As you might have begun to learn from these posts on youth participation, Children’s Rights is an area I’m extremely passionate about when it comes to youth development and programming.
Here’s a brief history on Children’s Rights:
In 1919, Eglantyne Jebb set up the charity Save the Children. This led to children’s rights receiving a public forum and provided political pressure to see children’s rights become a reality.
In 1923, the League of Nations (now the United Nations) adopted Jebb’s ‘Declaration of the Rights of the Child.’ This declaration was the inspiration for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Information provided by Save the Children Website 2008.
|“In 1959 the UN General Assembly adopted the second Declaration of the Rights of the Child. The Convention on the Rights of the Child was drafted over the course of 10 years between 1979 and 1989. Representatives from all societies, religions and cultures contributed, and a working group was given the task of drafting the convention. On 20th November 1989, the governments represented at the General Assembly (which included the UK) agreed to adopt the convention into international law. It came into force in September 1990.”
HM Government 2006
Today, the convention contains 54 articles and two option protocols. The first 42 articles are specific and active rights for children, while 43 -54 are guidance for governments to ensure all children get their rights.
Only two governments have not ratified the convention: Somalia (due to lack of an official government) and the United States. (n.b. The US did ratify the two option protocols against child soldiers and child trafficking). For more information please visit the UNICEF Website or see this leaflet.
Help your youth learn more about children’s rights by using this youth work session plan idea:
Timing – 30 minutes to 1 hour
- For participants to be introduced to the 42 articles of the UNCRC
- For participants to rate the nine most important rights for children and young people in the world today, based on the 42 articles. This can be done using the diamond diagram shown below. (n.b. 1 is the most important, 9 is the least important)
- 42 articles on cards (in English or Native Language depending on setting), cut up and placed in sealed envelopes (if available)
- Envelopes (Optional)
- Flipchart (Optional)
Children’s Rights Activity
- Split the group into six small groups (pairs or more per group depending on overall group size)
- Give each group an envelope containing a set of cards with the UNCRC’s 42 articles
- Each group is to choose nine articles that they feel are the most important for children
- Then pair up each of the groups, so that there are now three groups and a total of (up to) eighteen articles per group. Have the groups choose the most important nine
- Each group must place their articles in order from most to least important, using the following diamond pattern
4 5 6
- Compare and contrast each group’s diamonds
- Are there similarities?
- What are the differences?
- Call on different group members to explain the rationale/ justification for choices
- If there is time, have the groups as a whole choose a final top 9 from their 3 diamonds and place them in diamond order
- What did you enjoy about that activity?
- What issues or problems did your group identify or experience while trying to choose nine articles?
- Which articles were important to you personally?
- Which articles do you feel might not be appropriate for your country or culture?
- Which articles do you feel are important to your country or culture which are not currently supported or implemented by your government or within your community?
- Participants become familiar with children’s rights and the 42 articles
- Participants analyze and critique the 42 articles and begin to make links with the personal, local, national and global aspects of the rights
- This activity was learned at a Participation Workers Training held by Youth Force ‘Essentials of Working with Young People’.
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