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First live session Meeting Children's Rights Leaders @ Leiden Law

'The impact of the outbreak of COVID-19 may be even greater and long-lasting. This is an exciting time for you as students to be setting out into the world of children’s rights, because you would be children’s first defenders.' – Mr Cornelius Williams, UNICEF.

On Monday 11 May 2020, students of the Leiden Law School's Master of Laws Programme Advanced Studies in International Children's Rights participated in the first online live session of the series called Meeting Children's Rights Leaders @ Leiden Law (more informatione here). In this new series, students have the opportunity to meet leading children's rights experts, including representatives of UN agencies, international civil society organisations and research institutes. The aim of the series is to facilitate conversations between students of the Advanced Master and global experts challenges related to children's rights in light of COVID-19.

Mr Cornelius Williams during the live session

Last Monday, we were honoured to have the opportunity to meet Mr Cornelius Williams, Associate Director and Global Chief of Child Protection for UNICEF's Programme Division. For over 30 years, Mr Williams has managed child protection programmes with UNICEF and Save the Children. He has been involved in advocacy that led to improved protection of children from sexual exploitation and abuse in humanitarian settings, reduced recruitment and use of children by armed forces and increased access of children to identity documents/birth certificates and social assistance. During the live session, Mr Williams highlighted the challenges caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 and opportunities within UNICEF. For instance, children without parental care, children displaced by war disasters and working children are all at risk due to bold exposure to the coronavirus and the lasting consequences of disrupted services.

During the meetings to come, we will welcome experts from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, PLAN International, International Social Service, Defence for Children International, and Wellsprings, amongst others.

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