Children who take action to promote their human rights, the rights of their peers or the rights of others (including adults) are human rights defenders.
Article 1 of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”. However, despite the many examples of children acting as human rights defenders worldwide, those children are not fully recognized, supported and protected as such.
In 2017, Child Rights Connect launched the first ever global programme on children human rights defenders in order to raise awareness about their role and to actively advocate for the realization of their rights. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has recognized the importance and newness of this topic and has decided to dedicate its 2018 Day of General Discussion (DGD) to the theme “Protecting and empowering children as human rights defenders”. Child Rights Connect is the main partner organization of the DGD, working closely with the Committee, OHCHR, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights defenders and many other key experts and stakeholders, including children.