The report of the UN office for human rights (OHCHR) on child rights and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development is out and includes, for the first time, a section presenting children’s views.

This is the result of a global consultation organized by Child Rights Connect and the OHCHR with children from all around the world. The objective was to gather their inputs on the challenges and opportunities to realizing their rights through the SDGs. The consultation consisted on a child-friendly written survey and three virtual round table discussions, in English, French and Spanish, and it had a total participation of 153 children between the ages of 6 and 17 years from 11 countries.

Issues raised by children included:

  • How States should enforce the human rights conventions they have signed more strictly;
  • The ongoing lack of access to quality education, affecting their future job opportunities and quality of life;
  • The need for safe spaces for children to be protected from abuses such as child labour and trafficking;
  • The need to respect nature and existing resources and empower children so that they can take control of change so that adults may follow;
  • How governments must involve children in key discussions and decisions, for example, by having child representatives in State institutions at different levels. Children emphasized that they want to participate, and they want their voices to be listened to, as their imaginations can bring good ideas leading to real change.

Child Rights Connect also presented a submission on risks and challenges to the rights of children human rights defenders, which has been taken into account in the report.