Two young children from Tranent have launched a series of workshops focusing on human rights that aim to inform, engage and listen to children across Scotland.

The first workshops in the ‘Children as Human Rights Defenders programme’ were delivered this week by Hannah and Cameron from Windygoul Primary School in Tranent.

Hannah and Cameron are Members of the Children’s Parliament (MCPs). They recently returned from Geneva where they took part in the first Children’s Advisory Team meeting to plan children and young people’s involvement in the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s Day of General Discussion (DGD), to be held in September 2018.

On their return, Hannah and Cameron worked alongside other children from East Lothian - some of whom participated in the 2016 DGD as part of the ‘StreetsAhead Tranent’ programme - to co-design and deliver the workshops that focus on human rights. The workshops ask participants to consider what human rights Scottish children feel need to be defended now, and what children think adults can do to support children to stand up for their rights and the rights of others.

Cameron said: “The experience of being a helper to the children in the workshop makes me feel a lot more confident."

Hannah said: “Today I've enjoyed explaining the activities to all the children. I'm looking forward to taking part in the other workshops!" and “I think it went really well - all the kids were smiling!"

Following the workshop at Windygoul Primary School, a further five workshops will be delivered by MCPs Anna, Alexander, Dylan and Emily to around 200 children in Inverness, Blairgowrie, Edinburgh and Benbecula.

As part of the programme, children will also host a national workshop for local and national politicians, officials from local and national government, and colleagues in the voluntary sector that invites them to consider what needs to be done in Scotland to improve children’s lives through a process that acknowledges, encourages and supports rights-based approaches.

All of the information gathered during the workshops will be analysed by the children involved in the workshops, before they work with artists to create five giant ‘shields’ reflecting the key important messages that the children wish to share about children’s human rights. The shields will form an interactive art installation that will travel with the children for display at the UN in Geneva in September.

With new legislation in place requiring all public bodies to report on how they are furthering children’s rights, it is anticipated that the programme will re-ignite a national conversation about what Scotland needs to do to move towards becoming a country that values and cherishes its children and young people, and which has human rights at its heart.

The Children as Human Rights Defenders programme is a partnership between the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, East Lothian Council, the Children’s Parliament, Recharge Youth Centre and Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights).

Published: Thursday, 26th April 2018