Young people become Children’s Rights Defenders

Published date: 
15 Nov 2013

Dublin 15 November 2013

The Children’s Rights Alliance assembled a group of young people (15-18 years) to make a short film about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. They came together in March 2013 and made the film over the summer.

The young people identified three problems that they face on a daily basis. They were:

  • Bullying
  • Poverty
  • Lack of recreational spaces

Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance Tanya Ward said, “Children and young people have a right to be heard. These young people now know their rights and they want us to listen.

If you listen to what they say, you’ll find it credible. You’ll find they make a lot of sense.
We have created a new generation of Children’s Rights defenders and if we listen we will have a better chance at making a difference.”

Over the course of the filming process, the young people set up their own Children’s Rights organisation to advocate on behalf of children.

They identified a number of specific solutions to their problems.  These are:

  • Student representatives for bullying in every school in the country. Students would rather go to one of their peers and work with them in informing school authoritie
  • Tougher sanctions for cyberbullying – there is no proper deterrent for this behaviour. Offending cyberbullies should have their social media accounts disabled for a long period of tim
  • Greater distinction between ‘public’ and ‘private’ in Facebook and other social media applications i.e. a message saying ‘Are you sure you want this information to be public?’ after every post. This feature should also be enabled on mobile phones as well
  • Involve us in your discussions on online activity. We do it and we can help!
  • A method for listening to us on major national issues i.e. when there is a national vote on issues that affect young people or will affect them, could there be a survey of young people and this is factored in with a certain weighting?
  • Opinion was divided on the question of lowering the voting age to 16, however, all were agreed that politics, civics and education on the rights and responsibilities of everyone should be included in the school curriculum until Leaving Certificate stag.
  • Support for a clause in the constitution to say that young people must be listened to or that children’s rights are important
  • A national book rental scheme for all schools regardless of status, geographic location or income
  • A national lunch scheme for all schools regardless of status, geographic location or income

The Children’s Rights defenders are:

Jennifer Akandu
Clara Barry
Robyn Coleman
Robyn Gilmour
Chloe Kavanagh
Maurice Kavanagh
Kirsty Nolan
Elizabeth McBride
Rowena Malee
Christivan Maritz
Juvan Maritz
Courtney McCabe
Lauren Moran
Megan O’Byrne
Nathan Quirke
Orla Reilly
Aaron Robinson
Jenny Robinson
Idowu Salami
Tom Simington
Malcolm Thwala

For the film see:

Bríd McGrath 01-6629400 or 087 7702845