A Free Handbook on Legislative Reform: Realising Children’s Rights

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This Handbook aims to support the effective implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and advance gender equality by influencing the adoption of legislative measures, social policies and institutional changes that promote gender equality and results for children.

A Free Handbook on Legislative Reform: Realising Children's Rights

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Purpose of the Handbook 

This Handbook on Legislative Reform: Realising Children’s Rights (the Handbook) aims to support the effective implementation of the CRC and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and advance gender equality by influencing the adoption of legislative measures, social policies and institutional changes that promote gender equality and results for children through:

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  • Contributing to processes leading to the effective adoption, enactment, implementation, and enforcement of national legislation that complies with international human rights standards and norms; and
  • Providing clear and illustrative options and good practices that can be used as guidance to strengthen States Parties’ efforts to comply with international instruments, particularly the CRC and CEDAW.

This Handbook advocate for a human rights‐based approach to legislative reform with gender equality at its core. It is inspired by the need for innovative processes and approaches to the establishment of a legal framework that effectively protects children (both girls and boys) and ensures the full realisation of their rights. It is also motivated by the need to disseminate more widely practical experiences of rights‐based approaches to legislative reform initiatives in favour of children.

Using the Handbook 

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  • The Handbook is intended to serve as guidance for legislators, parliamentarians, jurists, lawyers, judges, line ministries, government officials, human rights and children’s rights advocates, policy‐makers, and for all those involved in harmonizing national legislation with international instruments, particularly the CRC and CEDAW. It is designed to be used, in whole or in part, as a user‐friendly practical guide to assist in legal reform for the realisation of children’s rights.
  • The Handbook places children at the centre of the reform process by envisaging them as subjects of rights with special protection and entitlements to make claims from duty bearers. It takes into account the general principles of human rights law in addition to those which derive specifically from the CRC and CEDAW. The Handbook also takes into consideration the gender dimension of legislative reform with a view to ensuring that initiatives result in the elimination of disparities between boys and girls, and discrimination against the latter group.

Structure of the Handbook

  • The Handbook is divided into volumes with chapters. Each chapter is divided into sections, which can be taken as distinct to a certain extent.
  • The volumes complement each other. Taken together, they provide the necessary elements for comprehensive and holistic legislative reform in compliance with the CRC and CEDAW.

You can download this handbook for free here.

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