Children and Reparation: Past lessons and new directions
This paper is among the first to analyse children's experiences of reparations programmes, taking into consideration programmes from Africa, Asia and Latin America. The violence, abuse and hardship that girls and boys suffer during armed conflict and political violence under authoritarian and dictatorial regimes continues to severely affect their development long after the end of war or demise of the violent regime. They experience violations of their civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights, including the rights to life, freedom of movement and association, education, health and family, which embraces the right to knowing and being cared for by their parents. Their rights to development and to a safe and healthy environment are also violated. It is not possible to fully repair children who have experienced such harms. Nonetheless, girls and boys have a right to remedy and reparation under international law – to benefit from reparation in material, symbolic, individual and collective forms. This working paper draws from reparation as conceived in the United Nations Resolution on Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law (2005). It offers a concise overview of trends in reparation programmes set up to address situations of armed conflict and under authoritarian and dictatorial regimes where children are subjected to systematic forms of grave violence. The authors demonstrate the failure to name and address grave rights violations against children in www.unicef-irc.org.past reparations programmes and efforts, much to the detriment of surviving children. The authors argue that at the heart of much of the violence against children in situations of armed conflict is the terrible damage done to relationships and social fabric among individuals, communities, societies and cultures. Recognizing the need to address the healing of relationships and reweaving of social fabric, in part through reparation, the paper offers suggestions for reparation approaches that could lead to better informing and shaping reparation responses for child victims.
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