Belgian children translate UN recommendations into accessible language

Belgian children have translated the UN's recommendations on children's rights in Belgium into understandable language. Unique in the world! Moreover, 5 of them presented their project to the experts of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva.

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Children pose in front of the UN building

The 5 young people who presented the project in Geneva. © SPF AE/FOD BZ

In 1991, Belgium signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. That Convention on the Rights of the Child encompasses the rights of all children and young people, under the age of 18, whether these concern protection, participation or access to services and care.

Legal language

But those officially recognised rights must actually be applied too! To guarantee this, the UN is keeping an eye on the situation, specifically through the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Every 5 years, Belgium goes to the Committee on the Rights of the Child to explain the extent to which children's rights have improved in Belgium.

The Committee's last recommendations for Belgium date from 2019. An important task for our country is to disseminate those recommendations to children and young people. Unfortunately, these are drafted in rather legal language and are thus difficult to understand for children and young people.

Fight4YourRight

To overcome this shortcoming, Belgian children translated the spirit of the recommendations from legal language into concrete, accessible language. This took place under the expert guidance of the Belgian National Commission for the Rights of the Child. The children themselves chose the name 'Fight4YourRight' for their innovative, participatory project.

The project is unique in the world. It should ensure that children and young people gain an understanding of current discussions in society that concern their rights. After all, children need to be heard on issues that affect them. Moreover, 5 young people presented their project to the experts of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on 6 May 2022 and held a lively discussion in Geneva.

Human Rights Council Candidate

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

Straight away, a good practice which our country wants to highlight being a candidate for the UN Human Rights Council 2023-2025. Besides visuals and the interactive tool, there exists also a highly developed methodology. Moreover a pedagogical kit on the use of these tools is being prepared.

Children's rights are a spearhead of Belgium's foreign policy. Our country has been committed to promoting children's rights internationally for decades