Child Advocates at the Human Rights Council
At the end of March, Edmund Rice International, one of the partner organisations of the FI Geneva office, hosted a group of three children from the Edmund Rice Network in India. Vijay Kumar (17), Rikida Shadap (16), and Aditya Garg (15) came to lobby UN member states on behalf of eighteen children who wrote a submission for the UPR of India which will take place this month. The children are members of the Nine is Mine campaign, a children’s advocacy initiative which calls for the allocation of 9% of India’s GDP to children’s health and education. Their message was warmly received by the permanent missions and NGOs who met them. Rarely do children come to the UN to participate in the processes that shape their futures. Vijay, Aditya and Rikida’s contribution to the meetings and discussions in which they took part was an important reminder to both UN and civil society actors that children have a voice and it must be listened to. Before he was chosen to be part of the delegation, Vijay “couldn't imagine that a boy from Bapudham would make it to Geneva and engage with the powers that be at the Mecca of Human Rights.” Read his reflections on the experience here.