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1996 …2024

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Last updated 18th April 2024


Julia hails from South Africa where she is regarded as the leading scholar on children’s rights. She was also appointed professor of children’s rights in the developing world at the University of Leiden (part time) for the period 2013 – 2021. She has worked on drafting children’s laws in a wide range of countries, including Kenya, Mozambique, Zanzibar, South Sudan, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, and South Africa. Her interests span a wide variety of children’s rights issues, including juvenile justice, child protection, parental responsibilities and rights, constitutional children’s rights, children’s rights in the digital era, international adoption and international child abduction, family law and surrogacy. She served as a member of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child from 2011- 2016, and has published a variety of papers and chapters on the African children’s rights system. She was also commissioned to draft two General Comment for the Committee, one on general measure of implementation of the Charter, and one on sexual exploitation of children. She has supervised numerous LLM and LLD theses, both in South Africa and at Leiden University. Former students now serve as Deans, Deputy Deans, Professors and directors of various institutes.

Her publications total more than 150 articles and book chapters, and she regularly serves as a peer reviewer for national and international journals. She is sought after as an external doctoral thesis examiner. She has completed numerous projects for organisations such as the African Child Policy Forum, UNICEF, Save the Children International and Plan International. She serves on the editorial boards of the International Journal on Children’s Rights, the International Journal on Law, Policy and the Family, and the Statelessness and Citizenship Review. She is a fellow of the Cambridge Family Law Centre and the newly established International Network on Constitutional Family Law (under the auspices of the Supreme Court of Mexico).

In December 2020, the National Research Foundation of South Africa awarded her an ‘A’ rating as an individual scholar, which is the highest rating accorded a scholar with a leading international reputation. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Children's Rights
  • Welfare
  • Law
  • Child Protection


Dive into the research topics where Julia Sloth-Nielsen is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
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