POSTED February 2, 2021
How can we help give children a voice to protect their rights?
A new policy brief highlights the needs of vulnerable children to be heard, especially as COVID-19 poses more threats to their safety and well-being
By Brianne Binelli, digital content manager, Canada
Children deserve the right to be heard. That truth has become even more important in the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has raised the risk of violence, hunger, child marriage, school dropouts and more. That’s why ChildFund Alliance — of which Children Believe is a member — has released the joint policy brief, “Children’s right to be heard: we’re talking; are you listening?” examining the issue and how the world can solve it together.
For several months last year, and during an online public forum, ChildFund Alliance — in partnership with Plan International, Save the Children, SOS Children’s Villages International, Terre des Hommes International Federation and World Vision — joined to listen to children.
Farhana, 17, from India, was one child who spoke up. “We understand what is right and what is wrong,” she said. “My message to adults is to please allow us to participate.”
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted in 1989, along with the 2030 global Agenda for Sustainable Development, put children at the forefront as agents of change, but more needs to be done.
Below are some recommendations from the policy brief, highlighting how governments can help children be heard and their needs addressed:
- fully recognize and support children as right-holders, strengthening systems at every level
- develop, adopt and implement laws and policies that require wide consultation with children
- develop, adopt and enforce national laws and policies to protect and empower children who promote their civic rights
- remove obstacles preventing meaningful participation of children
- develop and adopt laws and policies to protect and empower children who promote their civic rights
- include children in processes to respond to today’s most pressing global issues
- develop a universal framework for measuring progress towards realizing children’s right to be heard
For the full list of action items, and policy brief, visit childfundalliance.org.
ABOUT CHILDREN BELIEVE (formerly Christian Children's Fund of Canada):
Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60 years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.
About ChildFund Alliance:
A member of ChildFund Alliance, Children Believe is part of a global network of 12 child-focused development organizations working to create opportunities for children and youth, their families and communities. ChildFund helps nearly 23-million children and their families in more than 70 countries overcome poverty and underlying conditions that prevent children from achieving their full potential. We work to end violence against children; provide expertise in emergencies and disasters to ease the harmful impact on children and their communities; and engage children and youth to create lasting change and elevate their voices in decisions that affect their lives.