Between September 27 and 29, 2022, the 14th European Forum on the rights of the child was held, which was attended by Hintalovon’s Child Rights Ambassadors. In this post, we briefly summarized the details of the Forum and the Ambassadors’ experiences.
The European Commission is the body of the European Union responsible for defining EU-wide strategies, areas that need development, preparing legislation and other decisions and monitoring their implementation. The Children’s Rights Forums are part of this process, so they aim to reflect on children’s rights and share the experiences and views of experts and children.
This year’s Forum focused on two topics. On the one hand, there was a discussion on making child protection, active involvement, and empowerment more child-centred. The second was about the evaluation of the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child adopted last year. The topics were discussed through presentations and workshops that presented a broad range of approaches to the children rights. The children affected by the Ukrainian-Russian conflict and the active involvement of parents in the realization of children’s rights were also important parts of this forum.
The children’s participation in the online Forum was organized by Eurochild, and members of their Children’s Council spoke during the three-day event. Five of our Child Rights Ambassadors participated in the Forum, one of them as a spokesman and a member of the Eurochild Children’s Council. We believe it is essential for children to be actively involved in thinking about their rights, forming their attitudes and monitoring existing rules. An important part of this is their participation in forums such as this and similar ones, which, according to many participants of the conference, was the most inspiring part of the three-day meeting. It is an exciting question how children’s views and opinions are going to be incorporated into the EU’s future activities, but it seems that children’s direct participation is becoming more and more a fundamental part of meetings and conferences about children.
This is what our ambassadors wrote about the conference:
“I was able to participate in the Forum on Wednesday and Thursday, on Wednesday I could participate more actively, attending two presentations and a workshop. The topics of the presentation were about global conflicts, violence against children and the war between Russia and Ukraine. I must admit that I was very moved by the detailed personal stories. It was heartbreaking to listen to the stories of children who have lost their parents, been forced to leave their own homes, either completely alone or were not safe in their home countries. I think it is particularly important to listen to children and adults who have experienced and lived in this situation first-hand. The Forum provided an excellent opportunity for this. I would particularly like to highlight how safe I felt during the Forum from day one and how everyone treated each other with respect and patience. It was also mentioned that it is essential to unite the Children’s Rights organizations of European countries, and someone referred to it as a bit of an ecosystem. In order for children to cross borders safely, organizations from both countries need to work together. Although I learnt a lot and there was no shortage of new information, I felt a bit like an outsider and would have hoped to have been able to take part in the discussions. Nevertheless, it was an absolutely positive experience and I am very glad that I was able to be part of the program.”Alexandra Patyi
“Although I only attended the conference on Thursday, and only a few programs because of technical problems, I really enjoyed it. I listened to 2 presentations of the workshop on the role of the parent/foster parent. I think nowadays it is very difficult to define and adhere to what a parent should stand for, so it was interesting to hear about the responsibilities of an adult who has children. It was a valuable experience because I learned a lot, and I think it is very useful to us that they also involved children because we can have new thoughts on this topic. I personally enjoyed it and I find it very useful for my language skills and the subject as well.”Hanna Zorka Darvas-Tanács
“For me, it was an uplifting experience to see that there is meaningful work and cooperation between the European Commission and various institutions representing international children’s rights. Children, who were treated as equal parties by the adult participants of the European Commission and the Forum, have spoken on several occasions during the online sessions and workshops. This Forum is a perfect example of how important to involve children in the dialogue on issues that affect their present and future.”Anna Izabella Orosz
The plenary sessions of the Forum are available at the following link: https://euchildforum2022.eu/page-581