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International Conference 
on Realising Children’s Development Rights in
De Facto States

International Conference on Realising Children's Development Rights in De Facto States
: 28 October 2023, 16.00-19.00 CEST (online), 17-18 January 2024 (in-person)
Location: Famagusta, northern Cyprus* 
Sign up here 


The Children’s Rights Research project in collaboration with the Maastricht Centre for Human Rights is proud to announce that we are organising a child-led conference on the rights of children in de facto states. The International Conference on Realising Children’s Development Rights in De Facto States, will be held in two stages. An online event will be held on 28 October 2023, followed by an in-person event on 17-18 January 2024 in Famagusta, northern Cyprus*. The online event will be completely child-led, and provide input for the in-person event. The in-person event will be led by academics, humanitarians and activists, based on the input provided by children during the online event. 

This conference is a child-led conference, designed to encourage the effective and meaningful participation of children in  conversations about  ways to better realise the development rights of children living in de facto states. The ultimate aim is to have children, academics, humanitarians activists, and others engage in meaningful conversation that will contribute to ensuring that all children - even those in the midst of political and legal conflict - have equal access to development rights. Underpinning the conference is the core principle of the universality of the rights of all children irrespective of their national, ethnic or social origin, birth or other status, including children living in de facto states.

The  Children’s Rights Convention recognises “the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family” and the Sustainable Development Goals are supposed to “leave no one behind”. However, despite this, one group of children have remained largely invisible to the international community, namely: children living in de facto states. Among the most vulnerable groups in the world, children living in de facto states receive little (if any) attention in international bi-lateral and multilateral fora, because they fall beyond the state-centric structure of the international community. Unfortunately, they generally do not fare any better in academic research. Since the goal of the UN is to provide access to justice for all, and to build effective and inclusive institutions at all levels, these children should not be left behind.


This child-led conference uses an adapted version of the Child Participation Model developed by the Children’s Rights Department of the Global Campus of Human Rights and used during the Global Campus International Conference 2022: Mental Health Nepal 2022.

Building on and extending this model, this conference is designed to maximise meaningful child participation and engage academics, humanitarians and activists working on children’s rights and/or on de facto states. The conference is divided into three parts:


March – September 2023 

Child forum preparatory stage including a series of online consultations with children living in de facto states (Nagorno-Karabakh, Palestine, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), Somaliland, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC)). Conference speakers and attendants do not attend this phase.

Conference part 1 (online):

28 October 2023, 16.00-19.00h CEST

Online event which will include child speakers. Live translation will be available in Arabic, Somali, Turkish and English. Conference speakers and attendants are required to attend, but do not present.

Conference part 2 (in-person):

17-18 January 2024

A follow-up two-day in-person event in Famagusta (northern Cyprus), including  presentations by academics, humanitarians and activists working on children’s rights and/or de facto states, and the presentation of the final report following the conclusion of the child-led events. On the second day there will be a plenary workshop to develop a shared preliminary answer and agenda for action centred on how to better protect and realise the rights of children living in de facto states in the future. The language of the in-person event is English.


Academics, humanitarians, activists, and other persons interested in attending are welcome to register for the International Conference on Realising Children’s Development Rights in De Facto States. All who sign up are expected to attend two conferences: the online event (28 October 2023), and the in-person event (17-18 January 2024, Famagusta, northern Cyprus)*. During the online event, we listen to children who are living in de facto states. During the in-person event, academics, humanitarians and activists can attend either as speakers or as audience members.

Speakers are invited to submit a 250 – 500 word abstract. Please read this call for abstracts, and submit your abstract using this form. Please note that the deadline for submitting abstracts is 19 July 2023.

Audience members who would like to attend without presenting, are invited to fill in this registration form. This includes people who would like to attend the online event online. Please note that we ask you to write a brief “expression of interest”. 


The registration fee for the International Conference on Realising Children’s Development Rights in De Facto States is 300 EUR (for scholarship options, see below). This fee covers attendance at the online event in October 2023, and the in-person event in northern Cyprus* in January 2024. It includes coffee and lunch for two days and dinner on the first day of the in-person event. The fee does not include travel, accommodation, and visa costs. It also does not include breakfast on both days or dinner on day two of the event.

The online event can be attended for free.

We offer the possibility to provide financial support to a limited number of persons. There are two categories available:

Category 1, light sponsorship: Waiver of the conference fee and dinner costs on the first day of the event in January 2024.

Category 2, full sponsorship: Waiver of the conference fee, cover of travel costs, accommodation costs, visa fees and dinner, lunch and breakfast for three days at the in-person event in January 2024.

To apply for sponsorship click on this link. Please note that although we ask you to apply for a scholarship simultaneously with the submission of your abstract/expression of interest, to be eligible for sponsorship your abstract/expression of interest must be accepted. Additionally, sponsorship applicants must submit a brief motivation letter (max 300 words), CV (1-2 pages) and a budget plan detailing the costs for their attendance. Applying for a sponsorship does not guarantee you will receive one.

Reminder service

If you are not yet sure whether you can attend the conference, you can enter your email address here. You will receive two-weekly reminders until you either sign up or sign off.

Keynote speakers

Both speakers will guide us through the complexity, as well as the (future) possibilities, for protecting children's rights in de facto states. 


Other details

  • Participants are required to attend both events: the online event in October 2023 and the January in-person event in northern Cyprus*.
  • Travel and visa information, accommodation costs, and other relevant information will be shared with all attendees in due time.


  • 19 July 2023: Deadline to submit abstract/scholarship application

  • 28 July 2023: Announcement of accepted abstracts/expressions of interest, and sponsorship awards

  • 28 October 2023, 16.00-19.00h CEST: International Conference on Realising Children’s Development Rights in De Facto States (Online) 

  • 17-18 January 2024: International Conference on Realising Children’s Development Rights in De Facto States, Famagusta, northern Cyprus* (in-person).

Contact Details

If you have any further questions and/or remarks please contact our team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To know more about our work, please visit our website:


*Please note that the conference takes part in Famagusta, which is a city in northern Cyprus. The location is chosen for its relation to the topic of the conference, as well as its accessibililty for attendees visiting from de facto states and other non-EU states.