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Regional Conference “Child participation: Together we decide”

H.E. Dr/ Moshiera Khattab, Minister of Family and Population, Jaap Doek, Former Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Ravi Karkara,Child & Adolescent  Participation Specialist, UNICEF HQ, among children in a round table discussion
© National Council for Childhood and Motherhood - 2011
H.E. Dr. Mosheira Khattab, Minister of Family and Population with Mr. Jaap Doek, former chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Ravi Karkara, Child & Adolescent Participation Specialist, UNICEF HQ among children during a round table session

Monday 10th January 2011 – Creating a change of attitude towards children’s participation and offering them the opportunities and means to express themselves, was the focus of the Regional Conference held in Cairo under the auspices of the Ministry of State for Family and Population.

H.E. Dr. Moushira Khattab, Minister for Family and Population, inaugurated the opening session of the Child Participation Conference “Together we Decide” that was attended by H.E. Mr. Claudio Pacifico, the Italian Ambassador in Egypt, Mr. Philippe Duamelle, Representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Egypt and Dr. Jaap E. Doek, Judge and former chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

 

© 2011 - National Council for Childhood and Motherhood
An Egyptian child participating as one of the panelists during one of the conference sessions

The Conference organized by the Egypt National Child Rights Observatory (ENCRO) brought together policy experts, practitioners, representatives of international institutions and scholars from the Middle East, North Africa and Mediterranean Countries to exchange evidence based researches, case studies and successful experiences that embrace child participation. 
The thread and foundation of the conference has been the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), art. 12, which is considered, as Dr. Moushira Khattab highlighted, “a unique tool among the Human Rights Conventions since it empowers the social and legal dimension of children acknowledging the importance of their participation in decision making processes related to them. (…) Child participation, indeed, enhances the social and psychological development of children improving their self confidence and making them active agents for the development of the society they live in.”

Participants urged governments, international organizations and the civil society to offer children means to actively participate and express their views, as Mr. Philippe Duamelle, UNICEF Representative in Egypt, elaborated “In order to foster and enhance participation children need space and enabling environments adapted to their age and maturity as well as appropriate settings to evolve and grow”. He added “Child participation should also be a mean to promote greater equity and ensure the participation of the marginalized to strengthen dialogue and integration.”

The Conference underlined the strategic role played in Egypt by the Observatory in the realization of children rights ensuring that their opinions and views are taken into due consideration: “It gives me a sense of pride to know that the Observatory is producing tangible results proving that the fulfillment of children’s rights is now in Egypt becoming part of an institutional mechanism, which recognizes children and young people not just as recipients of adults and care protection but as citizens and actors in their own lives, as right holders, individuals whose opinions and views should be expressed and taken seriously.”  Said Claudio Pacifico, Italian Ambassador to Egypt.

50 Egyptian children participated actively at the conference, discussing and debating with policy makers means to build an institutional and cultural environment where the rights of every child are respected, promoted and protected.

The Egypt National Child Rights Observatory is a joint project between the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood, the Cabinet Information and Decision Support Center and UNICEF, with the technical and financial support of the Italian Cooperation.

 

 
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