Recent Publications

2014
Child Migration and Human Rights in a Global Age
Child Migration and Human Rights in a Global Age. Princeton University Press; 2014. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Why, despite massive public concern, is child trafficking on the rise? Why are unaccompanied migrant children living on the streets and routinely threatened with deportation to their countries of origin? Why do so many young refugees of war-ravaged and failed states end up warehoused in camps, victimized by the sex trade, or enlisted as child soldiers? This book provides the first comprehensive account of the widespread but neglected global phenomenon of child migration, exploring the complex challenges facing children and adolescents who move to join their families, those who are moved to be exploited, and those who move simply to survive.

Spanning several continents and drawing on the actual stories of young migrants, the book shows how difficult it is for children to reunite with parents who left them behind to seek work abroad. It looks at the often-insurmountable obstacles we place in the paths of adolescents fleeing war, exploitation, or destitution; the contradictory elements in our approach to international adoption; and the limited support we give to young people brutalized as child soldiers. Part history, part in-depth legal and political analysis, this powerful book challenges the prevailing wisdom that widespread protection failures are caused by our lack of awareness of the problems these children face, arguing instead that our societies have a deep-seated ambivalence to migrant children—one we need to address head-on.

Child Migration and Human Rights in a Global Age offers a road map for doing just that, and makes a compelling and courageous case for an international ethics of children’s human rights.

Human Rights and Adolescence
Human Rights and Adolescence. University of Pennsylvania Press; 2014. Publisher's VersionAbstract

While young children's rights have received considerable attention and have accordingly advanced over the last two decades, adolescent rights have been neglected, resulting in a serious rights lacuna. This manifests itself in pervasive gender-based violence, widespread youth disaffection and unemployment, concerning levels of self-abuse, violence and antisocial engagement, and serious mental and physical health deficits. The cost of inaction on these issues is likely to be dramatic in terms of human suffering, lost social and economic opportunities, and threats to global peace and security. Across the range of disciplines that make up contemporary human rights, from law and social advocacy, to global health, to history, economics, sociology, politics, and psychology, it is time for adolescent rights to occupy a coherent place of their own.

Human Rights and Adolescence presents a multifaceted inquiry into the global circumstances of adolescents, focused on the human rights challenges and socioeconomic obstacles young adults face. Contributors use new research to advance feasible solutions and timely recommendations for a wide range of issues spanning all continents, from relevant international legal norms to neuropsychological adolescent brain development, gender discrimination in Indian education to Colombian child soldier recruitment, stigmatization of Roma youth in Europe to economic disempowerment of Middle Eastern and South African adolescents. Taken together, the research emphasizes the importance of dedicated attention to adolescence as a distinctive and critical phase of development between childhood and adulthood, and outlines the task of building on the potential of adolescents while providing support for the challenges they experience.

Contributors: Theresa S. Betancourt, Jacqueline Bhabha, Krishna Bose, Neera Burra, Malcolm Bush, Jocelyn DeJong, Elizabeth Gibbons, Katrina Hann, Mary Kawar, Orla Kelly, David Mark, Margareta Matache, Clea McNeely, Glaudine Mtshali, Katie Naeve, Elizabeth A. Newnham, Victor Pineda, Irene Rizzini, Elena Rozzi, Christian Salazar Volkmann, Shantha Sinha, Laurence Steinberg, Kerry Thompson, Jean Zermatten, Moses Zombo.

Jacqueline Bhabha is Director of Research at the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard School of Public Health

2011
Children Without a State: A Global Human Rights Challenge
Children Without a State: A Global Human Rights Challenge. MIT University Press; 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Children are among the most vulnerable citizens of the world, with a special need for the protections, rights, and services offered by states. And yet children are particularly at risk from statelessness. Thirty-six percent of all births in the world are not registered, leaving more than forty-eight million children under the age of five with no legal identity and no formal claim on any state. Millions of other children are born stateless or become undocumented as a result of migration. Children Without a State is the first book to examine how statelessness affects children throughout the world, examining this largely unexplored problem from a human rights perspective.

The book identifies three contemporary manifestations of statelessness: legal statelessness, when people lack any nationality because of the circumstances of their birth or political and legal obstacles; de facto statelessness, when nationals of one country live illegally in another; and effective statelessness, when legal citizens lack the documentation to prove their right to state services.] The human rights repercussions range from dramatic abuses (detention and deportation) to social marginalization (lack of access to education and health care). The book provides a variety of examples, including chapters on Palestinian children in Israel, undocumented young people seeking higher education in the United States, unaccompanied child migrants in Spain, Roma children in Italy, irregular internal child migrants in China, and children in mixed legal/illegal families in the United States.