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Disposable Children? The Contingent Rights of Displaced Young Iraqis


The inalienable and universal character of children’s rights is asserted as a fundamental principle within the text of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (as it is within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights). Yet, inquiry into the institutional response to Iraqi children seeking refuge in Jordan suggests that such a principle may be hard to uphold in practice. This presentation will explore the ways in which the realisation of Iraqi children’s basic rights is rendered contingent upon changing conditions. It will consider the implications of this situation for young Iraqis and, more broadly, for efforts to uphold the rights of non-citizen children around the globe.


Jason Hart is a Senior Lecturer in the Anthropology of Development at the University of Bath. He is also Director of Postgraduate Studies. A social anthropologist by training, much of his work has explored the experiences of children on the margins of society and the global economy. He has written on themes that include protection, child rights, peace building, militarisation and asylum, seeking to integrate perspectives from anthropology and political-economy. Children living in situations of political violence and forced displacement have been a particular focus of much of his research and writing. Jason has worked in South Asia and East Africa. However, his principal area of interest is the Middle East. In this lecture, he will be sharing findings from research undertaken during a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship.