Carmen Monico speaks in The Hague during 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of Children

The assistant professor of human service studies advocated for children and other vulnerable populations as she called on both governments and individual citizens to help those in need around the world by upholding the principles of the CRC.

Assistant Professor Carmen Monico speaks as an expert in child rights during the HagueTalks. (Photo courtesy of Kristen Cheney, director of international developemnt at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague.)
Assistant Professor Carmen Monico in Elon University’s Department of Human Service Studies was an invited speaker to The Hague in September during the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Children at the Peace Palace, home of the International Court of Justice, the Hague Academy of International Law, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, and the Peace Palace Library, where the HagueTalks took place.

Monico also spoke at the Institute of Social Studies, which kicked off the CRC@25 series of seminars with experts on children rights. In a private event, she presented at a BBL in the Permanent Bureau of the Conference on the Hague Conference on Private International Law, a global intergovernmental organization that facilitates the development and monitoring of global instruments on behalf of 76 states plus the European Union on international protection of children, family and property relations, as well as international legal cooperation and litigation, and international commercial and finance law.

Monico’s message in her presentations was direct: children and youth escaping violence and stress in all its forms deserve protection. She called particular attention to children fleeing to the United States from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, as well as children escaping disasters such as the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

She emphasized that although governments are responsible for adopting laws and developing social programs protecting children, citizens are responsible for holding governments responsible for what they do at home and abroad, and for collaborating in responding to the needs of children and youth around the world. 

By sharing her personal story of becoming a refugee during the civil war in El Salvador and seeking refuge in the United States, Monico spoke about the violence in Central America that has produced a new humanitarian crisis in the United States. Since October 2013, as many as 66,000 unaccompanied minors from Central American countries, some as young as 3, have crossed the U.S. border. The majority are from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, and many of them have been subjected to or were escaping from human trafficking.

She presented the evidence collected by the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees in March 2013, which interviewed 404 unaccompanied minors held in detention centers and awaiting deportation procedures. The study concluded that most children are fleeing harms from violence in society, mainly from gangs and from child abuse in their homes, and that these children are in need of international protection. 

Audience present in the HagueTalks, which was livestreamed with worldwise participation through Twitter and Facebook. The event was recorded and will be uploaded to YouTube.
Monico argued that facts and statistics are important to understand the “big picture” of social problems but that human stories (testimonies and anecdotal evidence) are critical to understand the “depth” of that picture. She encouraged participants to engage in social action, including student activism, and to remember her story and that of others speakers in this event which created the “space” to present facts with emotional statements, artistic and professional approaches to healing trauma among children affected by wars, disaster and other human stresses. 

For the full program on the events during the HagueTalks, go to

For more information about the launching of the CRC@25 seminar series, go to

For progress on the Convention of the Rights of the Child and the accomplishments in 25 years, see