Editorial, by Daniel Burnat and Audrey Monbaron Nendaz, 9 November 2017

2017 22 novembre dessin 9The IDE and the City of Geneva are calling for children belonging to GIAP (intercommunal group for extra-curricular activities) to participate in the organizing an event on November 22 at CICG Geneva.

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the ratification by Switzerland of the international Convention on the rights of the child (CRC), nothing would be more appropriate that to encourage the participation of approx. 60 children in events touching on 6 themes that directly concern them.

Six workshops, each divided into two sessions, have been organized around the following themes: Access to human rights education, equal opportunity, unaccompanied juvenile migration, digital media, children in urban spaces, and the right to petition and to vote.

After the first session, we observed that the children were enthusiastic and confident that their opinions would be relayed to the highest spheres on Genevan politics, and to the Committee on the rights of the child. It will also be a very festive event!

The participating children were aged 10-12. They were the same age as the children who participated in the 2014 survey carried out in Geneva on children’s perceptions of their own rights. It was interesting to note that most of the children were already aware of the CRC and of the rights it contains relative to the use of digital media thanks to their parents, teachers, the Walk for hope organized by Terre des Hommes and Actions Innocence.

A first observation stemming from the workshops has to do with the children’s concern with safety in public spaces. They were concerned for their own security and raised the need to be better protected. The issue of poverty and more specifically of children living in Switzerland in precarious conditions was identified as a preoccupation for several children.

The children raised ideas and questions during the workshops, which also allowed to emphasize how strongly children feel about being informed (on State structure, current events and decisions adults make which affect them), in order for them to construct their own opinion and put forth recommendations.

To conclude, a high point from one of the workshops was reached when the majority of children expressed their will to create a country or city for children. This dream reflects their need to be better listened to and taken seriously. This really highlights the importance of creating participative (pilot) projects in understanding that children have "things to say" and interesting ideas to share.

On November 22, the children’s recommendations born from the workshops will be presented to the public. Three children per theme will be interacting with experts in relevant fields. We hope you come and join the conversation!

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