Child Rights


Elizabeth with school children in Northern Rwanda during a programme evaluation for Chance for Childhood’s project supporting children with disabilities in education.

The vast majority of my work involves child rights advocacy for organisations such as UNICEF.

I feel particularly strongly about the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children, and the alternative care of children – subjects which can be related. For example, children in street situations, children in institutions or those trafficked for intercountry adoption are all vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

Over 80% of children in orphanages around the world have a living parent and most are there because their parents cannot afford to feed, clothe and educate them. In Ghana the figure is as high as 90%. In Ethiopia, the government recently attempted to trace the families of 385 children from 45 institutions. The families of all but 15 children were located.

When seen through this lens, the “orphan crisis” is largely a crisis in family support and the need for social protection systems.

Numerous rights violations and risk factors have a disproportionate effect on the girl child, which is an area also explored through my work on women’s rights.

Please see Elizabeth’s writing on child rights below. Please see other child rights articles in the sections on human traffickingmaternal and infant health, and the sexualisation of women and children.


Liberty & Humanity

Birth registration in Nigeria: Both education and a birth certificate are inaccessible to many children in hard to reach areas, such as rural communities in the North of Nigeria. Other social indicators are poor including high levels of food insecurity and some of the highest rates of child marriage in the world.

The percentage of births registered in these areas can be as low as 3%, as in Zamfara State. An EU-UNICEF programme significantly increased birth registrations in Nigeria including through partnerships with the health sector.

Read More.