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Child Human Rights Defenders from Scotland prepare for UN Day of General Discussion

Children and young people travelling to Geneva

Children and young people from across Scotland are preparing to travel to Geneva for the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s
Day of General Discussion (DGD), which takes place on Friday 28th September.

The theme of the one-day event is Children as Human Rights Defenders.

Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights) has played a lead role in supporting and coordinating its membership to ensure children and young people from across Scotland are able to:

  • take part in the DGD,
  • share their experiences with others across the globe, and
  • bring back learning to support children and young people who are human
    rights defenders in Scotland.

Members of Children’s Parliament, Scottish Youth Parliament and Who Cares? Scotland will all be playing an active role in the day.

Who Cares? Scotland logo

Who Cares? Scotland

Ryan McShane – Who Cares? Scotland ambassador and MSYP – will join Tempè – a human rights defender from Benin – as the lead speakers in a working group exploring the experiences of children as human rights defenders in alternative care.

They will make specific recommendations to the UN as to what additional support and protection they need to fulfil their role as human rights defenders.

This will be one of three working groups held in the afternoon of the Day of General Discussion which will explore what more governments should do to support and empower children as human rights defenders.

Children's Parliament logo

Children's Parliament

For the first time, the DGD been designed in collaboration with a global Children’s Advisory Team established by Child Rights Connect, with support from Dr Laura Lundy and Dr Michelle Templeton at Queens University Belfast.

Hannah and Cameron, 12 year old Members of Children’s Parliament (MCPs) from East Lothian, are the only children from the UK on
the Children’s Advisory Team. Alongside their international role with the Team, Hannah and Cameron have been working with 10 other child Human Rights Defenders from East Lothian to gather the views and experiences of children in workshops across Scotland with
Children’s Parliament and the Children and Young People’s Commissioner about which rights they feel need to be defended in Scotland and what adults and children can do to defend these rights.

The 12 children have created five giant papier-mâché shields, each representing rights children across Scotland feel need to be defended, which are part of the DGD exhibition running from the 17 to 28 September.

All 12 children are traveling to Geneva to participate in the DGD and give tours of the shields to other international guests before and after the Exhibition Reception.

Follow the Members of Children’s Parliament journey to the DGD on their Children as Human Rights Defenders blog.

Scottish Youth Parliament Logo

Scottish Youth Parliament

The Scottish Youth Parliament is inviting children, young people and all others attending the UN Day of General Discussion to join their DGD side event “Youth Rights Defenders: Assemble!”

This event takes place on Friday 28 September between 2 and 4 CEST, in Room XXIV of the Palais De Nations in Geneva. It’ll explore what youth parliamentarians do locally, nationally and internationally as human rights defenders.

Attendees will hear from a group of Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament about:

  • how they defend the rights of the young people they represent,
  • what challenges they face, and
  • what lessons can be learned from their experiences.

They will also be able take part in a comparative panel discussion including youth parliamentarians from across the globe.
The session will be chaired by the Children and Young People’s Commissioner for Scotland, Bruce Adamson, and will include an address from the Scottish Minister for Children and Young People, Maree Todd MSP. It’s sponsored by the UK Mission in Geneva, with financial assistance from the Scottish Government.