Belgian youth present unique child rights project to the UN in Geneva

Children's rights are one of the priorities of Belgian foreign policy on human rights. For decades, our country has been committed to promoting children's rights internationally.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child monitors the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols. To this end, the Committee formulates so-called "Concluding Observations". These are important recommendations and policy advice on what needs to change for all children and adolescents and how that should be done. The child rights situation in Belgium was examined by the Committee in 2019.

One of the first tasks of a country is to disseminate these concluding obervations, first and foremost to children and young people. And in Belgium, children and young people have a say in that!

Under the expert guidance of the Belgian National Commission on the Rights of the Child, the children translated the spirit of the recommendations from the legal language of the United Nations into concrete, accessible language that makes the essence of recommendations understandable to young people. The children themselves chose the name "Fight4YourRight" for their innovative, participatory project. The project is unique in the world. It aims to ensure that children and young people have language and understanding about current discussions in society that concern their rights. After all, children need to be heard on issues that affect them.

The child-friendly closing remarks can be found here.

"Allowing children to participate in discussions that affect them is absolutely essential. Their voices must be heard," said Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, responsible for Foreign and European Affairs. "Belgium is leading the way internationally with this project and wants to share its expertise with other countries so that children all over the world can know their rights better and be better protected."

Naturally, Belgium wanted to present this great result to the Children's Rights Committee and the broader children's rights community in Geneva, and who better to do so than the young people themselves? Five young people presented their project to the experts of the Children's Rights Committee last Friday and held an animated discussion in Geneva.

Belgium innovates with this initiative and is the first country in the world to do so. It is a best practice that our country, as a candidate for the Human Rights Council for a mandate in 2023-2025, is to proud to present to other countries. In addition to visuals and the interactive tool, there is also an elaborated methodology and a pedagogical kit around the use of these tools is being prepared.