Two young people from East Lothian are in Geneva to participate in Child Rights Connect’s Children’s Advisory Team to help plan the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s Day of General Discussion.

The DGD will be held in Geneva in September 2018.

Hannah and Cameron – both of whom attend Tranent’s Windygoul Primary School and are members of the Children’s Parliament (MCPs) - are the only two children from Scotland who were selected to attend, and two of only five children attending from Europe.

Hannah and Cameron are in Geneva from Sunday 18 to Wednesday 21 March to take part in the first Children’s Advisory Team meeting alongside other children from around the world to plan children and young people’s involvement in the DGD, the theme of which is ‘Children as Human Rights Defenders’. They will also work with two members of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the UNHRC Lead for External Affairs.

On their return, Hannah and Cameron will work with other children from East Lothian, some of whom participated in the last DGD as part of the ‘StreetsAhead Tranent’ programme, to co-design and deliver a series of workshops across the country on human rights. The workshops will focus on what human rights do children feel need to be defended now, and what kind of support do they need to be able to operate as children human rights defenders in Scotland.

Shamin Akhtar, Cabinet Spokesperson for Education and Children’s Services, said:

"We know that when children and young people understand their rights, they become happier, healthier and more engaged in their learning, all of which have a lasting positive impact on their community" Cllr Shamin Akhtar

“It’s absolutely wonderful that Hannah and Cameron have been selected to represent the UK at this really important international event. We know that when children and young people understand their rights, they become happier, healthier and more engaged in their learning, all of which have a lasting positive impact on their community. I’m really looking forward to seeing the development of the workshops on their return, and the clear benefits that these will have on young people across the county and beyond.”

The information generated through the school workshops in Scotland will inform, and be informed by, the international UN work. The children will work with artists to create an installation featuring five giant ‘shields’ which will reflect the key important messages children wish to share about children’s human rights. There will be a range of national events celebrating the work of the children and their ‘shields’ later on this year.

Along with adult delegates from Children’s Parliament, East Lothian Council, Recharge and CYPCS, Hannah and Cameron will return to Geneva on 28 September to attend the Day of General Discussion at Geneva’s Palais des Nations. They will share their individual experiences as Human Rights Defenders in Scotland, presenting Scotland’s national priorities to international stakeholders and children participating in the event from across the world.

Following their return from Geneva, the children will attend the 2019 Scottish Cabinet Meeting to report back on their experiences. A final report will be produced capturing the key messages that have emerged throughout the project and our film will also be published. These will be publicly available early in 2019.

Published: Thursday, 22nd March 2018