The UN Office for Human Rights (OHCHR) is reporting annually to the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development to provide inputs from a child rights perspective to the yearly thematic reviews of progress at the forum. The 2019 High-Level Political Forum’s theme, “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”, is of utmost importance to children’s rights. Children acting as human rights defenders (CHRD), all over the world, are advocating for the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and should be empowered and protected in this endeavour.

In partnership with OHCHR, Child Rights Connect has organised three online children’s discussions in order to support children’s inputs to the OHCHR consultation for the 2019 report. The consultations included 62 children, from the ages of 6 to 17, across all regions and took place in French, English and Spanish. The findings have been summarised as a separate submission.

Building on the 2018 Day of the General Discussion (DGD), including the findings from the global online consultation with children, Child Rights Connect has presented a submission identifying risks and challenges to the rights of CHRD, as well as solutions and good practices for the realisation of the goals under review. The submission highlights, among other issues, how:

  • Quality education can only be achieved by ensuring that schools are a safe space for children, promote effective child participation, and systematically incorporate human rights education (Goal 4),
  • To reduce inequalities, children need to be viewed at the same level as adults, their views need be taken into account, and they need to have equal opportunities to become and act as human rights defenders without discrimination (Goal 10),
  • CHRD acting on environmental issues, including through the school strike for climate movement, need to be supported in their activities and provided with a safe and empowering space (Goal 13),
  • Violence against children, absence of safe and child-friendly complain mechanisms, lack of platforms for children to engage in decision-making, obstacles to their right to access to information and fundamental freedoms, are hindering children’s ability to act as human rights defenders (Goal 16), and
  • Global partnerships should incorporate children and their views (Goal 17).

You can read the submission here.