Youth Stand up for their Rights!
Over 100 young people gathered in City Hall on the 27th October to discuss what needs to be done by government to guarantee their rights.
At an event organised and facilitated by young people from the NI Youth Forum, Children’s Law Centre and Belfast Youth Forum, politicians were called to upon to fully deliver on children’s rights.
The event entitled: “What you say matters: Young people using rights for change” followed on from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s recent recommendations to government on the changes needed to fully implement the UNCRC.
Young people considered issues such as mental health, the need for a Youth Assembly, unfair treatment of young people in communities and better education on rights.
Andrew Dawson (Head of Mental Health Policy Unit & Mental Capacity Bill project) attended, representing Minister for Health, Michelle O’Neill MLA; along with Barry McElduff MLA, Chairperson of the Committee for Education and Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin, PSNI, and answered young people’s questions on how they plan to deliver on children’s rights within health, education and policing.
Tara Grace Connolly, NIYF Chairperson, who opened the event said: “This event was important because young people had a chance to air their views and influence the thinking of key decision makers on issues like mental health, education, policing and an NI Youth Assembly. Politicians and society in general need to stop viewing young people as being ‘troublemakers’ and realise that we can make a real contribution to making our society better for everybody. Young people just want to have an equal say in our future.”
Tara went on to outline the next steps in the young people’s children’s rights campaign: “Drawing on today’s discussions, we look forward to future engagement with key decision makers and others who have a responsibility for children and young people. We will keep pushing forward in our quest to protect the rights of young people – something that is needed now more than ever especially within the context of Brexit.”
To get involved and join our quest to protect youth rights please contact firstname.lastname@example.org