On the occasion of the Interactive dialogue with Special Rapporteur on the Rights to peaceful assembly and of associationthat took place on the 9 and 10 July during the 44th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC), we delivered a joint statement on behalf of the network to highlight the need to protect children’s civil and political rights and support their participation in decision making 

This statement was also made in the framework of advancing the discussions on civil society space at the Council. At the beginning of the session, the Civil Society Space Core Group (Ireland, Japan, Sierra Leone, Tunisia and Chile) decided to defer the adoption of the biennial HRC resolution on civil society space to a future session, as it was considered that the current circumstances limited the capacity of States and stakeholders to engage in the negotiations of the resolution. 

Instead, the Civil Society Space Core Group delivered a strong joint statement, which was joined by Child Rights Connect, to draw attention to the concerns that persist for civil society and that have been exacerbated during the current times.  

Besides joining the broader efforts, in our child rights-focused statement, we called on the UN and Member States to: 

  • Implement legal & policy frameworks guaranteeing all children’s civil and political rights enshrined in the CRC 
  • Create safe and child-friendly online and off-line spaces for child human rights defenders, where they can safely organise, assemble, and engage with decision makers 
  • Seize the accelerated digital shift to enhance inclusivity and ensure more voices from underrepresented and marginalized groups at all levels, including in UN fora 
  • Support child-led groups, including girl-led groups, with flexible and sustainable funding and non-financial support   

We also encouraged the Special Rapporteur on the Rights to peaceful assembly and of association to develop further guidance in a future dedicated report on the challenges faced by children on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association and practical steps to facilitate their meaningful, safe and inclusive participation in online and off-line public spaces, to be developed in consultation with children in all their diversity. 

Watch the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur here.

In efforts to inform the topic of the next HRC resolution on civil society space: 

  • In May, we participated at a consultation with civil society – see summary reportand 
  • In June, we submitted joint submission to the Core Group together with Save the Children and SOS Children’s Villages International