Children's participation at the 2006 Day of General Discussion

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[LONDON, 8 September 2006 ] - Over 30 children and young people from around the world are going to the United Nations in Geneva next week to make their voices heard and talk about their right to participate as stated in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Next Friday, 15th September, the Committee on the Rights of the Child – the body in charge of monitoring the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) - will hold a thematic discussion day on: “To Speak, Participate and Decide: The Child’s Right to be Heard”, relating to CRC Article 12. The event will bring together Committee members, NGOs, UN agencies, governments and other interested experts to identify priority issues, share good practice and issue recommendations.

An Interagency Planning group (IAG) is facilitating the involvement of children and young people in the Day of General Discussion, and has been advising the Committee on the Rights of the Child on children’s ethical and meaningful participation in the Day of General Discussion.

As a result, 33 children and young people from 20 different countries, from India to Paraguay, Zimbabwe to Norway, will meet for a two-day Forum in Geneva, on 13th-14th September, prior to the Discussion Day, in order to:

  • meet with Committee members and learn about the work of the Committee;
  • share stories and experiences on child participation and best practice in their countries;
  • discuss the child’s right to be heard in judicial and administrative proceedings;
  • discuss the issue of children as active participants in society;
  • issue press statements;
  • prepare their contribution to the Day of General Discussion by drafting a statement and producing visual and written submissions.

The children and young people will then attend the Day of General Discussion, in the Palais Wilson on Friday. It will be the first time such a large number of under-18s will be able to participate in a discussion day. They will be included in working group discussions with Committee members, governments representatives, NGOs and other child rights experts, and communicate their own statements.

The IAG, composed of Save the Children, ECPAT International, Plan International, IFCO, CRIN and UNICEF, will also encourage children and young people’s participation in the drafting of a General Comment on the child’s right to be heard, and generally promote children and young people’s influence on policy makers.

The IAG is planning to hold a press conference with the children and members of the Committee at the International Conference Centre, 17 rue de Varembé, on Thursday, 14th September at 5:30pm. Please contact Katy Sklan on: +44 (0)7879 430 865 if you wish to attend.

 

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