Walter Burkard wins the Jaap Doek Children’s Rights Thesis Award 2020 with thesis on climate change
On 10 December Walter Burkard won the Jaap Doek Children’s Rights Thesis Award 2020 for his thesis on climate change and children’s rights. The prize for the best master’s thesis in the field of children’s rights is awarded every year by Defence for Children and the Department of Child Law of Leiden University.
Professor Jaap Doek, chairman of the jury: 'Walter Burkard has passionately written a very well-documented thesis on a subject that will require our close attention for many years to come. In addition, he demonstrates that thorough academic work can be the basis for concrete actions.'
Insufficient attention for climate change in the Convention on the Rights of the Child
The winning thesis was selected from six nominees. Walter, in his winning thesis ‘A Matter of [a Dignified] Life and Death: Climate Change and Children’s Rights’ investigates whether the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has been ‘an ally or a foe’ to children who seek to mitigate and adapt to the consequences of climate change. To this end, first, he studies the impact climate change could have on children’s rights as well as the promise and setbacks of the children’s climate movement. Subsequently, he evaluated the work of the Committee in this regard. After finding that there is insufficient attention for climate change in the Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as the work of the Committee, he makes several concrete recommendations to fill this gap.
Amount to spend as chosen and trip to the Committee on the Rights of the Child
Walter’s thesis was rewarded with a prize of €500 to be spent as he chooses and an organized trip to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva. Before the thesis prize was awarded, the audience was welcomed by Professor Ton Liefaard, Vice-Dean of the Leiden Law School and UNICEF Professor of Children’s Rights at Leiden University, and Mirjam Blaak, Managing Director of Defence for Children the Netherlands. Afterwards, Bruno Vanobbergen, Director of the Flemish Agency for Growing Up and former Flemish Children’s Rights Commissioner, gave a keynote speech which was titled ‘Customer is king? Why children’s rights need to embrace the child as citizen’.
Click here for more information concerning the award ceremony of the Jaap Doek Children’s Rights Thesis Award 2020.
Download the winning thesis ‘A Matter of [a Dignified] Life and Death: Climate Change and Children’s Rights’ here.