I went to Geneva to Defend Children’s Rights
One of our young children’s rights activists, E. aged 13, has been taking a keen interest in defending the rights of children who she believes to be less fortunate than herself. E. is living with a fostering family in the South West of England.
When she met the child-led activist group, the Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE), E. was outraged to discover that some young people are living in bed and breakfast and other substandard accommodation. She got involved in the campaign ‘Change It!’ in 2017. Her contributions to the group were so good, she got to travel all the way to Geneva to attend a UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s day conference.
Emily travelled with another young person from the group, aged 14. She says,
“Before our trip we both felt incredibly nervous! We didn’t know who we might meet there and who we would speak to about our experiences as young activists at CRAE. But we were so excited to be travelling to Geneva to represent our work and that of other children and young people in England.”
In the end, E. took part in a discussion entitled ‘Empowering and Supporting Children as Human Rights Defenders’, and when she heard what other children and young people are doing around the world, she became inspired and wanted to speak more:
“As part of the Change It! campaign we have lobbied members of parliament, co-produced reports and engaged a national network of over 300 children and young people. We would have liked to share our experiences and compare them with those of other children from around the world who were at the event, but there weren’t enough opportunities for our voices to be heard on the day. We kept hearing adult speakers comment that we needed to recognise children as our present and not just our future.”
We will make sure that E. has access to every opportunity to promote children’s rights in Westminster and abroad. What a unique experience for a young person to have on their CV!
What has changed?
All young people receive a child-friendly leaflet about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child when they enter Five Rivers’ care. This is to empower them to understand their human rights under law. E. has not only understood her rights, she has taken action to ensure others are not left behind.
This action was made possible by our participation programme which helps children know their rights and entitlements and feel empowered to actively contribute to decisions.
View a pdf of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child https://five-rivers.org/child-friendly-crc-leaflet
To find out more about the impact of the work of CRAE, view this story on the BBC News website https://www.bbc.com/news/education-47539071