children as bearers of all the rights enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This is why early education is the first level of education for children, holders of all rights.


The meaning of play from the approach of: A Good Start The vision of play as an activity during which to learn shapes, sizes, colours, textures, is replaced by a position that affords it the status of an activity specific to human beings, which “...in addition to all the emotional, intellectual, physical, symbolic and imaginary benefits it provides, is a right specific to childhood” (p. 71), contained in Article 31 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which recognizes the right to rest, leisure, play (CRC, 1989). In A Good Start (2017), play is conceived as “...the backbone of all practice with children in the working mode...” (p.71), which justifies that one of its guiding principles should be “Guaranteeing play and learning” (p.55) “...understood as the focal points that centralize and give meaning to the intervention of educational agents responsible for the care of children under three years of age” (p.56), as a pedagogical foundation “... play as a basic experience” (p.69), governing “... the practices that make up the plans of educational agents” (p.69) and as one of the focal points of planning “... play and creative development” (p.159), because they argue that at these ages “...purely didactic planning is not enough” (p.159). Assigning to play the status of a principle, foundation and focal point exceeds the limited vision of considering it in educational programmes only because it is a right of boys and girls. It is to distinguish it as an activity inherent to human beings, which is part of their endeavours, which transcends all moments of life, and is important for personal and social development “... play is the most important activity for growing and learning” (p. 63). Play is a universal exercise, it is a way of transmitting culture, it is an activity that provokes joy, pleasure, happiness, development, so it might seem repetitive to talk about its importance; it is a criterion as old as Plato and many authors have highlighted it when talking about children’s education. 82

A Good Start underlines it as the activity that enriches children’s experience and shows that depriving students of play causes disastrous effects on their development “...many aspects of children’s growth suffer and are impoverished” (p.39). They will be unable to enjoy the pleasure and satisfaction that play produces, they will not be able to penetrate that world of creation, interrelationships, bonds and fantasies, so necessary in childhood. “All practice with children from 0 to 3 years of age must ensure that there is time to play as a basic form of the educational task” (p.62). Play is nourished by the environment, accompanies children from their arrival at the institution, so it is vital that educators be available for play. This is seen as a condition, attitude and motivation to play, act as a child, teach with a playful approach and understand that it is the students who decide when it is time to play; “... the principle of freedom, specific to all individuals and each moment when they decide to play and undertake that imaginary process in which they incorporate their own experiences, their own life events, their own ideas, their own images” (p. 59).


Planning play at the CENDIs The educational programme A Good Start (2017) counsels that planning for the day should be flexible and comprehensive, combining didactic-pedagogical with affective activities. According to the words of María Emilia López (2005), “The child is both a subject of the bond and a subject of learning” (p.3). Therefore, play, emotional support, conversation, along with other proposals, are embedded at all times of the day “... play must permeate every activity, from welcome to farewell, through changing diapers, eating, reading, music, etc.” (p. 162). From this perspective, play is the prevailing organizational form par excellence that satisfies the particularities of this age group. It is the responsibility of educators working with infant and maternal groups to create enhanced environments in which affectivity and security prevail, based on loving and trusting relationships so that they can play freely and with fantasy, so that they can explore, discover and build meanings on their own: “No one can teach children to play, because play assumes that children engage in each activity, setting their imaginations in motion, and, through research and creation, transform or understand objects and reality” (p. 169). It is the role of educators to offer diverse stimuli and to be aware of the value of the activity. According to Huizinga (1997), “...play is a vital function that is not ‘ordinary life’ or ‘real life’, but that makes possible an escape from reality to a temporal sphere, where self-oriented activities are carried out” (p. 98). That is why we work to make them understand and convince them that play is more than a right, it is a necessity for child development: “In planning it is essential to ensure that the proposals respect the children’s need for play, avoiding too rapid schooling of young children in institutions (p. 62). The combination in the planning of play of creative development and affective support “...is, therefore, 84

comprehensively supportive” (p. 164), because it facilitates the establishment of bonds between children. Therefore: “The bond and its consequences for the child’s emotional life are in the foreground” (p.163). Children need to discover the world around them, learn to recreate it, to represent it, be more autonomous, imaginative, happy, dream, experience pleasure, joy, satisfaction, solve problems, creatively put into practice what they have learned. “Play has nothing to do with the future, play is not a preparation for anything, play is to do whatever is done in total acceptance, without considerations that deny its legitimacy” (Montes p.144). At these ages it is necessary to promote spontaneous play, so that pupils can develop their own ideas; create their own rules, explore objects, handle them, throw them around again and again, pick them up again; either crawling, walking, running, because we know how and when play begins, but it is uncertain when and how it ends. In early education, play with children’s own bodies becomes very significant: with their own fingers, with movement, with objects that appear and disappear; verbal and musical play that gives rise to babbling, syllable sounds, verbal emissions, spatial shifts, smiles and surprises when discovering the possibilities of objects and their sounds, which, at the same time, make it possible to observe, explore and manipulate them; group them, put them in and take them out of a container, among other actions. “Play is characteristic of children, and play is creation” (p. 77). Such is the value of play and toys for infant and maternal learners that it is claimed that they are indispensable at all times of life; because even at meal times and during cleaning and grooming activities they have a certain function. Therefore, it is recommended that appropriate games be available for these occasions; musical objects and toys, mobiles, dolls of different types and textures, wagons, horses and chairs for pulling and dragging, pots or boxes to cover and uncover, steps, to go up and down on. Also other objects that make it possible to play with water and sand, lift out objects that float in a basin, make


or trap bubbles, materials found in nature, building materials (wood and plastic), simple stacking toys, books, balls, ropes, sticks, puppets, boxes, pots, crayons, pencils, newspapers; to wrinkle, untangle and tear freely; sheets of paper, plasticine, plastic objects, songs, costumes; as well as for imitation games, dolls and other objects that lead to imitating actions: such as feeding a doll, bathing it, putting it to sleep, washing it, hanging up and ironing its clothes; among other materials that offer a number of variants. To play fully and freely, children require venues free of hazards in which they can move freely, with toys and materials at their disposal, enjoy independence for creation, for interaction with other children and receive care, love and respect for their rights and particularities, and enjoy proposals that surprise, motivate and arouse emotions, feelings and interests. CENDI educators and play CENDI educators meet the requirement of being Early Education graduates, in addition to experiencing a differentiated training process that makes them specialists in planning and executing play. As a result of their training, they are noted for the attentive scrutiny of the signals they observe, of children’s behaviour and the answers they offer without affecting their creativity: “An available adult is not an intrusive adult, but he or she is expectant and observant” (p. 169). They are able to intervene in a personalized way or in small groups, create situations consisting of pleasant environments in which they share face to face, listen, talk and are part of the games, with respect for the transformations children make with objects and each other. We should not lose sight of the fact that: “Respecting a child’s freedom does not mean divesting oneself of intervention” (p.169). They must act as mediators of culture, take on children as interactive subjects 86

in their own learning, able to build their own knowledge, their subjectivity, their worldview, and to seize the knowledge of their environment as independent subjects. In conclusion, at the CENDIs, as the value of affective bonds is well-known, they are taken into account, along with play and opportunities for the creative expression of child development; children’s unique features are respected and a Culture of Child Rights is demonstrated. According to the ideas of M. Pérez (2008), this is the manifestation in educational practice of knowledge, values and attitudes for the ethical fulfilment of the policy of the Mexican State in relation to the rights of the child, and in this case creatively fulfilling the ideas offered about play by: A Good Start (2017), a programme for the education of girls and boys from 0 to 3 years of age.

Bibliography • Boronat, E. (2005). El juego en la educación preescolar. Editorial Pueblo y Educación. Convention on the Rights of the Child and 17 General Comments (7) http://www2.ohchr.org. Geneva, Switzerland. http://www.unicef.org. • Díaz, M. et al. (2017). Un acercamiento a la concepción curricular de la primera infancia cubana. Editorial Pueblo y Educación. • Díaz, M. (2019). Paper presented at the 19th International Meeting of Early and Preschool Education, Monterrey. N.L, Mexico. • Huizinga, J. (1997). Homo Ludens. Spain, Editorial Alianza. • The General Education Act in Mexico. (www.diputados.gob.mx/LeyesBiblio/ PDF/137_220317.pdf). • López, M.E. (2012). Crianza y juego, Mexico, UAQ-SEP. • López, M. E. (2005). Didáctica de la ternura. Reflexiones y controversias sobre la didáctica en el jardín maternal, Revista Punto de Partida, Year 2, No. 18,


Buenos Aires. López, M. E. (2012). Crianza y juego, Mexico, UAQ-SEP. • Martí. J. (1975). El colegio de Tomás Estrada Palma, en Central Valley, in, Obras Completas. Editorial Ciencias Sociales. Havana. • Montes, G. (1999). La frontera indómita. En torno a la construcción y defensa del espacio poético, Mexico, Fondo de Cultura Económica. • CRC General Comment No. 7 (2005), “Implementing child rights in early childhood”, Geneva, Switzerland. • Pérez, M. (2008) La formación de una cultura del derecho del niño en el profesional de la educación preescolar cubana. Thesis option to the scientific degree of doctor in pedagogical sciences. IPLAC. Havana. • R, I. (2007). Propuesta de fundamentos científicos para la educación preescolar cubana. Thesis option to the scientific degree of doctor in pedagogical sciences. IPLAC. Havana. Ministry of Public Education, Aprendizajes Clave para la educación integral. Plan y programas de estudio para la educación obligatoria (2017). Consulted on 24 January 2021 at http://www.dgdc.sep. gob.mx/aprendizajes-clave. • Ministry of Public Education (2017). Educación Inicial: Un buen comienzo. Programa para la educación de las niñas y los niños de 0 a 3 años. Mexico. • Silverio, A. (2010). Los primeros seis años de vida y el posterior desarrollo humano. Digital material. CELEP. Havana. • Shonkoff, Jack, La ciencia detrás de la negligencia. Consulted on 4 August 2017 at: www.developingchild.harvard.edu. • Tonucci, F. (1996). La ciudad de los niños. Un modo nuevo de pensar la ciudad. Buenos Aires, Losada.


Mental Health in Early Childhood. Art and roots in urban territories Lic. María Julia Garcete “People today are the light at the end of this black tunnel that we are traversing in the face of the pandemic; people are rebuilding their lives in their neighbourhoods, responding to the crisis and to lockdown with various forms of solidarity” Raúl Zibechi Introduction The experience that induces me to share this account is derived from the implementation of a university extension project by students and teachers of the Social Work course of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the National University of Asunción, together with residents of the Cara urbanization neighbourhood and the support of the Ministry of Childhood and Adolescence of Paraguay. In the context of the pandemic, a lockdown was declared in the country as from 10 March. Initially, it was planned to be enforced during the months of March and April. As a result of the pandemic and the resulting lockdown declared by the health and national authorities,


which cut across all productive, social, and cultural activities, including academic activity, the implementation phase of the project in the field was postponed. This emerging scenario energized the team of teachers and students to update the situation of children in the community, and to renew contact with the representatives of the neighbourhood committee, a community body with which the plan was developed from the start. The time involved in institutional definitions, in terms of academic and outreach activities, and the processes of implementation of the protocols was simultaneous with the redefinition of project objectives, the identification of the resources necessary to develop the activities in the new context of physical distancing and application of health measures; as well as the need to enquire into the situation of students who had committed to conducting the activities. Thus, the overall objective proposed for the project was to contribute to the mental health of children by developing social skills, through a recreational experience where they could express their learning and experiences in the context of social isolation due to the COVID-19 health emergency. Specific objectives: Enhance children’s skills and creativity through artistic self-expression. Promote the self-expression of children as a leading participation practice. Strengthen recreational opportunities through play and reading stories in the families of the children participating in the project. 2. The challenge of shedding light on children’s mental health The framework for the implementation of the project began with the development of a common framework of reference for students based on the systemic ecological model of


intervention in communities, the body of the child as a starting point in the relationship; the comprehensive approach to the rights of children in early childhood; as well as taking artistic expression and play as the pillars of the methodology for the approach. Returning to the elements of community work in a pandemic context was doubly challenging. In the different systems: micro, meso, exo and macro, we were all pervaded by the “chronosystem” (Bronfenbrenner, 1979), integrating the vision of the adults responsible for the initiative to reformulate it and sustain the focus on children as a central subject and shedding light on their mental health. This would be one of the most significant lessons learned of the experience, positioning children, with their rights, needs, fears, expressions, games and hopes at the centre of the action.


According to the rationale that nobody gives what they do not have, and so that they could develop capabilities to offer and share with others, group work was carried out with the students, based on specific tasks focusing on the project and allowing them to talk about their own fears, family, work, and academic situations and generate an atmosphere of trust and containment between peers, and with teachers and professionals of the institutional team. That is, sustaining and reformulating action and management, mobilizing resources, adapting to health and self-care practices were elements that underpinned the resilience capacity of students. Mobilizing resources based on calls for solidarity in the shape of collecting storybooks, tools for artistic expression and new and used toys established links and interactions between the systems, acting as a sort of bridge for students’ experiences in meeting families that wanted to cooperate and neighbourhood families willing to facilitate reaching out to children.


“The community overall showed a lot of interest in the project, parents were very receptive when receiving indications about the drawings and reading the stories; therefore, there is an awareness-raising effect on adults who consider art and reading appropriate in the context of the pandemic we are going through” (Student) Families received specific attention in terms of recreational and expressive activities that could be undertaken in the context of the lockdown. The facilitation of stories and toys gave rise to different views on the part of adults towards the needs of boys and girls. This was a hopeful event in a society and culture in which care roles are assumed by and delegated ancestrally to women. Seeing and encouraging the involvement of men, both in the student team and in the neighbourhood committee, in the outreach activities with children and their families; manufacturing toys from disposable objects, explaining the forms of care, all made possible a different flow of communication between men and women linked by the interest of the boys and girls, and showing children different forms of relationship. “… the children handed in their work and when the time came to collect what they had produced, their family members were participatory and explained how their children developed, or the feelings the work provoked in the child” (Student)


“The visit to the neighbourhood, which was unknown and remote to me, the community fixed in one place, how we were received by the families and the excitement of the neighbourhood children led to a different perspective of living together in a community, of Social Work and communication between different sectors of Paraguayan society, the interrelationship between academia, the MINNA and the neighbourhood made it possible to counteract the differences caused by the geographical distance within the city” (Student) Perceiving children’s bodies and destructuring adults Working with adults by making them see that they must meet the needs of children and infants in the first years of their lives, necessarily involves moving away from comfortable vertical and adult-centric positions, and bending down, crawling, running around, stretching, being available to imagine and opening oneself to the wonder of rediscovering everyday aspects with the eyes of children, their voices and their questions. Separating adults from their privileged positions and inviting them to remember their childhood was the first condition to generate an exploration of the needs of children, their searches and their demands. The possibilities of giving new meaning to care, despite a physical distance and preventing it from becoming social distance, seeking opportunities for establishing bonds at a moment beset by uncertainties and very few certainties. “There is much to do; it is very important to take care of and support the mental health of children, even more so today. I can also retrieve the joy of sharing and letting myself be taught 94

by everyone at every moment, I was never there as someone who knew something, but as a student willing to learn from my companions, from the children, from the parents, letting myself be taught and questioned at every step.” (Student) In arranging the encounter on the basis of this prior preparation of adults, it became an act of sowing, in which adult land was moved, aerated, and moistened in order to receive the expectation and power of the seed, the delivery in giving and receiving mediated by the imprint of expression through art, play, stories, at the level of the children... they produced the first buds that were embodied in a puzzle with parts that made sense in the process of building the identity of this neighbourhood and its people. “In my opinion, mental health in the current context is everything and more, because after a lot of pushing for the topic to be touched upon, it is becoming important and in terms of the objective there is no doubt that in this context, helping children to take a break while having fun and thinking, as well as for the parents, is extremely important and necessary” (Student) 3. Cross-generational and cross-cultural dialogues Harmonizing the rhythms and vital urgencies of each person (adults, young people and children) in a concert of voices, ringing out in a space and time that is unusual for and unexplored by academia, such as free time and community space, was possible due to the openness of students and


María Julia Garcete Yegros María Julia Garcete Yegros, Paraguay, 1972. Licentiate degree in Social Work, with an emphasis on popular education and community work. She is an instructor of Psychophysical Culture at the Great Universal Fraternity Foundation “Dr Serge Raynaud de la Ferriere”, a specialist in Public Policies for Early Childhood, Childhood and Adolescence (OEI/FLACSO). Specialist in Early Childhood Education (FLACSO/OEI). University lecturer in Social Work courses and Entry Level Teacher-Training courses. Founding member of Amamanta Paraguay [Nursing Paraguay], an organization that promotes breastfeeding. Member of the World Organization for Early Childhood Education, OMEP. Promoter of free, creative and imaginative play. Shantala massage practitioner for babies and collaborator in sentipensante (feeling-thinking) exchange experiences such as: Espacio Alto Parlantes, Mesa Vivir la Tierra, Interculturalidad e Infancias, Diálogos sobre Educación. In the area of public policies for early childhood, she works at the Ministry of Childhood and Adolescence. She coordinated the National Early Childhood Commission for ten years and is currently a member of the National Early Childhood Team. She collaborates with regional bodies through the IIN’s working group. juliagarcete72@gmail.com

community representatives to this harmony (in addition to the institutional and organizational support of the community)... from a proposal of horizontal communication, with shared leadership based on the diversity of the task, with flexibility, based on listening and solidarity, it was possible to establish cross-generational dialogues that with concrete examples in action resonated in surprises for the children. Doing was the stave that harboured the notes of this song, flowing from the adults involved, with resources, techniques, approaches, calls, arrivals... gestures, postures, images, looks, amazements, walks, working family by family, all composed this intercultural dialogue. The challenge proposed addressed mental health, from art and roots, based on the sense of


identity of an old neighbourhood, assailed by the lockdown and moving through its resettlement and structural renovation. 4. Identifying elements In terms of the results achieved we can point to the strengthening of identity and territorial roots through activities that allowed children to demonstrate their skills, creativity and the expression of emotions and feelings. These are protective factors for mental health. Techniques such as artistic expression, writing various types of texts and recreational activities enabled the protagonist participation of children, as well as allowing them to express the disturbing feelings and emotions that isolation gave rise to in them. Channelling positively the anxiety, stress and sadness of missing school, friends and peers. By enhancing skills and stimulating the creativity of children through artistic expression, numerous images were obtained that shed light on the wealth of their inner world and how they developed their identity with their neighbourhood, their family and their friends. An interesting finding was the diversity of the typology of the collected works: children’s stories, poems, acrostics, cards, posters and drawings. This demonstrates the quality of written expression when there is encouragement and conditions for freedom of expression of emotions and feelings are facilitated.


Another significant experience involved interactions with the children on biosafety measures such as hand washing, physical distancing and giving children cloth masks for their care and safety. However, a line of visual audio guides through WhatsApp was not successful, owing to limited connectivity in the neighbourhood and the cost of data packets; an insurmountable obstacle in the short term. There were, nevertheless, some unexpected outcomes: a donation of books for the establishment of a library in the neighbourhood, including an area installed that will benefit children, as well as the delivery of the children’s own productions in the form of handcrafted reading materials. The synergy generated with the National Institute of Higher Education (INAES, for its acronym in Spanish), where Entry Level Educators are trained, based on contacts between teachers, channelled the production and donation of numerous didactic toys prepared by the students of the entry level teacher training course, who added to the donations for boys and girls. 7. Reflections to keep on feeling-thinking and doing It can be said that the project constituted a learning experience for the actors involved in its design, redesign, implementation and evaluation (students, teachers, graduates, community representatives). We should acknowledge that as a community approach experience and from the perspective of children,


several paths have been opened that encourage us to continue travelling together in an upward spiral of experiences, on the basis of which we can continue to generate elements that add to the identity of the people who inhabit the neighbourhood, and that of the neighbourhood itself as a community that is building itself up through coexistence and collective projects. “Mental health is an outstanding debt to the world at large, but who can fight an inhuman giant? There is no better job than being able to help prove that another world is possible, and this project did that, taking out of their context those who live in the worst of contexts” (Student) The outlook of children, their stories, drawings and expressions convey messages about themselves, their experiences, their environment, their emotions, how they were affected and how they imagine overcoming the crisis resulting from the pandemic. Enabling possibilities and managing them as a concern of the adults in children’s environments is a sign of hope in a society marked by adult-centrism and in which, in general, the situation of children is approached tangentially, associated mostly with specific holidays, from the perspectives of “having fun” and taking up time, without further questioning about how they see or think about the situations that occur in their environment. . “That the mental health of children in this context that we experience at the moment must be addressed first of all, since it is they who suffer much more all of the burdens or situations experienced among adults” (Student)


“... it is vital that the children who live in this neighbourhood should have been able to start this process that surely needs constant work for it to be sustained over time.” (Student) Linking academia to community areas from a territorial perspective and as a continuity of projects, not only for outreach, but also for research and the development of professional approaches, is one of the lines that encourage us to carry on on the basis of this experience, as a challenge for both teaching and the institution, to keep interactions open as well as the search for a more systematic and continuous insertion through comprehensive territorial programmes. This opening gives great significance to horizontal exchange, not only based on the structure, but also on the construction of different ways of learning and communication flow. For students to participate in cross-generational and crosscultural dialogues by walking alongside the people in their movements and in their territory, is what can turn the experience into what Zibechi calls “the light at the end of the tunnel”(Zibechi, 2020).

Bibliografía • Bronfenbrenner, U. (1976). The ecology of human development: history and perspectives. Psychologia, 19(5), 537-549. • Castiglioni, A. (2020). Humanizar desde la inmediatez de los cuerpos. Boletín IINfancia N° 10, p. 78. • De Sousa Santos, B. (2020). Entrevista, Ethic. https://ethic.es/entrevistas/ boaventura-de-sousa-santos-coronavirus/ consultado: 25 noviembre 2020.


• Zibechi, R. (2 de mayo de 2020). Radio CUT. Recuperado el 6 de junio de 2020, de Radio CUT: https://ar.radiocut.fm/audiocut/pueblos-son-luz-en-final-deltunel/


The most common, curable birth defect —a major cause of physical disability— is still widely under-resourced and untreated in Latin America and beyond. Daphne de Souza Lima Sorensen More children live with a disability than any time in history, including 8 million under the age of 15 in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).1, 2 Although far more are surviving preventable deaths compared to three decades ago, millions of children aren’t thriving because they lack access to essential, lifechanging medical and support services. Many governments have yet to prioritize rehabilitation services that allow individuals to attain their highest functioning and quality of life as essential and integral, despite being a fundamental provision of children’s rights. Children with congenital birth defects comprise a significant portion of the growing population living with disability. Their rights are routinely violated by systemic inaction and complacency, and as often happens, they are marginalized and excluded from realizing the same rights as other children, including the right to an education, the right to play and the right to be protected from harm. Clubfoot (or talipes equinovarus) is one of the most common birth defects, causing one or both feet to turn inward and upward. Globally, one in every 560 to 800 people are born with the condition.3,4 With appropriate treatment, more than 95% will achieve full correction and lifelong mobility, yet 85% of infants born with it in low- and middle-income countries 102

(LMICs) do not receive care, leading to severe—and otherwise entirely preventable—disability.1,5 Each year, 144,000 children who are born with clubfoot in LMICs—including at least 10,000 in Latin America and the Caribbean—receive no treatment at all, even though a medical innovation makes it possible to treat the condition inexpensively and without surgery anywhere in the world. Until the past decade, most were not treated due to the complexity of surgery and limited access to safe services in LMICs. If you think clubfoot sounds like a niche issue, you are not alone. But it’s not. Clubfoot impairs up to 8 million people worldwide who are estimated to live with its disability because they never received appropriate care. 1,5 Each year, clubfoot disables almost as many children as Polio did prior to eradication campaigns.20,21 Over 150,000 children (age 15 and younger) in LAC estimated to live with untreated clubfoot would still benefit from treatment.16 Prioritizing early identification and treatment for this condition strengthens pathways to address other childhood disabilities benefitting from physical rehabilitation. When the orthopedic standard for treating clubfoot shifted in 2005, it become possible to systemically address this problem for children affected by it everywhere. Known as the Ponseti Method, this inexpensive and non-surgical solution can effectively treat 95% of clubfoot cases. Without this treatment, children endure a lifetime of disability with health, social, and economic consequences—from impaired mobility and physical pain, to neglect, discrimination, and exclusion from education, employment, and social opportunities.


Children born with clubfoot—and all children with disabilities—have a fundamental human right to health care. Children with disabilities suffer disproportionately in many aspects of life. They experience higher rates of poor health, poverty, hunger, neglect, violence, and physical and sexual abuse.6,7,9 They are less likely to be in school than their peers and lack access to lifechanging rehabilitative treatments and assistive technologies—including clubfoot braces, wheelchairs, and hearing aids—that could help them fully participate in school and their communities.5,7,9,10,11 In LAC, seven out of 10 of these children do not attend school and at least 50,000 live in institutions.16 Despite decades of high-level advocacy and rhetoric about inclusive development, people with disabilities—particularly girls and women—continue to be left behind by global and national health and development agendas.6 They experience disproportionate rates of poverty; often lack access to education, health services, and the labor market; and are frequently excluded from civic and political participation. They often endure discrimination and stigma, inaccessible physical and online environments, a lack of autonomy in health and legal decision-making, and low access to assistive technologies.6,7,8 The fact is, children with visible disabilities and congenital malformations like clubfoot often remain invisible for much of their lives, shut out of society. Their parents, caretakers, and siblings suffer isolation and stigma, as well. UNICEF says those with moderate disabilities or developmental delays are most likely to be identified in school, which is too late for many to benefit from psychosocial support.17


Everyone with a stake in the life of a child has a role in ensuring their wellbeing. For over a half a century, international human rights conventions have recognized the moral imperative of safeguarding the interests of children and all people living with disabilities. We know that the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history, protects and affirms the rights of children with disabilities to access medical care that supports their highest-attainable quality of life and functioning.12 Article 23 calls on party states to safeguard their rights “to enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions that ensure dignity, promote self-reliance and facilitate the child’s active participation in the community.”12 Yet, little has changed in sustained action or systemic improvements by LAC states to ensure these children are seen, and to: 1) safeguard their well-being and a life out of harm’s way, from risks of violence, sexual and physical abuse, institutionalization, illiteracy, and other grave risk factors—and 2) realize their potential in society so that they can participate in its institutions like school and employment. The Zika virus brought some attention and coordination to integrating assistive services and social protections for children with disabilities in the region. In response to its mounting toll in LAC, UNICEF recommended that children with any congenital malformations (related to Zika or not) benefit from an umbrella of multi-sectoral action to ensure “permanent assessment of the child’s development, vigilance from parents or caregivers and access to health services at the municipal level.” 17 While there is widespread and growing recognition of the imperative to meet these needs across LMICs, clubfoot specifically has remained conspicuously absent even from disability-related policies, programs, and campaigns. And COVID has made this worse.


COVID has taken an enormous toll on newborn and maternal health, threatening decades of progress.15 Increased stillbirth and maternal mortality rates reflect decreased use of obstetrical services during the pandemic. Fewer births in major facilities means fewer congenital anomalies have been detected and referred for care early during the last 17 months. Clubfoot is one. Of parents who are appropriately referred, many face long waits and patient backlogs. We know from MiracleFeet’s partners’ data, and from seeing the collapse of health systems from Brazil to Ecuador to Mexico, up and down the Americas, that thousands of children living with clubfoot have had their treatment interrupted. Already viewed as “too small” by Ministries of Health, clubfoot is now even less of a perceived priority, despite the urgency of initiating care before an infant begins to walk on the deformity. And families, already marginalized because of their child’s condition, are left navigating even more complex barriers to complete the multiyear care that ensures their child will walk, run, and move with their peers. It’s time to democratize and mainstream access to this treatment. Children and adolescents living with all types of disabilities need and have a right to rehabilitation services and assistive technologies that enable them to participate in life—to go to school, work, and have a voice society.13 International law has recognized this for decades. Yet, only 10% have access to the assistive technologies they need.14 Many children’s rights organizations talk about ensuring children with disabilities are made visible, but the reality is that mainstreaming integrated medical services and social inclusion for children and their families isn’t happening at scale. Examples exist, but they are often small and not incorporated into national action plans.22


This is a story that can end well for over 9 in 10 children born with clubfoot. With coordination between ministries and state agencies to integrate its straightforward cure in health systems, it can be a story that serves as a model for other programs. Universal access to treatment for clubfoot should be more than an essential newborn health service—it is a right. In highincome countries, virtually all babies begin treatment within weeks of birth. In LAC, universal screening and referral of congenital anomalies at birth and integrated delivery of rehabilitation services in primary health settings, would mean that, a decade from now, over 150,000 children would walk free of clubfoot disability. But there are many structural barriers that keep caretakers from accessing these solutions. Clubfoot treatment takes time—a three- to four-year commitment from caretakers and families, who need support to complete the protocol. For children with disabilities to access health care that improves their functioning and optimize quality of life, we need to ensure that parents can get to those services. For example, clubfoot treatment is typically only available on certain days at tertiary health facilities. If would be much easier for caretakers, costing a family less in lost income and travel expenses, if these were offered in primary healthcare facilities. In the majority of settings where vaccinations and newborn and child services are offered, a child should be able to receive a cast, wheelchair, or crutches. How do we solve this? The world (and LAC) can look to Paraguay for proof of what’s possible. Less than a decade ago, about 85% of children born with clubfoot in Paraguay, as in most LMICs, lacked equitable access to its treatment, particularly outside the capital Asuncion and the Coronel Oviedo area. This is a condition that went


overlooked for generations, hidden because so many with visible deformities live in the shadows of stigma and out of view—a similar story throughout LAC. In 2010, approximately 2,500 children and adolescents lived with this severe disability in Paraguay. Very few of them attended school. Their families probably had little hope, and suffered from stigma and lost opportunities themselves. “Clubfoot has a negative social impact on children. They are stigmatized at school, if they even get to school,” says Dr. Liza Valdez, pediatric orthopedic surgeon with MiracleFeet’s partner Fundacion Solidaridad, who has helped dozens of older children, including teenagers, gain the ability to walk,

Daphne de Souza Lima Sorensen President of MiracleFeet, overseeing the organization’s global programs and staff. MiracleFeet is expanding access to the non-surgical treatment for clubfoot, a leading birth defect and treatable cause of disability that affects millions worldwide. Daphne has 20 years of experience in international development, social justice and child and human rights, leading teams across Latin America and Africa. Previously, she led programs at the Lumos Foundation, Save the Children, and CARE and has lived and worked in Bolivia , Mozambique, Panama, Uganda and Angola. Born in Brazil, Daphne grew up in Venezuela, the United Kingdom, and United States and is fluent in English, Portuguese, and Spanish. She earned her master’s degree in Leadership from Duquesne University and bachelor’s in International Studies and Development and Economics from American University.


wear shoes, and go to school. Once the nonsurgical Ponseti method had earned global endorsement as the optimal firstline treatment for clubfoot, it became more readily treatable, spurring a concerted effort among a few physicians to train other orthopedic surgeons in Paraguay in the “new” more effective technique (which was invented in the 1960s). Many orthopedic surgeons who received referrals for clubfoot cases were still treating it surgically, so a small group of physicians invited medical experts into the country to advise them on a new approach to managing the condition. These initial efforts mostly focused on re-training physicians, which was an important first step but not nearly enough. Training health workers laid the groundwork, but it didn’t address root needs to ensure children’s and families’ success in the process. What was missing then—and what MiracleFeet and Fundacion Solidaridad are supporting now—is a multi-pronged approach that includes: Greater awareness and outreach among midwives, schoolteachers, community leaders and other key stakeholders; sensitization among other health workers; national protocols and tools for consistent detection and referral; education and practical support to promote families’ adherence to a long treatment protocol. Today, Paraguay has inverted the statistics for a child born with clubfoot throughout the country. In the past year, over 82% of newborns19 were identified and treated before their first birthday, the ideal timing to achieve the best results and most benefit for the child. There are several factors driving this dramatic success: 1. A national advocate. In the first coordinated efforts by physicians in Paraguay, between 2007-2011, some adopted the Ponseti Method. However, its diffusion throughout the country—the knowledge of how to treat clubfoot non-surgically, and a referral network and protocol that linked families of newborns to a specific provider or health facility—was not 109

happening. Something critical was missing: a champion within the health system. Enter Dr. Liza Valdez a pediatric orthopedic surgeon and traumatoligist with Fundacion Solidaridad, a local NGO dedicated to improving the quality of life of people with disabilities, through integrated and comprehensive medical and social solutions. Dr. Valdez coordinates Paraguay’s clubfoot program, and she shares key qualities in common with other advocates whose success stands out among our global partnerships to scale this intervention. She is highly respected by her peers in medicine, and she approaches her work with humility, passion, and patience. She is an accessible mentor to students, a clinician at heart, and someone who recognizes the value of governmentlevel advocacy for change. Often these “champions” are not hired to do what they do. They emerge to the fore of a movement like clubfoot, because they have the training, vision, and desire to collaborate with others to create change across complex systems. Without this leadership, a program intervention can lack commitment, unity, or longevity. 2. National visibility under an “umbrella” issue. In this case the National Birth Defect Program. By situating the program to coordinate children’s care within public hospitals, where the majority of babies are born, early advocates for this work gained a foothold in efforts to coordinate birth defect screening by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. It meant clubfoot births were being recorded at the national level, national prevalence was measurable, and networks for referral, advocacy, education became codified. The National Program for Prevention of Birth Defects made it possible to exchange data on clubfoot detection and hold workshops to train nurses and other health workers in identification of the condition in newborns, ideally at birth, but also in newborn follow-up care, and to support a percentage of families requiring transportation subsidies to reduce dropout


rates related to travel burden. This program is not large or particularly well-resourced—it has only one staff member— but being situated within the MoH made it a convener. Fundacion Solidaridad works closely with the head of the National Birth Defect Program, Dr. Marta Escurra. One of the activities they organized together was a course on early detection, in which over 100 healthcare professionals from all over the country participated. They credit courses like this as one of the keys to their success—for the technical knowledge gained, and, because it introduced professionals who are most likely encounter children needing support to each other. “The program is small, and all of us doctors who are part of it stay in touch and share information via WhatsApp. We have doctors from all over the country,” Dr. Valdez noted. ”There is good, widespread communication among healthcare professionals. People are in touch and seek out information as needed.” Professional exchanges like this cut through the bureaucracy of a database or referral system. An MOH training helped forge the relationships that connect a family to the support their child needs. The NBDP’s existence at the Ministry level makes it a convener of the country’s pediatric experts—who in turn, rapidly organized themselves to act quickly on behalf of newborns and children they see who need specialist care. 3. Informal coordination among professional networks. What’s really driving Paraguay’s relatively rapid systemic change in reaching the majority of newborns with clubfoot is this close network of surgeons and pediatricians who communicate and advise each other on patients. They seek each other’s advice and act expediently for every child born with clubfoot or a congenital anomaly detected at birth. “I think that one of the main reasons we’ve been successful in Paraguay is that we’re all committed and willing to jump


in and help,” says Dr. Valdez. “As soon as a child is born with clubfoot, the doctors are in touch and decide who is best placed to start treatment. By the time the newborn is leaving the maternity ward, the parents have been given information about treatment, and told when and where to go and which doctor they will see.” Under the national birth defect program, physicians associated who are members of two networks—the Paraguayan Society of Traumatology and the Orthopedic and Paraguayan Pediatrics Association—have informally collaborated now for several years following introductions made through the NBDP. 4. Addressing—not overlooking—the many structural barriers families face to access and follow through on complex medical care. Missed work, transportation costs, and other children’s or family members’ needs can compromise parents’ ability to adhere to the long series of appointments required to keep clubfoot patients on track to full correction. Fundacion Solidaridad knows this and they inherently promote user-centered practices in service delivery. “When we see a patient who’s had to travel for many hours to get to the hospital, we prioritize them. When they arrive they are seen first, so that they can finish and get back home. We know these families have to catch buses back home, and these buses only leave at certain times, so we try and accommodate them.” They use social media and radio to reach families and raise awareness. The program has opened clinic locations in remote regions with greater geographic coverage, so families spend less time traveling to appointments. They also provide travel subsidies for families so no one has to choose between food or transportation. One missed clinic visit can increase a child’s risk of relapse and set the family back even more, so preventing those barriers is crucial.


Conclusion: Creating systems to address a common birth defect is imperative and strengthens treatment pathways for other disabilities. Clubfoot is not a niche issue that should be relegated to specialist NGOs. It should matter to everyone who works on, defends and promotes children’s rights. Because addressing clubfoot—the most common birth defect18—could have a transformative effect on not only these children but also their families. Prioritizing clubfoot would create a model for ministries of health to build integrated social and medical support for children with other causes of disability. This comprehensive approach would involve: developing screening and referral protocols; training and supporting health workers; taskshifting treatment to a variety of skilled medical professionals; providing medical devices and assistive technology; and ensuring follow-up during and after treatment. Even as covid ravages countries, we can cling to hope that permanent solutions to some problems do exist. Especially now, as NGOs, governments, and activists feel overwhelmed by COVID’s decimation of health and social services, we must elevate overlooked causes of systemic inequity—like rising disability among youth in LAC and beyond—and recommit to fighting for the rights of all children to lead healthy lives and pursue their dreams. Dr. Valdez, who has treated countless children over the years, remembers the dream of one of them, a 14-year-old with bilateral clubfoot who simply wanted to have “straight” feet so that she could wear shoes for her quinceañera birthday party. Thanks to Dr. Valdez, her dream did come true. To her family, finding this treatment, especially after so many years, felt like a miracle. It is a miracle within reach for at least 175,000 every year. And it is more than miracle: this life-changing care is their right.


Citations [1] GBD 2017 Child and Adolescent Health Contributors. (2019). Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors in Child and Adolescent Health, 1990 to 2017: Findings from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors 2017 Study. JAMA Pediatrics, 173(6), e190337. doi:10.1001/ jamapediatrics.2019.0337 [2] UNICEF. Children and adolescents with disabilities in LAC https://www. unicef.org/lac/en/children-and-adolescents-disabilities [3] Owen, R. M., Capper, B., & Lavy, C. (2018). Clubfoot treatment in 2015: a global perspective. BMJ Global Health, 3(4). doi:10.1136/ bmjgh-2018-000852 [4] Grimes, C. E., Holmer, H., Maraka, J., Ayana, B., Hansen, L., & Lavy C. (2016). Cost-effectiveness of club-foot treatment in low-income and middle-income countries by the Ponseti method.BMJ Global Health, 1(1):e000023 doi: 10.1136/bmjgh-2015-000023 [5] Laaveg, S.J. & Ponseti, I. V. (1980). Long-term results of treatment of congenital club foot. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. American Volume, Jan;62(1):23-31 [6] Kuper, H., & Heydt, P. (2019). The Missing Billion: Access to Health Services for 1 Billion People with Disabilities. Missing Billion. [7] United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. (2018). Disability and Development Report: Realizing the Sustainable Development Goals by, for and with Persons with Disabilities. Retrieved from https:// social.un.org/publications/UN-Flagship-Report-Disability-Final.pdf [8] World Health Organization. (2011). World Report on Disability. Geneva: World Health Organization. [9] Adugna, M. B., Nabbouh, F., Shehata, S., & Ghahari, S. (2020, Jan 6). Barriers and Facilitators to Healthcare Access for Children with Disabilities


in Low and Middle Income sub-Saharan African Countries: A Scoping Review. BMC Health Services Research, 20(1), 15. doi:10.1186/s12913019-4822-6. [10] AT Scale Global Partnership for Assistive Technology. (February 2019). Strategy Overview. Retrieved from https://static1.squarespace. com/static/5b3f6ff1710699a7ebb64495/t/5ca3cfd3fa0d60051a 9a7703/1554239448526/ATscale_Strategy_Overview_February_2019.pdf [11] Bright, T., Wallace, S., & Kuper, H. (2018). A Systematic Review of Access to Rehabilitation for People with Disabilities in Low- and MiddleIncome Countries. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(10), 2165. doi:10.3390/ijerph15102165 [12] UNICEF. (2007). Promoting the Rights of Children with Disabilities: Innocenti Digest No. 13. UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre. [13] Learning, Acting and Building for Rehabilitation in Health Systems Consortium (ReLAB-HS). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.relabhs.org/ [14] AT Scale Global Partnership for Assistive Technology. (n.d.). The Cars for Investing in Assistive Technology: The dramatic economic, health, and social benefits of assisting a billion people to live fulfilling and dignified lives. Retrieved from https://static1.squarespace.com/ static/5b3f6ff1710699a7ebb64495/t/5fbf5c44eaf37e3b64932e 6c/1606376534765/Case_for_Investing_in_AT_a11y.pdf [15] UNDP Latin America and the Caribbean, Challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in the health of women, children, and adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean. Arachu Castro. September 2020. [17] UNICEF . Programmatic Guidance Notes for Country Offices on Children and Adolescents with Disabilities, 2018-2021, Latin America and the Caribbean regional office. https://www.unicef.org/lac/en/reports/ programmatic-guidance-notes-country-offices-children-and-adolescentsdisabilit-2018-2021


[18] Mai, C. T., Isenburg, J. L., Canfield, M. A., Meyer, R. E., Correa, A., Alverson, C. J., . . . Kirby, R. S. (2019). National population-based estimates for major birth defects, 2010-2014. Birth Defects Research, 111(18). doi:doi.org/10.1002/bdr2.1589 [19] 139 newborns were enrolled in clubfoot treatment at five clinics in Parguay from March 2020- March 2021. During the same time period, based on population and birth estimates, there were approximately 170 new cases of clubfoot. [20] Tebbens, Radboud J. Duintjer, Mark A. Pallansch, Stephen L. Cochi, Steven G.F. Wassilak, Jennifer Linkins, Roland W. Sutter, R. Bruce Aylwarde, Kimberly M. Thompson (2011) – Economic analysis of the global polio eradication initiative. In Vaccine 29 (2011) 334–343. [21] Ochsmann, Sophie. Estimation of the total number of paralytic polio cases based on Tebbens et al. (2011). Our World in Data accessed on 5/4/2021: https://ourworldindata.org/estimating-total-global-paralyticpolio-cases [22] https://www.humanium.org/en/children-with-disabilities/


Globalization, Rights and Education Mag. Oruam Barboza

I - What has the pandemic changed? The predominating structure in the world is still capitalism in all dimensions. What has occurred is that some previous situations, such as teleworking, have become more widespread, although not as much as one might think, in addition to the fact that it was already being implemented; distance education has definitely become more generalized. But distance education for tertiary levels (from bachelor’s degrees onwards) had existed for some time. What had not been thought of was distance education for primary and secondary levels, it was there that the main structural deficiencies appeared; basically, generalized accessibility to technical devices. In this area, it was necessary to appeal to the imagination of educational institutions and, most particularly, of teachers. The paralysis of the models in force at the beginning of the pandemic has left the world in a state of shock, necessarily leading to recession and increased poverty (consequently, also to a greater concentration of wealth). When the pandemic passes, we shall be many points behind the pre-pandemic


Mag. Oruam Barboza History teacher, Instituto de Profesores Artigas (Artigas Teacher Training College). Licentiate Degree in Sociology (Faculty of Social Science - UDELAR). Master’s degree in Human Science, Philosophy and Society option (Faculty of Humanities and Education Science – UDELAR). Tenured lecturer in Sociology and Sociology of Education in Teacher Training (1997-2018). Deputy Director, Instituto de Profesores Artigas (19962006).Executive Director, Teacher Training and Development Authority (2005-2010).

normalcy, which means having to make great efforts to reach the already deficient previous levels, and then grow. Therefore, the increase in poverty, the loss of jobs, especially lower-skilled jobs (which are undoubtedly more closely associated with the increase in poverty) and the drop in wages mean that the socio-educational debate must be considered very forcefully in terms of human rights, that is to say, at a further remove than before from utilitarian principles and, rather, in connection with the principles of ethical solidarity, as we shall see below. As for the role of the State, it seems to return more and more to the initial foundations of modernity: in political terms, imposing order, forcing lockdowns, imposing curfews, closing borders, controlling meetings, etc. (this does not mean that they are not adequate measures from the point of view of health). In social terms, the State clearly plays the role of crisis mitigator, putting out fires and preventing a social collapse that would be irreparable in all countries (in our country, this occurs in a more limited manner than in others). In economic terms, saving enterprises when necessary (which had been done before). 118

II - And after the pandemic? What will happen, globally, after the pandemic? A tentative idea for the future: the globalized economy does not want and cannot withstand more pandemics like this one; it seems to me that strategies must be developed to take action from the great centres of political and economic power (Žižek, Slavoj 2020; Harari, Yuval Noah 2014),1 to act in coordination and swiftly in the event that this situation is ever repeated. That is why I think, hypothetically, that a new supranational order may be brewing silently and that it will not be based on the United Nations, but will operate in parallel to it. As a precedent, we should remember, for example, Bill Gates’ NGO, which is already acting at that level in the area of health, or the Davos forum, planning global economic strategies and also its creation, the Oslo-based Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. I am also thinking of the G7. One element that has emerged strongly in the social sphere is the importance of technoscience (in this case focusing on biology laboratories, pharmaceuticals and health techniques for the social control of the pandemic). We still cannot know how they will evolve after the return to “normal”, especially when it is very often implied that this pandemic will not easily pass and will continue over time and that new ones will most likely emerge. Perhaps it is the beginning of a process similar to the so-called “medicalization” of society that Foucault studied in Europe during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and which was one of the most important branches for the development of new control technologies (in Uruguay, the most important historian of the twentieth century, José Pedro Barrán, studied this in depth and documented it for our society) (1989, 1993).2 1 Some interesting, albeit questionable, ideas may be found in Slavoj Žižek, Pandemia. La covid-19 estremece al mundo. Ed. Anagrama 2020, Barcelona. In a more irreverent tone, the ideas about the future in Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens. De animales a dioses (“From Animals into Gods”). Ed. Penguin 2014, Barcelona 2 José Pedro Barrán, Historia de la sensibilidad en el Uruguay, Ed. De la Banda Oriental 2 volumes 1989, Montevideo; La medicalización de la sociedad Ed. De la Banda Oriental 1993,


As a result of the situation generated by the pandemic, some great tasks emerge to be addressed in the future; first, strengthen public education, since it is the only area that will surely seek out the difficult mechanisms needed for true, equal inclusion. Secondly, it seems to me that the function of teachers and the image of the educator have been strengthened in this pandemic; they should be provided with even greater support, they have proven to be the ones who deal with problems on a daily basis and solve them in the best possible way. If we wish to foresee anything for the future, we must improve training in the uses of technologies for virtual settings (students and teachers); we must improve the connectivity of homes and schools themselves, with the aim of making it universal; we must increase the number of school premises to facilitate physical distancing and, consequently, increase the number of teaching positions. But the importance of virtual education in the aftermath of the pandemic has also been greatly exaggerated. I should like to say that I am convinced that face-to-face attendance in basic education remains the right way to train future citizens. Under normal conditions, it is unthinkable that it should be replaced by distance learning. In normal times, e-learning should be used as a complement and only in certain cases. I consider that many of the issues that need to be discussed and put forward, such as the pedagogical use of technologies, new forms of evaluation (standardized or formative) and how to move up in the education system (from year to year or by cycle) were already installed prior to the pandemic. The only principle that we must respect as non-negotiable in that debate is that no change should affect the quality of education and its continuous improvement (expressed in good learning at all socio-economic levels). The quality of education should not be affected by the populist temptation to eliminate evaluations Montevideo.


by sweeping away and devaluing educational content with the prospect of a false triumphalism in order to improve retention and egress figures for basic education. Moreover, what really matters is forming men and women as whole beings who are capable of participating in all of the affairs of their community; the only way for a new society to be equitable will be if it is formed by educated and free individuals. Therefore, we should also avoid the economy-centred temptation of focusing on forming “human resources” for the economy and overlooking the development of fully-rounded citizens, the last bastion of democracy. III – What about the content of education? Looking a little more in depth at the issue of education, we see that our countries already displayed marked educational inequalities, especially as regards the distance of learning between higher socio-economic levels (5th quintile) and the most disadvantaged socio-economic levels (1st. quintile) (PISA Tests)3. In Uruguay, where the system initially confronted the problems caused by the pandemic adequately, it has been necessary to resort to a significant number of distance, e-learning and more recently, blended classes (a few days of face-to-face attendance a week) and currently, back to normal conditions are being proposed, which are difficult to implement. The few studies being carried out are showing that this is a problem for the most disadvantaged sectors, which tend to dissociate themselves from learning processes, despite the monitoring carried out by schools (teachers) of these cases, and even in a country like ours that, as a result of the Ceibal plan, has a high level of Internet connectivity and at least one computer per home, or very close. It may also be that learning levels have fallen considerably more than the proportion of disengagement from the system. 3 For PISA tests in Uruguay: www.anep.edu.uy/search/node/Pruebas%20Pisa


This situation has increased educational inequality, which is always subsidiary to social inequality. As I said above, there has been talk of a remedy for this moment: that this year there will be no repetition in primary school, a measure that some countries have already implemented. In my opinion, this can lead to the validation of something that had already been insinuated several times in our system: the temptation to eliminate certain evaluations, that non-attendance should not be counted as an absence, or that there should be no repetition. Institutional engineering is relatively acceptable in times of pandemic, but dangerous under normal conditions. This false solution could result in the figures showing improved educational continuity and completion of cycles, which would improve the statistical image of the country and the self-image of the lower sectors, as they could attain qualifications that were previously unthinkable for most; but levels of learning will have deteriorated; a very dangerous situation. For the sake of the tradition of our inclusive education, we hope that these extremes will not be reached. The real answer is to increase the quality of learning, not ignore it. Lowering the bar for requirements alone does not solve poverty, it can increase it even more, which is very dangerous, as this is the source of the vast majority of social problems, something that nobody can now deny. It is because of all this that the debate on education in the context of human rights is increasing in strength. will now refer to more general aspects of education, conceived as a Human Right since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 (art. 26),4 a concept whose validity is even more meaningful now, in times of pandemic. I am going to put forward two ideas: Fristly: It is not rationally possible to assume access to education in isolation as an indicator of achievement of social 4 One of the many places where the Declaration of Human Rights is available to read: www. un.org/en/about-us/universal-declaration-of-human-rights


justice as is customary, since there is talk of increasing equity by improving entry and egress figures. As Amartya Sen holds, each person’s life is a system of capabilities, which cannot be based on a single indicator as a guarantor of a decent life. Therefore, education alone (like any other right), without the social, economic, political and cultural framework that it entails, is not in itself an asset that can be defined as the cause of realization in people in all dimensions of the human being. In other words, it alone, in isolation, does not ensure equal rights among human beings. Secondly: If we take human rights as a plexus of meaning where they cannot be dissociated from each other without changing that meaning, then it is not the right to any education that is needed, but one that operates in the sense of supporting the development and fulfilment of other rights. Can education that encourages discrimination, for example, be considered to be part of those rights? In addition, the first idea relates mainly to the current tendency of some to think that the opportunity to access basic education ensures social equity and the fulfilment of all other rights, so that many Governments exempt themselves from complying with other aspects of the declaration of human rights (especially art. 23: work, wages, freedoms). We shall focus on some of the central ideas developed by Amartya Sen (Sen, A., 1995b and 2000), such as the idea of “agency” as a network of capabilities that a person has to develop life plans, which in turn implies, as part of that capability, possessing the means to fulfil them (economic, political, social). The key to this is that people should not only have “rights”, but also the full capabilities to access the fulfilment of these rights (Sen, A., ib.). Freedom, for example, is not just a formal statement, it is what men and women can really do with their lives. If people live in a society where freedom exists within the declaration of principles of the Constitution, but do not have adequate means to make reasonable plans for life, such as enjoying


leisure time, gaining access to the education they want or need, decent work, reliable information, participating in the affairs of their society, etc., then we cannot accept that they are truly free. As Sen says: “Humans are profoundly diverse. Each of us is different from the others, not only because of our external characteristics, such as our inherited assets, or the natural and social environment in which we live, but also because of our personal characteristics, such as age, sex, propensity to disease, physical and mental conditions. The assessment of the demands for equality must be adjusted to the omnipresent existence of this human diversity” (Sen, Amartya, 1995a: 13)5 Of particular interest is the difference he points to between his conception of “equality of capabilities” and that included in “equal opportunities”. On equal opportunities, Sen says that the concept “...is commonly used in the biography of economic and social policy in a more restricted way. It is defined in terms of equal availability of some particular means…” (Sen, Amartya, 1995a: 19) On the other hand, achieving “agency equality”, that is, access to all capabilities, is the real objective of the fulfilment of human rights. For example, “equal opportunities” does not guarantee such compliance, given the disregard for human diversity (unequal social, economic, environmental, civil, political rights, etc.). Here I will allow myself to face up to one of the current myths: these inequalities cannot be corrected on the basis of pedagogy and didactics. This is the central idea in terms of maintaining that the concept of “equal opportunities for access to basic education” can in itself be transformed into a basic concept in the foundation of an equitable (just) social order, especially, as A. Sen says, because income and wealth do not fall within the realm 5 Sen, Amartya (1995a): Nuevo examen de la desigualdad, (“Inequality Re-Examined”) Alianza, Madrid.


covered by “equal opportunities for education”. It is not only the opportunity for access to basic education, as called for in Jomtien (2000),6 that is the single foundation for a full life. In short, what I have meant to say is that the right to education is part of a system of rights and, like all of them, it cannot be realized in isolation, since it then loses meaning as such. Therefore, the true fulfilment of this right must be guaranteed through the fulfilment of other rights that make it possible (health, material goods, identity, etc.); without them, the right to education as an important part of the development of the capacity to enjoy life, participate in the affairs of one’s society and the development of self-esteem, cannot be fulfilled. Education must be considered within the framework of compliance with human rights; only in this framework does the idea of “equal opportunities” acquire a positive meaning; without this framework the idea becomes misleading. I consider that this is the great issue that we must continue to discuss in the post-pandemic world.

Bibliography • Barrán, José Pedro (1989): Historia de la sensibilidad en el Uruguay, Ed. De la Banda Oriental, 2 volumes, Montevideo; • ------------------------ (1993): La medicalización de la sociedad Ed. De la Banda Oriental • Jomtien Declaration (2000): www.filosofia.org/cod (https://bangkok.unesco. org/sites/default/files/assets/ECCE/JomtienDeclaration.pdf) • Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948): www.un.org/en/about-us/ universal-declaration-of-human-rights 6 To read the declaration: www.filosofia.org/cod (https://bangkok.unesco.org/sites/default/ files/assets/ECCE/JomtienDeclaration.pdf)


• PISA Tests: www.anep.edu.uy/search/node/Pruebas%20Pisa • Sen, Amartya (1995a): Nuevo examen de la desigualdad, (“Inequality ReExamined”) Alianza, Madrid. • ------------------ (1995b): ¿Igualdad de qué? (“Equality of What?”) In, “Libertad, igualdad y derecho. Las Conferencias Tanner sobre filosofía moral” (Tanner Lectures on Moral Philosophy). Planeta Agostini, Barcelona. • ------------------ (2000): Desarrollo y Libertad. Planeta, Buenos Aires. • Harari, Yuval Noah (2014): Sapiens. De animales a dioses (“From Animals into Gods”). Ed. Penguin 2014, Barcelona • Žižek, Slavoj: (2020): Pandemia. La covid-19 estremece al mundo. Ed. Anagrama, Barcelona


Building cultures of peace from early childhood Beatriz Elena Zapata Ospina Children must, ultimately, play in the open savannah without the torture of hunger pangs or devastated by disease or threatened by the scourge of ignorance, improper physical contact and abuse. Nelson Mandela, Premio Nobel de la Paz Peace, conflict and violence The concept of peace has multiple connotations and meanings, which make it a complex concept that is learned and understood to the extent that one lives and interacts with others; that is, its features are individual and collective; it is determined by cultures, contexts and legal, political, social and economic aspects, at particular times and in particular spaces. Therefore, venturing to talk about peace is also a complex matter that entails a theoretical difficulty, since one cannot speak of a single and exclusive classification of the evolution of this concept that might allow for some uniformity, or the attribution of a single meaning. Peace as a right has become a universal aspiration, it is an idea founded on human nature itself and is shaped within communities as a yearning, an objective, a value or a principle.


It is a right to live, to develop fully, to realize oneself as a human and social being, to be happy. In the 2030 Agenda (2015), Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions, based on the premise that, without peace, stability, human rights and effective governance based on the rule of law, sustainable development cannot be achieved and focuses on “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels” (United Nations and ECLAC, 2015, p. 39), starting by generating strategies that substantially reduce all forms of violence and working with Governments and communities to find durable solutions to conflicts and insecurity. Among its targets and in the context of peace, it advocates: “End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children” (p.39) Peace as a right is based on the pillars of fundamental rights, equity, justice and the practice of ethical and moral values; therefore, it must be understood as an individual and social construct that transcends the absence of violence and conflict, which is essential for all and intrinsic to human dignity, since peace is the only scenario in which it can be guaranteed. Specifically, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) begins by considering peace as a principle based on the recognition of the dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all children and affirms, in several paragraphs, the right of children to live, develop, be educated in environments and conditions of peace and security. Johan Galtung (2003), considers that the notion of peace is related to two constants present in human history: conflict and violence, noting that the existence of conflict does not necessarily mean the absence of peace and that peace disappears when conflict ends in violence.


In many cases, conflict is viewed negatively, related to situations involving discrepancy, disagreement, power relations, opposition to or controversy of beliefs, values, ideas, interests or ways of acting that arise in the relationships that are established between people or in ways of functioning in social, family, educational or work-related contexts. However, a more holistic view assumes conflict to be “a natural, structural and permanent fact in human beings” (Calderón, 2009, p.67). From this perspective, authors such as Zuleta (1999), Lorenzo (2001) and Galtung (2003) consider that conflict can be a crisis and an opportunity, a creative engine that enables personal and social change since it mobilizes economic, political, ideological, social and cultural factors. Viewing conflict from a plural perspective implies accepting that the value given to it depends on the culture, on the way people or social groups consider and face it. Thinking about cultures of peace implies viewing conflict from a positive perspective, not as a problem, but as a possibility. In this respect, Estanislao Zuleta (1999) states that, A better society is a society capable of having better conflicts, to know them and to contain them. Of living not in spite of them, but productively and intelligently within them. That only peoples who are sceptical about the feast of war and mature for conflict are peoples who are mature for peace (n.p.). For Galtung (2003), it is not enough to recognize or classify conflicts as bad or good, it is necessary to provide mechanisms to understand them logically, scientific criteria to analyse and interpret them and methodologies characterized by creativity, empathy and non-violence to transform them. For a rational and respectful understanding of conflict, the author proposes an analysis based on three variables: attitudes, behaviour and contradiction, “failure to observe this totality implies a limited perception of conflict and can consequently lead to its


inadequate management” (Galtung, 2003a, p.108). Attitudes refer to emotional, cognitive and motivational aspects; that is, to what the actors or parties involved in the conflict feel, think and expect; behaviour is related to visible actions, that is, to how those involved act, and contradiction corresponds to the situation that causes the conflict, “it has to do with the real issue or issues of the conflict and how it manifests itself” (Calderón, 2009, p. 69). Being aware of conflicts and analysing them in order to understand them and transform them proactively, is currently a complex process, since many societies and population groups face situations through the mediation of power relations, which seek to homogenize by invisibilizing differences, freedom of opinion and expression, people’s participation and realization and creating conditions of inequality, inequity, exclusion. This is how violence often arises as an alternative to conflict resolution; usually violence that translates into situations, attitudes and/or behaviours that violate individuals or societies, affecting their dignity, development and wellbeing. For Galtung (2016), violence can be seen as The deprivation of fundamental human rights, in more generic terms, regarding life, eudaemonia, the pursuit of happiness and prosperity, but also a decrease in the real level of the satisfaction of basic needs, below what is potentially possible. Threats are also violence (p. 150). This author proposes the concept of a Violence Triangle because he considers that this phenomenon has a structure analogous to that of an iceberg, since the visible part is much smaller than the section that remains hidden. He identifies three dimensions of violence: direct violence is manifested in physical, verbal or psychological forms; it is visible and therefore evident, it occurs at a particular moment and place, materializing in acts of threat, aggressive and/or destructive 130

Beatriz Elena Zapata Ospina Licentiate degree in Preschool Education, master’s degree in Education. Thirty years of experience in Higher Education Institutions as coordinator of administrative and academic processes in the area of early education and as a teacher and researcher in childhood and public policies. Director, pedagogical advisor and consultant to government bodies, universities and international entities; speaker at regional, national and international events; author of published books, chapters and articles related to early childhood and early education. She has been a member of organizations that work to defend and guarantee the rights of children in early childhood, such as the World Organization for Early Childhood Education (OMEP), Buen Comienzo Inter-University Network, Redani Early Childhood, Hemispheric Network of Parliamentarians and former Parliamentarians for Early Childhood. Currently a member of the Collaborating Team of the Chair of the World Organization for Early Childhood Education and the OMEP Blog “Rights from the Beginning” Email:bezapatao12@gmail.com

against oneself, others and the other, therefore it is possible to identify the actors involved. Structural violence, sometimes referred to as indirect or institutional, is not found in interpersonal relations and it is difficult to identify its causes, as it is embedded in political, economic and social systems and power relations. It emerges when people’s rights are violated, when there is a failure to meet basic needs and an unequal distribution of resources and power, creating social injustices and inequities and manifesting itself in repression, marginalization, and social


and cultural exclusion. For Galtung (2016), “structural violence leaves marks not only on the human body, but also on the mind and spirit” (p.153). The third dimension is cultural violence. It underscores the way in which an act of direct violence is legitimized and how structural violence is naturalized and becomes acceptable in society (Galtung, 1990), based on symbolic cultural aspects that materialize in religion, ideologies, languages, the arts, and empirical and formal sciences. This dimension allows people or societies to perceive or assume that certain violent situations are “normal and acceptable”, or to assess the level or presence of violence according to the contexts or circumstances in which it occurs. Assuming peace as a right and conflict as a possibility for transformation constitutes an opportunity to overcome the different kinds of violence affecting children from early childhood onwards. It is imperative to recognize that the prevention and peaceful resolution of conflict cannot be limited to the visible aspects of (direct) violence, it is necessary to analyse and eradicate the positions and practices (governmental, institutional and community) that have gradually been naturalized and legitimized in political, economic, cultural and social systems (which can be considered cultural and structural violence), since they harm people and produce effects especially for children, placing them at an open social disadvantage compared to other age groups. The World Health Organization World Report on Violence and Health (2002) puts forward a key message holding that no form of violence against children is justifiable. All violence against children is preventable. It reveals that, in all regions, in complete contradiction to the obligations of the States with respect to the human rights and development needs of children, many forms of violence against children remain legal, State-authorized and socially approved (Pinheiro, 2006, p. 3). 132

As a result of conflict, children are now growing up in environments with a high level of violation of their rights, generating violence that causes impacts (immediate and throughout life) in all dimensions of their development; that is, emotionally, cognitively, affectively, socially, aesthetically, physically and communicatively. Evidence of this are the alarming and worrying data and figures related to rates of death, accidents, suicide, poverty, malnutrition, ill-treatment, harassment and abuse of children, disease, child labour, displacement, migration, lack of access to culture, health services, education, protection and participation opportunities, giving rise to discrimination, exploitation, marginalization and exclusion, among other effects. Conflicts not only result in “large numbers of children being killed and injured,” but countless others grow up deprived of their material and emotional needs, including the structures that give meaning to social and cultural life. The entire fabric of their societies – their homes, schools, health systems and religious institutions – is torn to pieces (UNICEF, 2009, p.18). Breaking the circle of violence in early childhood implies focusing on the analysis, understanding and transformation of conflicts that affect children, not only on the consequences or elimination of direct violence, but on addressing rationally the situations, conceptions and conditions that generate cultural violence and the violence that “is incorporated into the structure and is displayed as an inequality of power and, therefore, as unequal opportunities for life” (Galtung, 1969, p. 171).


The culture of peace, the construction of a social fabric It is time to understand that this cultural disaster is not remedied with lead or silver, but with an education for peace, built with love upon the rubble... A legitimate peace revolution that channels into life the immense creative energy that for almost two centuries we have used to destroy ourselves and that vindicates and exalts the predominance of imagination (Gabriel García Márquez, 1998). According to Galtung (2003b), the treatment of conflict by non-violent and creative means is crucial to achieving peace and this requires delving into the cultural and social structure where conflict originates as the best way to prevent and resolve violence. Thinking productively and intelligently about conflict implies placing children as “starting points, not ideologies, creeds, political parties, countries, etc” (Calderón, 2009, p.65), acting within the framework of respect and safeguarding their rights, promoting their dignity as individuals, their identity, wellbeing, happiness and participation. For Tuvilla (2004), a culture of peace is a synthetic concept that finds its basic essence in human rights and that is defined as the set of values, attitudes, traditions, behaviours and lifestyles that inspire a constructive and creative way of relating to achieve – from a holistic and imperfect view of peace – harmony for human beings with themselves, with others and with nature. (p.11). Conflict and violence cause changes and transformations in the daily lives of children, affect the construction of their


personal, social and cultural identity and the establishment of affective ties, generating breakdowns in family and social structures, preventing the consolidation of safe environments for upbringing and development. The particularities and conditions of the public and private contexts in which children’s lives unfold, especially in early childhood, are factors that can make possible, encourage, or hinder the realization of their rights, shape socialization environments and have a positive or negative impact on their development. the loss of children’s everyday settings, and their social, cultural and environmental references inevitably leads to the rupture and destruction of the social fabric, deteriorating living conditions, especially regarding health and provisioning, exacerbates marginalization and poverty and exposes them to suffering and the violation of all rights (SCC and OEI, 2002, p.40). In this regard, building a social fabric around early childhood as a strategy to prevent the effects that children and their families suffer as a result of conflict and violence is a viable and pedagogical alternative, not only to promote protective factors for children, but also to advance in the development of a culture of peace. Habermas (2000), defines the social fabric as “the mesh of the whole community, it is a network of relationships, interaction and communication between individuals who share life, time and space” (p.65). This network of relationships, according to Romero (2006), “determines particular ways of being, producing, interacting and projecting themselves in the family, community, and labour and civic spheres” (p.225). To understand what building a social fabric implies, we resort to the metaphor of “knitting”, which refers to intertwining different threads, fibres or materials, stitching, making combinations, crossing two or more things to achieve a specific shape, to create a fabric; a process that involves 135

care, dedication, commitment, attention, patience, creativity and aesthetics. The practice of knitting is rooted in ancestral cultures and is now typical of many tribal and indigenous cultures; it is characterized by being a community practice, which develops skills and fosters identity building, cultural appropriation, participation and coexistence on the basis of sharing, doing, feeling and arousing emotions, thinking, experiencing, communicating, creating and recreating. In this respect, building a social fabric around early childhood must start with a collective emotional, political and aesthetic reconstruction of the way in which interactions with children are promoted and established, as well their interactions with themselves, with others, with the environment and with culture. It is also imperative to generate inclusive processes, with a focus on diversity, moving towards social justice with the perspective of distribution, recognition and participation The first focuses on the distribution of goods, material and cultural resources, capabilities; the second on recognition and cultural respect of each and every person, on the existence of fair relations within society; and the third refers to participation in decisions that affect their own lives, that is, ensuring that people are able to have an active and equitable participation in society (Murillo and Hernández, 2011, p.12). Political, legal and social actions must focus on the creation and constitution of territories, settings and/or environments of quality, safe and enriched, where children are recognized and welcomed with their unique features and subjectivities. This entails the creation of a network of relationships that enable children to play a leading role, participate and have their voices heard; that a range of possibilities be deployed that respond to personal, family and community situations and address the particular conditions of each context, recognizing in each of them their multiple potentialities and diverse capabilities,


generating networks of meaningful and solid relationships, rooted in respect and safeguarding their rights with the criteria of equity, justice and solidarity, so that each and every child can apprehend the world, take ownership of their culture and constitute themselves as human and social beings. In the case of early childhood, the family unit must be the daily setting par excellence within which the first and most important affective bonds are established; for this reason, the family must be considered beyond the domestic sphere, that is, more than a simple welfare provider, and be considered as the setting providing care and its members as figures of safe attachment (Salinas, 2017). The rise of conflict and violence within the family system should lead to an in-depth review of the way in which beliefs, guidelines and parenting practices operate today, a critical and proactive analysis of the role, function and responsibility assumed by the family in the development processes of children, the implementation of educational and support strategies and the allocation of resources that make it possible for the network of relationships that are woven within to truly promote parenting practices focused on the development of trust, security and happiness. At the same time, the family as a system is the area where interrelationships with the community are generated and they make possible the emergence of individuals, subjectivities and inter-subjective relationships, identity building and participation, aspects necessary for the construction of citizenship. Likewise, early childhood education must take on a leading role in shaping learning environments that promote citizenship and coexistence. Education is the starting point and path for building democratic and inclusive societies and strengthening the foundations of justice, equity, respect and tolerance in order to counteract discrimination, exclusion and all types of violence.


Viewing education in its political dimension and social responsibility entails moving towards the consolidation of equitable, just and peaceful communities and societies, characterized by the creation of educational and pedagogical spaces in which participation, mediation and interaction constitute the fundamental focal points for developing protective, affective and dialogical environments for both children and families, and the people who inhabit them. Equally, it is education that makes it possible to build cultures of peace, understood as: the set of values, attitudes and behaviours that reflect respect for life, human persons and their dignity, all human rights, the rejection of violence in all its forms and adherence to the principles of freedom, justice, tolerance and solidarity, as well as understanding both among peoples and between groups and people (Jiménez, 2011, p.117).1 That is why, from an educational point of view, in addition to recognizing, making visible and involving children, it is necessary to weave a network of relations with the family, the community and society, with a view to establishing training and citizenship practices that allow individuals and institutions to understand, respect and promote freedom, justice, democracy, human rights, tolerance, equity and solidarity from the earliest years of life, based on the development of values, attitudes and behaviours that resist violence, making it possible to resolve conflicts peacefully and transform them into ways to promote coexistence through dialogue and negotiation.

1 A review is suggested of the postulates of Fernando Salinas (2017) in his book Educación inicial: apego y desarrollo sociocognitivo [“Early education: attachment and socio-cognitive development”] to understand the meaning of the concepts of care and secure attachment.


Bibliografía • Calderón, P. (2009). Teoría de conflictos de Johan Galtung. Revista Paz y conflictos, (2), 60-81. • Galtung, J. (2016) La violencia cultural, estructural y directa. Cuadernos de estrategia. (183), 147-168. • Galtung, J. (2003a). Paz por medios pacíficos, paz y conflicto, desarrollo y civilización. Spain: Ed. Bakeas. • Galtung, J. (2003b). Trascender y transformar. Una introducción al trabajo de conflictos, Mexico, Transcend – Quimera. • Galtung, J. (1969). Violence, Peace, and Peace Research. Journal of Peace Research, 6(3), 167-191. • Habermas, J. (2000). Teoría de la comunicación. Madrid: Promotores editores. • Jiménez Bautista, F. (2011). Racionalidad pacífica. Una introducción a los estudios para la paz. Madrid: Dykinson. • Lorenzo, P. (2001). Fundamentos teóricos del conflicto social. Spain: Siglo XXI. • Pinheiro, P.S. (2006). The United Nations Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children. • Romero, Y. (2006). Tramas y urdimbres sociales en la ciudad. Universitas Humanística, (61), 217-228. Retrieved from: http://www.scielo.org.co/scielo. php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0120-48072006000100010&lng=en&tlng=es. • Murillo Torrecilla, F. and Hernández Castilla, R. (2011). Hacia un Concepto de Justicia Social. REICE. Revista Iberoamericana sobre Calidad, Eficacia y Cambio en Educación, 9 (4), 7-23. • Tuvilla Rayo, J. (2004). Cultura de Paz. Fundamentos y claves educativas. Bilbao: Desclée De Brouwer. • UNICEF. (2009). La infancia y los conflictos en un mundo en transformación. Examen estratégico 10 años después del informe Machel. New York: Office of


the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict. • United Nations and ECLAC. (2016). The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. An opportunity for Latin America and the Caribbean. Retrieved from https://repositorio.cepal.org/bitstream/ handle/11362/40156/25/S1801140_en.pdf. • Zuleta, E. (1999). De la guerra. In: Sobre la idealización en la vida personal y colectiva y otros ensayos. Bogotá, Colombia: Editorial Printer. • Tuvilla Rayo, J. (2004). Cultura de Paz. Fundamentos y claves educativas. Bilbao: Desclée De Brouwer. • UNICEF. (2009). La infancia y los conflictos en un mundo en transformación. Examen estratégico 10 años después del informe Machel. New York: Oficina de la Representante Especial del Secretario General para la cuestión de los niños y los conflictos armados • Zuleta, E. (1999). De la guerra. En: Sobre la idealización en la vida personal y colectiva y otros ensayos. Bogotá: Editorial Printer.


From Lournal L’Enfant to the Newsletter of the Inter-American Children’s Institute:

an analysis of periodicals on child care and protection between 1890 and 1927 por Hélvio Alexandre Mariano

Since 1891, the debate on the care and protection of children provided in France began to spread beyond French borders owing to the publication of one periodical in particular, entitled Journal L’Enfant.i This publication was conceived in 1891 by Henri Rollet, a lawyer who acted in the Court of Appeal of La Seine/Paris. Two decades later, once it had been established as the most important periodical published in Europe, Henri Rollet wrote an account in the November 1910 issue, reminding readers of the objectives of L’Enfant, which was about to become an established means of communication, following deliberations at the International Association for the Protection of Youth. According to Henri Rollet, L’Enfant’s ambition was to unite all Child Protection concerns, serving them free of charge as a common dissemination body. Now our dream seems to be coming true in a really wonderful way. I explain as follows: the communication we have just received from the International Association for the Protection of Youth informs us that at their meeting of 11 August in Copenhagen, on the occasion of the International 141

Congress of Public and Private Assistance, they have just published their records, signed by their members, which open the possibility of discussing the creation of an International Association for the Protection of Children. Among the proposals of the members is the urgency mentioned by the Association of publishing a newspaper; however, until its creation, the entity will use L’Enfant, in Paris, as its official mouthpiece.ii For almost three decades, Journal L’Enfant was the main French periodical on the subject of children to circulate uninterruptedly, and even at a time when alternatives to the publication led by Henri Rollet were discussed, such as at the Copenhagen meetings of 1911, Paris in 1912, and at the Brussels congress of 1913, the debates were conducted by the editors of the newspaper, who after each meeting, published the full records of what had taken place, allowing a wider audience than that present at the activities to have access to everything that had been discussed about the proposals for the creation of a new publication, or about maintaining L’Enfant as the official means of debate, information and publications of articles and notes on events in the field of children and youth. However, as we shall see over the course of this article, the proposal of the International Association for the Protection of Youth would not be the only proposal that aimed to transform L’Enfant into an official means of disseminating issues related to children in France. In 1911, a new proposal presented at the meeting of representatives of French-speaking countries also suggested creating a publication to unify all discussion on the subject of child care and protection. In 1912, on the occasion of the initial discussions on holding the International Congress for the Protection of Children in Brussels in 1913, the subject was revisited, but now with a final deadline for the decision, which was to be finalized at the Plenary of the Congress of Protection and Care in Brussels in 1913, when the launching of a periodical was decided. According to its founding manifesto, 142

it would publish articles in English and French as a priority, but without neglecting publication in other languages if deemed appropriate by the editorial board of the new journal. The first issues of the Bulletin followed the model adopted in the founding manifesto, divided into five sections: 1. Outcome of activities at the Child Protection Congress; 2. Scientific articles on child-related issues; 3. Publications on children circulating at the time; 4. News from international correspondents associated with the journal’s scientific committee; and 5. Miscellaneous articles on children’s issues. The new periodical was planned to be published in the format of a journal, unlike L’Enfant, which maintained the features of a newspaper, as established in 1891 by Henri Rollet, similar to newspapers circulating at that time in France. The choice of the journal or Bulletin format also established a difference between the two publications; they were complementary, not competitive, L’Enfant being a widely circulated publication, in newspaper format with summarized texts, chronicles and articles on various aspects of child care and protection, while the new Bulletin sought to consolidate itself as a hybrid publication, maintaining a division, with the publication of scientific articles and news on various topics on child care and protection. Another important aspect was to be clear about who the readers of the newspapers were and their circulation at that period, which was possible after cross-checking data in all the letters received and mentions of new subscriptions in the issues published by L’Enfant until 1913, creating a map that showed the newspaper circulating far beyond the borders of France, to Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Japan, Canada, the United States and other countries. L’Enfant had an extensive network of readers from childcare entities scattered around the world; some of the readers


of the newspaper were involved in the fields of law and medicine in various countries. Another important network was composed of bodies connected to the Catholic Church, which collaborated intensively with the publication, especially in the dissemination of approaches against “the moral crisis of youth”, a topic that united intellectuals linked to Catholic entities. I. The role of L’Enfant in the dissemination and circulation of debates on Conferences on the theme of child protection and care Presenting his vote at the Brussels Congress on Child Protection, Henri Jaspar, representative of Belgium, secretary-general and responsible for presenting the proposal for the creation of an Office International de la Protection de l’Enfance, reminded those present that although it was not an unprecedented topic, there was a need to create a historical overview of previous Congresses at which the issue had been discussed, and even of the process of “deceleration that followed the Congrès de Patronage d’Anvers, qui, le premier, créa une Association Internationale des Patronages et de la Protection de l’Enfance”.1 According to Jaspar, the “idea of resurrecting the creation of the Office arose at the initiative of MM. Silbernagel et Julhiet”2 who had brought the subject up at previous meetings and managed to have the proposal included in the discussions of the organizing commission, since they considered it essential to maintain the atmosphere generated at the meeting of 24 June 1912, held in the city of Paris, at which the creation of the Office International de L’Enfance was proposed. Tracing the path that led to the discussions of the final session of the Brussels Congress for Child Protection in 1913, it is 1 Annals of the International Congress on Child Protection. Brussels, 1913, pp. 495/499. CEDIAS/Paris archive. 2 Ibid.


possible to perceive the central role played by the newspaper L’Enfant in the dissemination of events surrounding the themes of child protection and care between 1891 and 1913. During that period, the Journal L’Enfant highlighted the celebration of sixty-six Congresses that addressed the issue of child care and protection. In relation to the Patronage Congresses mentioned by Henri Jaspar, in addition to the one held in 1894, we find in L’Enfant news about thirteen additional congresses held between 1892 and 1912. During this period, there was an intense exchange of information between government, welfare, legal and medical entities, with the celebration of various national and international conferences and meetings with topics tending towards the discussion of the situation of health, hygiene, education, work and legislation in the most diverse countries, especially on the European continent. Within this context, there was an intense flow of information on legislation, aspects of operation and ways of functioning of the new institutions for the care and protection of children. This demonstrates that these congresses functioned as genuine centres for the exchange of ideas and cultural transfer regarding children, creating a network for the wide circulation of knowledge on this topic. II. The war years: 1914/1917 In 1914, the Journal L’Enfant was fully consolidated as the leading newspaper in the area of child protection and care, with monthly issues and twenty pages per issue, in addition to an illustrated magazine as a supplement to the newspaper. Between January and June 1914, the newspaper highlighted the topic of children’s courts in its pages, with the dissemination of new studies and legislation on child care and protection, and mainly of works on the United States, Germany, Belgium,


England and France. There was also increased space for the dissemination of texts published by The Child periodical of Chicago and The Child of London, in addition to maintaining its monthly space for the publication of contributions from Belgium’s Office de Protection. In 1914 alone, when six issues of the newspaper had already been published and a total of 120 pages, in addition to the 48 dedicated pages in six issues of the illustrated supplement, which was sent to subscribers, L’Enfant published long chronicles on the situation of child care and protection in Germany, England, Belgium and France. However, with the outbreak of the Great War, L’Enfant’s plans for expansion were interrupted in June 1914, when the last copy was published in the 20-page format, with an illustrated magazine as a supplement. Issue 224 of L’Enfant was the last to be published before the start of the war and it was only brought into circulation again in January 1916, with four pages and without the illustrated supplement. In 1917, L’Enfant became a quarterly. It should be noted that until the interruption of publication in June 1914, L’Enfant was moving forward in its plans to become more than a French-speaking newspaper in the area of child care and protection, and to that end, it had increased the number of its pages, brought out an illustrated magazine as a supplement and expanded the number of articles and analyses on the situation of children in various countries, making it the main newspaper in the area of child care and protection of the period. L’Enfant was instrumental in maintaining a network involving an enormous number of public and private entities, jurists, physicians, philanthropists and educators, from Europe to the United States.


1919/1921: the resumption of discussions and the consolidation of the new model of newspaper on child care and protection In October 1921, the first issue of the Bulletin International de la Protection de l’Enfance was published under the auspices of the Association Internationale de la Protection de l’Enfance. The new publication was the outcome of a decision adopted at the Second International Child Protection Congress held in Brussels from 18 to 21 July 1921, and followed the model proposed and adopted at the first Congress held in 1913, also in Brussels. For Henri Velge, secretary general of the publication, the task allocated to the Bulletin was very broad. It will need to keep an eye on the overall child protection movement around the world, keep its readers informed of the progress of legislation in every country, and encourage new initiatives and collaborations for this great work. In addition, the Bulletin should also maintain an updated section with the dissemination of all child protection periodicals published in all countries and languages, to enable its readers to have access to a comprehensive bibliography of all issues of concern to them that are published worldwide.iii Among the founders of the Association Internationale de la Protection de l’Enfance, established in 1921, were Henri Rollet (France), Dr Alfred Silbernagel (Switzerland), Henri Jaspar (Belgium) and Henri Carton (Belgium), who had participated in the initial discussions for the creation of an international body for the care and protection of children and the launching of a publication to meet international demand on the subject of children. The group’s initial plan was to issue a publication aimed only at French-speaking countries; the idea was expanded to an international newspaper in 1913 and became a reality in 1921, with the publication of the first issue of the Bulletin of the Office International de Protection de l’Enfance.


In order to cater for the largest number of readers, the new periodical was published in English and French; however, if the editorial committee determined that it was appropriate, issues could be published in other languages, should this be of interest to the journal. The only exception would be the publication of legislation on children, which would be published in the original text. The new publication was to follow the plans proposed at the Paris meetings of 1912 and adopted at the International Child Protection Congresses of 1913 and 1921, which sought to issue an international journal that would take over the functions of other publications, especially the role L’Enfant had played since 1891. To this end, it would be necessary that: Bulletin [should] carry out, in the international field, a task similar to that carried out in some countries by national publications, with the publication of original scientific articles written by correspondents, members of national committees and government delegates, in addition to announcing all the main international meetings totally or partially related to the protection of children, publishing an account of those meetings, as well as the votes and their decisions; in a word: to condense everything affecting our field in international life.iv In addition to the pioneer L’Enfant, the new publication sought to consider three other journals that had become consolidated in that period: The Child of London, The Child of Chicago and the Bulletin of the Office de Protection de Bruxelles.v The new publication was modelled on the Bulletin of the Office National de Protection de l’Enfance de Bruxelles, published since 1913 by the Belgian Office National. In 1913, following the meetings held in Paris in 1911 by the group seeking to launch a French language magazine, the Belgian magazine was born under the strong influence of the editors of L’Enfant. However, there were differences between the two publications: the first 148

was published by a private charity – the Children’s Board of Paris – and the second was a publication associated with a national office for the protection of children, formed after the Care and Protection Congress in that country. However, the new Bulletin did not seek to emulate the international scope of L’Enfant, differentiating itself in the format of the publication and initially confining itself to being a national periodical. In the case of the Bulletin of the Office National de Protection de l’Enfance de Bruxelles, the editorial project followed the format of the scientific journals of that period,iv different from that of L’Enfant, which was created in 1891 by Henri Rollet, in the format of a daily newspaper, with four pages, taking advantage of the moment of transformation experienced by the French press with the arrival of new printing technologies and new readers. While L’Enfant used the most popular and affordable format for its bimonthly publication, in the 43 x 30 cm format – the same format used by various newspapers, including Le Petit Journal – the Bulletin of the Office National de Protection de l’Enfance de Bruxelles followed the standard of serial publications in a scientific journal format, 20 x 25 cm.

Bulletin l’Enfance


the de

Office Bruxelles

National 1919.


Protection de L’Enfant, 1916.3

3 The Bulletin of the Office National de Protection de l’Enfance de Bruxelles is on file at CEDIAS/Social Museum in Paris; however, not all issues have been preserved. A copy of


Analysis of both publications shows that there is no overlap between the Bulletin of the Office National de Protection de l’Enfance de Bruxelles and L’Enfant; the former seeks to put into practice a different publication plan, much closer to that of journals published by scientific bodies. The choice of the scientific journal model can be understood by the growing interest of intellectuals of various fields in discussions on the issue of children, which modified the way in which the knowledge that was being produced at the time was disseminated. Then in 1919, when discussions resumed regarding the publication of an international newspaper, the Bulletin of the Office National de Protection de l’Enfance de Bruxelles was established with a network of subscribers ranging beyond Belgium and with articles, copies of laws, jurisprudence and a section including the most recent publications in the field of child care and protection. In comparative terms, in 1919 the United States of America’s Children’s Bureau, a body similar to the Office National de Bruxelles, began publishing its first research news. The publication was mimeographed and distributed to members of the association, and subsequently sent to a list of 1,200 members, in various states and locations.vii The United States Children’s Bureau only began to publish its journal, The Child,viii in 1935.

L’Enfant made on the basis of research carried out at BNF. The image used is a copy available in the Gallica Data Bank, which was accessed in October 2019.


Periodicals on child care and protection

Discussions on the creation of the International Child Protection Association in 1921 and the launching of the Bulletin International de la Protection de l’Enfance When the Bulletin International de la Protection de l’Enfance was first published in 1921, following a decision by the Second Brussels Congress for the Care and Protection of Children, it encountered a different context from that in the now distant year 1913, when the proposal was put forward at the First International Congress, also held in the city of Brussels. The representative of Belgium, H. Carton de Wiart, explained in the presentation of the first issue of the publication that “the raison d’être of the international association, which seemed so obvious to us before the Great War, does not provoke the same sparkle in every eye today.ix Wiart’s talk referred to the millions killed in the more than fifty-two months of conflict, recalling that in that carnage of corpses, in that ruin of ruins, the world will still experience for a long time the procession


of disease and decadence of all kinds. Hunger is wreaking havoc on Eastern Europe. Everywhere the problem of the cost of living is abundant and all social classes, or almost all, suffer the restrictions that this implies in domestic and family life.x Two points mentioned in H. Carton de Wiart’s address are important for understanding the paths of the International Child Protection Association and the proposed publication of an international newspaper. Recalling that the “reason for the association was not as obvious as before 1913”, Carton de Wiart referred to the discussions that took place at the Second Brussels Congress, held in 1921, when the proposal to form the International Association encountered resistance from the block of delegates led by England, who argued that the League of Nations should be entrusted with the task of creating the proposed Office, while one of the American delegates, Mrs Vernon Kellog, spoke out against this claim. The position defended by England obtained only 4 votes, against 28 in favour and 2 abstentions. The victory of the “semi-public” model, which allowed governments, charities and individual affiliations to join the new body, did not close the debate between the International Association for the Protection of Children and the League of Nations, as it still had to respond to a request submitted a few days before the 1921 Brussels Congress by three international organizations – the International Committee of the Red Cross, the League of Red Cross Societies and the International Save the Children Union – and request the creation of a special commission before the Secretariat of the League of Nations, which would be responsible for coordinating and classifying all documentary information and thus ensure the connection between the various international organizations, public and private, interested in the movement for the defence and protection of children.


The British resistance to the creation of a new international body, as initiated in the discussions of the Second International Child Protection Congress in Brussels in 1921, remained unchanged over the following years, holding firm the position that it was impossible for international entities to act outside the control of article 23 of the Covenant of the League of Nations. However, it should be emphasized that the growth of the role of new bodies such as Save The Children or Secours aux enfants cannot be disregarded when analysing international debates. Another important factor was the increased participation of South American countries in international discussions, a fact used by Sir Austen Chamberlain in advocating for the expansion of the Committee dealing with Trafficking in Women to a broader body, including child care and protection, incorporating not only litigating entities, but also new actors, such as South American countries. After four years of discussion, an agreement was concluded between the countries involved. With the statutory changes of the International Association for the Protection of Children, which accepted the precepts of Article 23 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, there were no further objections to its inclusion in the League of Nations, a fact that was reflected in the amendment proposed by the English representative, Sir Austen Chamberlain, which changed the structure of the Steering Committee on Trafficking in Women, including in it the “Protection of Children”. The inclusion of the term “Child Protection” was part of the agreement to entitle the International Child Protection Association to a representative in the future Committee. In addition, three other entities were to be incorporated, including the “International League of Red Cross Societies, International Organisations of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides and the Union Internationale de Secours aux Enfants”,xi


ending the dispute between the International Association for the Protection of Children and the League of Nations. The accession to the League of Nations of the International Association for the Protection of Children did not interfere with the already established Bulletin International, used in defence of the International Association during its dispute with the League of Nations to demonstrate the role played by the association and its extensive network of international collaborators, built over the last decades among welfare and government entities in various countries; what changed as from 1925 was the imprint of the League of Nations. The first steps towards the creation of an International Association for the Protection of Children in the Americas 1916-1924 The motion submitted by the British Ambassador, Sir Austen Chamberlainxii, to the League of Nations in 1924, proposing the change from the Steering Committee on Trafficking in Women and Children to the Steering Committee on Trafficking in Women and Protection of Children contemplated the requests of Belgium, England and representatives of the International Association for the Protection of Children, in addition to a request submitted by the Uruguayan delegation, which also sought to expand the space devoted to the subject within the League of Nations. To underscore the significance of the request made by the Uruguayan delegation, Sir Austen Chamberlain explained that “the protection of children should be universal”xiii and that, moreover, it was necessary to understand that at that time “there existed in the American continent major organizations dedicated to this work, which were the outcome of different congresses held recently”xiv on the American continent.


Thus, in order to understand the creation process of the InterAmerican Children’s Institute in 1927, we need to analyse first the role of the American Children’s Congresses, mentioned by Sir Austen Chamberlain, as a key venue generating the embryo of what would become the Inter-American Children’s Institute, as well as the newspaper created by the entity, the Newsletter of the Inter-American Children’s Institute. The celebrationxv of the American Children’s Congresses between 1916 and 1924 enabled an intensive exchange of information between countries in the most diverse fields, addressing the subject of child protection and care, such as the situation of health, hygiene, education, labour and legislation in the most diverse countries of the continent, in addition to initiating discussions on the creation of an American international agency dedicated exclusively to centralizing all activities related to the issue. The initial plan to convene an American Children’s Congressxvi emerged from the discussions held at the 1st. National Child Congress, held in 1913 in Argentina. under the umbrella of the League for Women’s and Children’s Rights. This First American Child Congress was included in the extensive agenda of congresses and exhibitions for the festivities for the Centenary of Argentine Independence in July 1916, and, under the coordination of the same league of socialist women, chaired by doctor Julieta Lanteri, was attended by approximately 200 participants (SOUZA, 2015, p. 7). The First American Child Congress, held in 1916, was attended by representatives of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela and the United States (with non-official representation).


Despite not sending an official delegation, the Children’s Bureau of the United States, led by Julia Lathrop, was contacted prior to the Congress by the League for Women’s and Children’s Rights, organizer of the 1st. National Child Congress, so that the country would be associated to the realization of the international event, and play an important role in the consolidation of future Pan American Congresses dedicated to child welfare. This intensive exchange of information with the League of Argentine Women was considered the beginning of the international activities of the Children’s Bureau.xvii Among the deliberations of the 1st American Child Congress, we highlight the various recommendations adopted and sent to the countries of the continent, such as: carry out studies on the criminal laws of the Americas, creating correctional facilities for minors or adopting immigration laws to prohibit the entry into American countries of dangerous persons for physical or moral reasons; adoption, by countries where compulsory education laws already exist, of adequate measures for the care and protection of sick children, such as medical and dental examinations, creation of holiday colonies or summer schools, protection of mothers during breastfeeding; prohibition of work for children under the age of 14, and limitation of the work of all minors to six hours a day.xviii We were unable to find in any of the sources consulted a proposal or approval in the 1st American Child Congress focusing on the creation of an international body for the protection of children, or on the producing of specific periodicals, as occurred in European debates. The proposal to create an international agency was only submitted for the first time at the 2nd American Child Congress – held in 1919 in the city of Montevideo – by the Uruguayan delegation.


From the initial proposal to the consolidation of the InterAmerican Children’s Institute During the second congress held in the city of Montevideo in 1919, the proposal to create an American International Child Protection Office emerged for the first time, a position approved by the Uruguayan delegation, which defended the need to establish a centre for study, documentation, consultation and propaganda concerning children in the Americas; we need the fullest and most determined cooperation of all institutions, agencies, public offices or individuals, as well as the contributions of men of goodwill, who can somehow deal with the many and varied problems of the child, and in particular, the American child, since our countries have issues that must be resolved taking into account each country’s own characteristics and, often, characteristics they have in common; the greater the cooperation of all, the more efficient will the Institute’s operations be.4 The same Congress adopted the formation of a commission of scholars in the field, to present an expanded project on the future office. The delegates present approved the immediate transformation of this office, even with its limited existence, into a vigorous agency that would serve all of the countries of the Americas. The next step was the consolidation of the office into a multilateral Organization, with the participation of all the countries of the Americas, and with its definitive headquarters in the city of Montevideo, Uruguay. Despite having been received with great enthusiasm by the members of the 2nd Inter-American Child Congress, the office was not established as quickly as the delegates present in 4 Newsletter of the Inter-American Children’s Institute. Montevideo, n. 1, Jul./ 1927.


Montevideo in 1919 had envisaged, as reported in the editorial of the first issue of the Newsletter of the Inter-American Children’s Institute in 1927: The idea was met with general applause. Our authorities promised to take an immediate interest. Some South American ministers expressed their full support on behalf of their Governments. However, once the first impressions had been extinguished, difficulties began to arise, which gradually caused the project to be forgotten. In addition, the time that had elapsed, the changes in the people concerned or in those who had intervened at an early stage, made it increasingly difficult to carry out.5 After the initial euphoria, the idea of creating an international agency was resumed only later, in 1922, in the city of Rio de Janeiro, where the 3rd American Child Congress was held, coinciding with the celebrations for the centenary of Brazilian independence. In preparation for participation in the Rio de Janeiro Congress, the Uruguayan delegation once again insisted on the establishment of the American International Child Protection Office. Until then, however, Uruguay, which had been chosen to host the office, had not taken the initial steps to establish it. Thus, the 3rd American Child Congress passed only one motion and demanded the creation of the office as soon as possible. Faced with that episode, Uruguayan delegates committed to the cause, gained strength to argue in its favour and demanded that their government be more diligent in the creation of the International American Institute for the Protection of Children. The intensive discussions that took place during the 3rd Congress of Rio de Janeiro on new child protection theories 5 Ibid, pp. 5-7.


and legislation put even more pressure on the Uruguayan delegation to set up the office, based in the city of Montevideo, as other cities were already appearing as candidates to host the initiative; for example, Rio de Janeiro. Thus, between the 3rd Congress of Rio de Janeiro and the 4th Pan-American Child Congress, which was to be held in the city of Santiago de Chile in 1924, the Government of Uruguay published the decree establishing the American International Child Protection Office, defining it as “a centre for the study, coordination, consultation and propaganda of all matters relating to children in the Americas”.6 With this decree, the country fulfilled the mandate of the 3rd American Child Congress, which established the city of Montevideo as the definitive headquarters of the new Institute, incorporating the deliberations of the 1919 Congress and the 3rd American Child Congress, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1922. The new institution, according to the deliberations of the 4th Pan American Child Congress, held in 1924, was to follow the model adopted by the International Association for the Protection of Children, created in 1921 at the 2nd International Congress for the Protection of Children. The editorial of the first issue of the Institute’s Newsletter explains that the project contemplates and copies, in part, the organization of the Brussels Office, according to the vote taken at the Congress of Rio de Janeiro in 1922, and takes into account, as stipulated by the decree establishing the Office, the report presented to our Government by the Commission appointed in 1922 at the 3rd. American Child Congress.xix It should be noted that between 1921 and 1924, while the creation on the American continent of an institution similar to the International Association for the Protection of Children was being discussed, this body was engaged in a fierce struggle with other welfare entities and with the League of Nations to 6 Ibid, p. 10.


try to maintain the model created in 1921, which allowed the membership of governments, welfare entities and individuals in the body, contrary to article 23 of the Covenant of the League of Nations. By denying membership to individuals and charitable bodies, the new organization emerged according to the model advocated in the League of Nations by the Uruguayan delegation, aligned with the position of the United Kingdom, which argued that all international entities should follow the recommendations of Article 23 of the Society’s Covenant. However, in 1924, the agreement between the International Association for the Protection of Children and the League of Nations culminated in the modification of the statute of the former to conform to the precepts of article 23 of the Covenant; the differences between the entities discussed above were only in terms of scope, with representation before the League of Nations being the responsibility of the International Association. The new American periodical devoted to the care and protection of children: the Newsletter of the Inter-American Children’s Institute While the Bulletin International de la Protection de l’Enfance had become consolidated as a hub for publications in Europe, another publication, similar to the periodical printed in Brussels, was being produced in South America; however, it only began publication definitively in 1927, with the first edition of the Newsletter of the Inter-American Children’s Institute. The new Newsletter emerged following the deliberations of the 4th Pan American Child Congress, held in 1924 in the city of Santiago de Chile. However, we should note that eight 160

years earlier, the 2nd American Child Congress, held in 1919 in the city of Montevideo, had approved the production of the periodical, as proposed by Uruguayan physician, Luis Morquio. At that time, the suggestion was to create a journal similar to the Bulletin International de la Protection de l’Enfance, published by the Office National de Protection de l’Enfance in Brussels.7 The second proposal, submitted in 1922, and the third, in 1924, at the Congress of Santiago Chile, mentioned following the model of the Bulletin International de la Protection de l’Enfance. This shows that the proponents of producing an American Bulletin were aware of the two periodicals circulating at that time – both the national version produced in Belgium since 1913, and the one launched in 1921 after the Second Congress on Child Protection. However, it was only in 1927, at the foundation of the Inter-American Children’s Institute, that the statutes of the new entity were adopted, with articles governing the new periodical, similar to those of the Bulletin International de la Protection de l’Enfance, launched in 1921 by the International Association for the Protection of Children. According to the new Statutes, The institute shall issue an official publication entitled: Newsletter of the International American Institute for the Protection of Childhood. This periodical will be published at least every three months. It will include everything related to the Child Protection movement in the countries of the Americas. 7 It should be noted that the first contract we entered into with the Bulletin International de la Protection de l’Enfance was related to research carried out in the archives of the InterAmerican Children’s Institute and the Organization of American States, based in Montevideo. The Bulletin was among the various papers included in the folder on Luis Morquio.


Laws, regulations, statistics, progress and results of the various institutions shall be recorded. Original papers will be published on the issues concerning […] It will announce major international meetings with their agendas […].8 A brief analysis of the Newsletter of the Inter-American Children’s Institute between the years 1927 and 1930 The Newsletter of the Inter-American Children’s Institute followed the standard of serial publications in the format of a scientific journal (20 x 25 cm format) used by both the Bulletin of the Office National de Protection de l’Enfance de Bruxelles and the Bulletin of the Office International de Protection de l’Enfance. In addition, the newspaper was published quarterly, with articles in Spanish and Portuguese, and with summaries in French or English. Another feature was the internal layout of the Newsletter, which followed the model of its European counterpart, divided into sections, with space for scientific articles on topics involving countries of the American continent, copies of bills adopted, dissemination of literature and journals focusing on issues related to child care and protection, in addition to space intended for the dissemination of congresses and events, as well as their outcomes. The first issues of the Newsletter of the Inter-American Children’s Institute, between 1927 and 1930, were published with paperboard covers and different sections inside: paperboard for the text and coated paper for photos and graphics. Unlike the European Bulletins published in Belgium, the American Newsletter did not make use of a publishing house or a sales outlet. 8 Newsletter of the Inter-American Children’s Institute – Volume I, N° 1, p. 18, 1927.


Copia de la tapa de la edición Número 1. Biblioteca del Instituto Interamericano del Niño. 1927, Montevidéu-Uruguai

Bulletin del Office National de Protection de l’Enfance de Bruxelles 1919

The new newsletter was distributed through the members of the International Council, who received a certain number of journals to be distributed in their countries, or, otherwise, through the bodies with which journal exchanges had been set up. Since the financing of the new periodical was fully covered by the contributions paid by the countries that were members of the Inter-American Children’s Institute, the newsletter carried no publicity, as was the case with L’Enfant and also with the Bulletin of the Office International de Protection de l’Enfance. The Statutes adopted in 1927 established dues of two thousand dollars for each member country; however, by August 1927, only the government of Uruguay had made a deposit, for a total amount of 2,875 Uruguayan pesos. Of the amounts deposited in the Institute’s accounts, 110 thousand 163

Uruguayan pesos were to pay salaries, 200 thousand pesos for the purchase of a Remington typewriter, 42 thousand pesos were spent on mail and telegraph, and 196 thousand pesos were paid to the Barreiro y Ramos printing house for the printing of the newsletter, totalling 548 thousand pesos, leaving a surplus in cash of 2,327 pesos. Production and distribution costs amounted to just over 238 thousand pesos, which was around 10% of the organization’s cash flow, allowing the Institute to maintain the quarterly publication schedule for the new newspaper until 1930.

The formation of the International Council At the founding Assembly of the Inter-American Children’s Institute in 1927, the representatives of the countries present became their countries’ representatives on the Institute’s International Council, thus forming a council of ten members from acceding countries, with a president, a secretary, seven full members of the council and a member responsible for the Institute’s periodical, representing a total of eight countries. Despite belonging to the first International Council of the InterAmerican Children’s Institute and appearing in the Institute’s newsletters as a full member of the organization, Mr Ulysses Grant Smith, representative of the United States of America, made it clear that his appointment had not been approved by the United States Congress, which had not yet determined whether or not the country would be part of the new Institute, and limiting his country’s participation only to the initial opening ceremony for the foundation of the Institute. Thus, as occurred at the creation of the Office International de Protection de l’Enfance and its participation in the League of Nations, the effective membership of the United States of America depended on the approval of the United States


Congress. When conducting our research for this paper, we were unable to find information regarding when the country was authorized to participate in the International Council of the Inter-American Children’s Institute; however, in 1929 there was a change in representative when Mr Ulysses Grant Smith left the council and Ms Katharine F. Lenroot joined it. On the occasion of the founding of the Inter-American Children’s Institute, Mr Ulysses Grant Smith was ambassador of the United States of America to Uruguay, a post he held between 1925 and 1929, which explains his departure from the International Council when he left the post of ambassador and returned to his country. His successor was Ms Katharine F. Lenroot, who had been active since the founding of the United States Children’s Bureau in 1914, along with Grace Abbott and Julia Lathrop. The second modification in the International Council took place with the replacement of the representative of Peru, Ambassador Enrique Bustamante y Ballivian, by Dr Juan Pedro Paz Soldán, also in 1929.

International Council of the Inter-American Children’s Institute between 1927 and 1929


International Council of the Inter-American Children’s Institute between 1929 and 1930


When analysing the international council of the Inter-American Children’s Institute, we recall that the organization only allowed the participation of official representatives appointed by the countries acceding to the new entity, vetoing the participation of charities and individual members. To achieve a better understanding of how the first council was formed, we cross-referenced the data of the elected members with the profession of each member, their place of birth and their country of residence, and with this information we were able to see that among the ten members of the council, representing eight countries, there were two seats that were occupied by Uruguayans, in the case of Cuba and Ecuador. Another factor was the profession of the members: seven physicians, two diplomats and one unidentified. In 1929, on occasion of the first changes to the International Council, both the diplomat representing the United States, Mr Ulysses Grant Smith, and Mr Enrique Bustamante y Ballivian, Ambassador of Peru, were replaced by new representatives. International Council of the Inter-American Children’s Institute between 1927 and 1929


International Council of the International Inter-American Children’s Institute after 1930

The first issues of the Newsletter of the Inter-American Children’s Institute between 1927 and 1930 Between 1927 and 1930, one hundred and four articles were published in the Newsletter of the Inter-American Children’s Institute, totalling seventy-two different authors. Of the articles published, twenty-four were by active members of the International Council; of these, eleven were written by Luis Morquio, editor of the newspaper. A further fifteen authors published more than one article, and only eight were signed by two or more authors. In addition, there were eleven articles published by the office of the director-general of the Institute, two by the organizing committee of the Sixth Pan American Child Congress and only one article originated outside of the


Americas: an article from the Union Internationale Secours aux Enfants, of Switzerland. By 1930, the Inter-American Children’s Institute was an established body, with its newsletter published regularly and possessing a strong network of contacts beyond the American continent, which made the Institute and its periodical the main hub for the dissemination and publication of discussion on child care and protection in the Americas.

Hélvio Alexandre Mariano Hélvio Alexandre Mariano is Associate Professor at the History Department of Unicentro University, Guarapuava-Paraná, Brazil. He is a researcher in the field of childhood, with doctoral and post-doctoral degrees in History from Paulista State University-Unesp-Assis-State of São Paulo Author of the book A Assistência à Infância e o Amparo à Maternidade no Brasil Entre os Anos de 1927-1940, Scortecci Editora, 2011.


Notes i History of the Children’s Bureau, published by the Children’s Bureau of the United States of America, 1912. ii The Child, journal of the Children’s Bureau of the United States of America. Not the same as The Child published in Chicago. The National Library of Brazil has a complete collection of The Child of the United States. iii Bulletin International de la Protection de l’Enfance, No. 1, 1921. (CEDIAS/Paris Social Museum). iv Ibid. v It should be noted particularly that there had been movements since 1916 in favour of launching an international journal addressing the topic of child protection in South America, which was only put into practice in 1927. vi Further information in Karine Chemla, “Histoire des sciences et matérialité des textes”, Enquête [online], 1 | 1995, posted online on 10 July 2013; consulted on 19 April 2019. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/enquete/273 ; DOI : 10.4000/ enquete.273. vii History of the Children’s Bureau, published by the Children’s Bureau of the United States of America, 1912. viii The Child, journal of the Children’s Bureau of the United States of America. Not the same as The Child published in Chicago. There is a complete collection of The Child of the United States of America at the National Library of Brazil. ix Bulletin of the Office International, n1.1921. CEDIAS/Paris Social Museum. x Bulletin of the Office International, n1.1921. CEDIAS/Paris Social Museum. xi Journal Officiel, League of Nations, February 1925, p. 221. Archives of the League of Nations, Geneva.


xii Nobel Peace Prize in 1925 for his role in the Treaty of Lucarno. xiii Journal Officiel, League of Nations, February 1925, p. 221. Archives of the League of Nations, Geneva. xiv Ibid. xv Further information in: NUNES, Eduardo Netto. A infância como portadora do futuro na América Latina: 1916/1948. 2011, 00 f. Thesis (Doctoral degree in Social History) – University of São Paulo, São Paulo, 2011. xvi First American Child Congress, Buenos Aires. 1916. Bulletin of the Pan American Union, Vol. XLIII (1916), p. 562. xvii History of the Children’s Bureau, published by the Children’s Bureau of the United States of America, 1912. Access: https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/ Story_of_CB_Spanish.pdf xviii First American Child Congress, Buenos Aires. 1916. Bulletin of the Pan American Union, Vol. XLIII (1916), p. 562. Archives of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries. Accessed 14 November 2019. xix Newsletter of the Inter-American Children’s Institute, No. 1, 1927. Archives of the Inter-American Children’s Institute, Montevideo, Uruguay.



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