Children’s Parliament: Children as Human Rights Defenders

Back in April and May, 6 Members of Children’s Parliament (MCPs) and child Human Rights Defenders called Hannah, Cameron, Dylan, Alexander, Anna and Emily (aged 12 and 13) led five workshops across Scotland in Tranent, Edinburgh, Blairgowrie, Inverness and Benbecula. The workshops explored why children’s human rights are important and what children and adults can do to defend these rights. Every child involved created a piece of artwork, a story, a rap or poem about a right they feel strongly about defending here in Scotland – and these were just incredible!

We have created films about each of the five workshops which you can find here.

So what happened next?

In June, the 6 MCPs were joined by another 6 child Human Rights Defenders. They worked together to sort through the creative work produced in the workshops and organised the artwork into five key themes. These were:

  • Defending the right to play
  • Defending the right to education and a decent standard of living
  • Defending the right to be ourselves and participate
  • Defending the right to be protected from harm
  • Defending the right to be loved and cared for

In August, the 12 children worked together over five days to decorate five giant papier-mâché shields, painting and collaging images and text from children’s creative work produced in the workshops. It was a lot of hard work and a lot of fun making them! We’re so grateful to all the children who were involved in the workshops – so many of the ideas and views shared are woven into the shields in some way and we can’t wait to see what you all think. You can read Dylan’s blog about the process here.

Over the past few weeks, the children have been preparing to take the shields to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s Day of General Discussion which is at the end of next week! The children will give tours of the shields to children and adults from across the world who will be participating and will share stories about what each of the shield means and represents. We’ll be blogging and tweeting from Geneva next week so do keep an eye out for updates!

From all of the 12 children going to the DGD next week and from the rest of our Children as Human Rights Defenders team, we want to say a huge thank you to all the children involved in the workshops for sharing your ideas with us and for playing such an important role in the upcoming global discussion about defending children’s human rights.