Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Call for Papers on the Protection of Children and Families During Armed Conflict

     The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and the Minerva Center for
     Human Rights at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem are
     organizing an international, interdisciplinary conference
     on the Protection of Children and Families during Armed
     Conflict. This event will examine legal, social and
     political mechanisms that protect children and families in
     the course of international and domestic armed conflicts.
     The conference will take place in Jerusalem from the 6th to
     the 8th of June 2010.
     Recipients of this call for papers are invited to submit
     proposals to present a paper at the symposium. Authors of
     the selected proposals will be offered flight expenses to
     Israel and accommodations for the duration of the
     Invited speakers who have already confirmed their
     participation include Prof. Jaap Doek (Vrije Universiteit,
     Amsterdam; former Chairperson, UN Committee on the Rights
     of the Child), Prof. Carolyn Hamilton (University of Essex;
     Director, Children's Legal Centre) and Prof. Michael
     Wessells (Professor of Clinical Population and Family
     Health, Columbia University; Professor of Psychology,
     Randolph-Macon College; Senior Advisor on Child Protection,
     Christian Children's Fund).
     The need for a conference is made salient by the events of
     the second Lebanon War in 2006 and by the Palestinian-
     Israeli conflict involving Gaza in 2008-2009, in both of
     which children were injured and killed and families
     suffered. This need continues in the current stage in the
     conflicts of the Middle East, which continue to endanger
     families and children.
     The importance of studying the impact of political conflict
     on children and families, and of preventing that impact
     arises from a number of empirically-based factors. First,
     armed conflicts are unfortunately a part of life in many
     parts of the world and are not likely to disappear soon.
     Second, children are among the most vulnerable people in
     any conflict, since they are not fully developed
     individuals. Third, families play a central role in the
     socialization of children so that damage to the structure
     and function of a family will add considerably to the
     suffering of the children. Fourth, developmental research
     shows that the risks and traumas experienced in childhood
     may be long-lasting and lead to poor developmental
     outcomes. Finally, there is evidence that exposure to armed
     conflict may lead to a perpetuation of the trauma and
     conflict across generation.
     Children are affected by political violence, not only in
     their experiencing of it but in the potential for this
     experience to affect the rest of their lives. While
     international legal safeguards for children exist, and
     there has been extensive research on the effects of
     exposure to political violence, the topic of protection of
     children in conflict has not received adequate research
     attention, and actual protection efforts have been weak and
     inconsistent. There is too little thinking about protecting
     children and families in one's own society, and even less
     on protecting those on the "other side".
     The proposed conference will engage researchers, policy
     makers and child advocates from the fields of international
     law, the social sciences and medicine. The goals of the
     conference are:
     1.  Presentation and exchange of ideas on the prevention of
         adverse effects on children and families as a result of
         armed conflict.
     2.  Dialogue between researchers and professionals who deal
         with children's rights directly. As part of the
         conference we strive to bring Israeli and Palestinian
         researchers security personnel, and representatives of
         non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to discuss
         approaches to prevent harm to children and families on
         both sides of a conflict.
     3.  Formulation of concrete proposals to all warring states
         and parties which may significantly reduce the impact
         of armed conflict on children and their families.
     4.  Publication of relevant papers in a volume designed to
         influence future research and practice in child
         protection and intervention during armed conflict.
     We are inviting figures from the international community as
     well as Israelis and Palestinians to present their research
     and engage in a dialogue concerning the protection of
     children in armed conflict. Speakers will present papers
     relating to the following issues: effects of political
     violence on children and families; rehabilitation of
     children and families; the role of the communications media
     in encouraging or discouraging protection for children and
     families; and the ethical, legal, political and
     organizational aspects of affording protection to children
     and families in armed conflict.
     The participants in the conference will discuss the
     background for the observance and the violation by
     different sides in an armed conflict of the international
     conventions on human rights and children's rights, as well
     as effective ways to encourage compliance with these
     Researchers interested in addressing these questions, or
     other questions related to the topic of the conference, are
     invited to respond to this call for papers with a one-page
     proposal for an article and presentation, along with a
     brief curriculum vitae (CV). Proposals should be submitted
     no later than 15 February 2010 by e-mail to:
     CONTACT:      The Minerva Center for Human Rights
                   Hebrew University of Jerusalem
     All applicants should receive notification of the academic
     committee's decision by 10 March 2010. Short written
     contributions (of approximately 8-10 pages) based on the
     selected proposals will be expected by 25 May 2010. Full-
     length papers based on presentations made at the conference
     will be considered by the organizers for inclusion in a
     book or law journal symposium to be published following the

     Prof. Charles Greenbaum
     Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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