Children’s Right to be Heard

Interactive Joining Forces Forum

On Universal Children’s Day on 20 November, 2020, ChildFund Alliance and our Joining Forces partners welcomed children and youth from around the world to exercise their right to speak up on matters affecting their lives, as afforded by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Although the CRC is the world’s most ratified treaty, global societal norms, insufficient resources, and adults’ lack of understanding or support often inhibit children’s meaningful participation.

Joining Forces facilitated the event to provide young people with a platform to use their voices on a day known globally to advocate, promote and celebrate children’s rights. With the COVID-19 pandemic increasing risks of violence against children, interrupting their education, and limiting their opportunities for participation, it is all the more urgent government officials, local leaders, policymakers, and advocates hear what children have to say.

The event explored the importance of children’s participation in securing their rights, lessons adults can learn from children’s experiences, and ways to support children and youth as both a force and a resource in decision-making, especially as COVID-19 triggers an urgent need. The views and input from children worldwide, including leading up to and during the event, will be reflected in a forthcoming Joining Forces policy brief, We’re Talking; Are You Listening? The brief is slated for release in January 2021 and will be the group’s fifth joint policy paper.

In addition to child participants, remarks were provided by the Vice-President of the European Commission; Executive Director of UNICEF; President and CEO of World Vision International; Vice-Chair of the Committee on the Rights of the Child; Secretary General of ChildFund Alliance; and the Child Protection Specialist from ChildFund International, Uganda.

Visit our Joining Forces website to view videotaped statements from children and to read a powerful blog authored by a 16-year-old girl from Zimbabwe who calls on world leaders to make access to education on the internet available to all children, rich or poor.