Protecting and empowering children as human rights defenders
In September the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (the UN Committee) is holding a Day of General Discussion (DGD) on children as human rights defenders. The purpose of DGDs is to ensure a deeper understanding of the contents and implications of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in relation to specific articles or issues. A wide variety of stakeholders normally attend including representatives of governments, non-governmental organisations and United Nations human rights mechanisms.
The 2018 DGD is the first ever global discussion focusing on children as human rights defenders. The UN committee states that it’s main goal is to:
“Bring together a global movement for children human rights defendersincluding children, States, National Human Rights Institutions, Children’s Ombudspersons, the UN, civil society and the private sector to promote understanding about the role of children as human rights defenders, identify what needs to be done for child rights-related laws, policies and practices to take adequate account of children as human rights defenders; and for human rights defenders-related laws, policies and practices to be child-sensitive."
CRAE believes that children play a crucial role as human rights defenders and are a powerful voice for change. Children with experience of having their own rights infringed can offer personal testament, which articulates the reality of children’s everyday lives when their rights are being infringed. This can be much more effective in convincing others of the importance of realising children’s rights than adults speaking on their behalf and brings to life the reality behind the statistics, highlighting the subtleties of children’s experiences and dispelling assumptions made by adults.
We have submitted a response following a call for evidence by the UN Committee emphasising that action must be taken so that all children have sufficient knowledge of human rights as well as for more child friendly processes to enable children to participate effectively in the mechanisms which are used to hold governments to account on their human rights obligations.
CRAE will be taking two young activists from our Change it! Campaign steering group to the DGD where they will be sharing their experiences of being human rights defenders.
You can read our submission here.
You can find out more about the Day of General Discussion here