Intersectional Discrimination Against Children [electronic resource]: Discrimination Against Romani Children and Anti-Discrimination Measures to Address Child Trafficking / Camilla Ida Ravnbøl.

Ravnbøl, Camilla Ida, author.
New York : United Nations, 2009.
Government document
1 online resource
Innocenti working papers 2520-6796 ; no.2009/11.
Innocenti Working Papers, 2520-6796 ; no.2009/11

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Local subjects:
Children and Youth. (search)
Romania. (search)
This paper adds a perspective to existing research on child protection by engaging in a debate on intersectional discrimination and its relationship to child protection. The paper has a twofold objective, (1) to further establish intersectionality as a concept to address discrimination against children, and (2) to illustrate the importance of addressing intersectionality within rights-based programmes of child protection. First, the paper applies the concept of intersectionality within a children‟s context. Intersectionality and intersectional discrimination are concepts used to describe the situation where multiple grounds of discrimination operate at the same time, for example when Romani girls experience harassment and abuse on the basis of their gender and ethnic origin in combination. Using the example of Romani children, the paper sheds light on the complex ways in which children are denied the equal enjoyment of their rights and freedoms because of discrimination against them on the basis of their age in combination with gender, ethnicity, disability, national status, economic status and other grounds. The analysis illustrates how intersectional discrimination takes various forms, such as discrimination within laws and policies or by state authorities (structural intersectionality), and discrimination in political and public forums for participation (political and representational intersectionality). These forms of discrimination can be intentional or unintentional in character, the latter resulting when an apparently neutral provision or practice is discriminatory in its effects. The analysis further distinguishes between the external sphere (state and society) and the internal sphere (family and community) where children experience interrelated forms of discrimination, and shows how this increases the disempowerment of the child. It is argued that in order to protect the human dignity of all children on an equal footing, existing human rights law must be interpreted and assessed in a way that cuts across traditionally separated legal categories. Furthermore, in order to fully address violations against the rights of the child, legal provisions are necessary that directly target intersectional discrimination. Secondly, a concrete illustration is presented of addressing intersectionality within programmes for child protection, using the example of rights-based programming to prevent and respond to child trafficking. Through a focus on the impact that discrimination has on children‟s rights, the importance is underlined of giving systematic and comprehensive attention to children‟s vulnerability to intersectional discrimination within anti-trafficking programming. The analysis shows that Romani children, and many other children who experience discrimination on interrelated grounds, have difficulties in accessing their entitlements to a broad range of human rights. These include legal guarantees and procedural rights, information, education, participation, health and social assistance, and identity rights. Consequently these children‟s access to anti-trafficking measures is affected, since the prevention of child trafficking, and protection and empowerment of children, essentially depend upon the enacting of these key child rights. Furthermore, when anti-trafficking measures do not take issues of intersectionality into account they may unintentionally reproduce the exclusion of those children who are vulnerable to intersectional discrimination. On this basis, the paper highlights areas where intersectional discrimination can be addressed within programming against child-trafficking in order to ensure the full and equal protection of all children. The recommendations hold relevance for child protection programming more widely. The main recommendation is to adopt holistic intersectional approaches within the international field of human rights. This requires comprehensive research and the systematic collection of data on which children are vulnerable to such forms of discrimination and in which sectors it occurs. Research should be conducted with children to get a nuanced insight into these issues, and to better understand children‟s reality. A holistic intersectional approach also includes identification of good practices and capacity building of professionals and institutions involved in child protection on diversity and discrimination issues. This includes establishing forums for dialogue to target discriminatory practices in society, including among children themselves, so that children do not reproduce discriminatory attitudes dominant in society. At the same time, children and adolescents who experience discrimination on interrelated grounds, namely intersectional discrimination, should be consulted and involved in developing policies and programmes that address discrimination It is important to interpret traditionally separated areas of human rights law in closer relation to each other, as well as to develop new legal provisions and political commitments that directly target intersectional discrimination. The concepts of structural, political and representational intersectionality and internal/external intersectionalities serve in this paper to distinguish between the different forms of discrimination affecting children and thus to identify the particular measures needed to address these issues.
Publisher Number:
10.18356/7e89512e-en doi
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