The Rights Gallery
children’s rights illustrated + annotated
In the face of new and ongoing issues faced by children and young people, we have a responsibility not only to keep re-reading their human rights, but also to re-present them. This means abandoning the demeaning ‘charitable’ photos we see so often of smiling or starving children, which strip children of their dignity and do nothing but evoke a sense of pity and charity without tackling why rights violations occur in the first place, or encouraging viewers to think critically.
The Rights Gallery does exactly that — with artwork. Below you can visit online exhibitions on the human rights of children and young people, in which we use art not just to illustrate words, but to illustrate ideas and thinking. The images have a life and meaning of their own, inviting us to take a fresh look at children’s rights beyond the formats we are used to, and importantly, they keep children’s dignity firmly in their possession.
With strong and confronting original artwork, this gallery illustrates the 41 articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, helping us to think critically about children’s place in society, their treatment, and the rights violations they face.
Environment and toxics
Everyone, including children, has a right to live in a clean and healthy environment. But daily exposure to toxic substances continues to harm millions of people worldwide, especially children, who are more vulnerable to their impact.
As terrorism has increased over the last two decades, so too have States’ counter-terrorism strategies. While new measures are often not specifically targeted at children, they dramatically impact them, with children now routinely facing detention without charge, surveillance in school, and even life imprisonment or the death penalty.
The rapid advance and use of assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs), such as fertility medication, in vitro fertilisation, or surrogacy, has an ever-increasing impact on children and their human rights. With States yet to settle the complex and sensitive ethical questions involved in using ARTs, our work explores their use from a children’s rights perspective.
Rights, Not Charity
At CRIN we promote rights, not charity, for children and young people. Tired of seeing images of smiling or starving children to obtain donations without tackling the problems that children face, we use artwork in all our materials instead of photographs to encourage viewers to think critically.
Children have to keep track of and obey an array of different rules based on minimum ages at which they can do certain things or make decisions for themselves. But such rules often prohibit activities adults take for granted, vary from country to country, and could amount to age discrimination.
Access to justice
When we suffer a human rights violation we should all be able to challenge it and obtain redress, otherwise rights become nothing more than promises on paper. The importance of the right to access to justice is equal for children and adults, but children’s rights in this area have long been neglected and ignored.
At least one in five children around the world suffer from sexual violence, but most cases are not disclosed to anyone, let alone the police. The type of abuse children suffer can range immensely, as can the setting in which it takes place. But sexual violence against children will continue if the root causes that allow it to exist in the first place are not challenged.
Access to information
Children are routinely subject to blanket restrictions on their right to access information that is honest and objective. Such disproportionate restrictions are based on the perceived need to protect them from materials deemed to be harmful, but in practice they deny children information that can help them to make informed choices and contribute to, rather than detract from, their protection.
Children can be sentenced to death in 10 countries by lethal injection, hanging, shooting or stoning. In some countries children as young as seven are sentenced to life imprisonment. And in 33 States, ‘justice’ systems allow for corporal punishment of children including whipping, flogging, caning or amputation.
Gender is one of the most frequent grounds for discrimination, with women and girls usually on the receiving end. The Fallopian Tube Map was designed to demonstrate some of the ways discrimination against women and girls connect and intersect.
CRIN has taken part in a number of mural projects in public spaces in London, Palestine and Washington DC with the intention of collaborating with other artists, activists and children, but also to bring our work to street level in an effort to democratise human rights as a responsibility that everyone shares.