PRIMARY SOURCE DOCUMENTS
LABOUR ORGANIZATION CONVENTION FIXING THE MINIMUM AGE FOR
ADMISSION OF CHILDREN TO INDUSTRIAL EMPLOYMENT (1919)
Children used in industrial employment in Europe and the
United States troubled the ILO at the turn of the century.
Here is where they wanted children excluded from.
Pay careful note to differentiation made between "industry"
and "commerce" and the exemptions for Japan.
of Geneva (League of Nations 1924) A brief document,
which has little substance, but many great ideas.
DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS (United Nations G.A. res.
217A (III), U.N. Doc A/810 at 71December 1948) The
United Nations major statement on the whole issue of human
rights. The United States has not ratified this
document. Many articles mention items that are part
of the children's advocacy agenda, but the document is
broad, not specific to just children except for Article
Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade,
and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery, 226
U.N.T.S. 3, entered into force April 30, 1957.
The trafficking of women and children is covered in this
1957 United Nations treaty which also gives a good summary
of previous treaty and international law on the subject
in the Preamble.
- UNITED NATIONS DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
(Proclaimed by the Resolution I/86 of the General Assembly
on 20 November 1959) Takes the sentiments of the 1924 Geneva Declaration
and put some specific remedies to it. Takes into account
protection, provision, and participation rights.
The timing of this document, coming at a point in history
when many "third-world" countries were becoming
free from colonial control, stresses many of the needs
of those countries.
on the Rights of the Child (United Nations - 1989/1990)
The most comprehensive statement by the world community
on the rights of the child. When you read it, be
mindful of the fact that only Somalia and the UNITED STATES
have failed to ratify this document.
(International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour)
Action Against Child Labor 2000-2001 A very
pointed and serious document which takes into account
very recent issues of child trafficking and sexual exploitation
as well as other labor issues. Updated for 2000-2001 progress
reports. A very serious document. It is a PDF
file--clicking the link above will open up Adobe Acrobat
Reader if you have it installed on your computer.
- Optional Protocol
to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale
of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
(May 2000). The issue of the sexual exploitation
and trafficking for prostitution purposes is covered here.
- Australia---how it defines "child". From the
Australian Law Reform Commission. This link will
bring you to Paragraph 2.6 of the report. Also scroll
down to 2.25 for more legal aspects.
Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration
of Juvenile Justice ("The Beijing Rules"), G.A.
res. 40/33, annex, 40 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 53) at 207,
U.N. Doc. A/40/53 (1985). View sections 1 through
4 to focus on how juveniles should be handled in the justice
system, then view the rest as to the rights afforded to
University's Legal Information Institute. The
menu offers many United States Federal laws, some state
laws, and some US Supreme Court Decisions on the subject
of children. Of particular interest is the link
that shows the laws dealing with a child
emancipation from their parents, what age, what rights
they have....an unusual way to view the topic (from when
the child becomes an adult).
- STOLEN DREAMS. A photographic essay documenting the plight
of child labor around the world. Sponsored by Harvard
University's School of Public Health.
- CHILD LABOUR: WHAT'S TO BE DONE? Document for discussion at
the Informal Tripartite Meeting at the Ministerial Level,
International Labour Office, Geneva. First published June
1996. (The ILO document listed above. There
is another part to this document. Change the number 2
at the end of the web address to 1 and hit ENTER and the
first part of that document comes up.)
Click the links to be taken to their web pages. From there
you can search their site, obtain mailing addresses and
phone numbers, and contact them directly for how you can
- The International Labour Organization (ILO). If you wish
to view photographic essays and posters of child labour to add a visual
learning component, please click the link. The ILO welcomes
their use and offers them freely as long as proper academic
citation is used. For press releases, speeches, and information kits , the ILO has
a wealth of opportunities to explore the topic.
For the Report of the Committee on Child Labour (1999) please click
the link, or you can go directly to the Child
- The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). For more specific
information on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children , please click the link.
The homepage menu is easy to navigate and contains many
informational spots to investigate.Human
Rights Watch. The specific site within for children's rights has
links to child labour, juvenile justice, child soldiers,
refugees, street children, and other important topics.
- Free the Children. This organization was started by
a 12-year old Canadian boy in 1995 after the death of
Iqbal Masih, a Pakistani boy who was sold in bondage as
a carpet weaver and was murdered for speaking out against
his condition. Using the navigation menu on the
top of your screen, you can access the current campaigns
which are smartly organized, well-researched and linked,
and provide strong action components for students to get
involved. This site is particularly geared to students
because of its founder (who actively campaigns across
the world). Resources include video clips that can be
played on your computer.
The Children. Emergency crisis relief programs are
the hallmark of this group.
Rights Information Network. Web site has a thematic
breakdown on the right side navigation menu.....good links
to other sources especially on the September 19-21, 2001
Special Session on Children -- an unprecedented
meeting of the UN General Assembly dedicated to the children
and adolescents of the world.
- Archard, David, Children: Rights and Childhood, New York : Routledge, 1993.
- Colon, A. R. and P. A.
Colon, A History of Children: A Socio-Cultural Survey
Across Millennia, Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group,
The unchanging, immutable
nature of childhood despite epochal and societal differences
in birth rituals, education, puberty rituals, inheritance
laws, child labor registration, cultural customs, and historical
events that have affected the lives of children over the
last 5000 years. Despite the cruelties of infanticide,
abandonment, and slavery that continue to have presence
in the modern world, the love and regard for children have
not changed drastically. Impact of laws, religions, pedagogues,
medicine, advocates, and the rogues of history—plagues,
tyrants, wars, superstitions, poverty, famines---on the
lives of children.
Greenleaf, Barbara Kaye, Children
Through the Ages : A History of Childhood, New York: McGraw-Hill,
Hawes, Joseph. and N. Roy Hines, American Childhood : A Research Guide and Historical Handbook,
Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1985.
James, Allison and Alan Prout, eds., Constructing and Reconstructing
childhood : New Directions in the Sociological Study of Childhood,
New York : Falmer Press, 1990.