Children challenge policymakers during the Moroccan Book Fair
25th anniversary of the CRC
"What are the rights of children with autism?" With a frank and cheerful look and a smile from ear to ear, Chama, an 8 year old autistic girl, challenged Regina De Dominicis, UNICEF Representative in Morocco, directly during the debate organized with children about the Convention on the Rights of the Child on Friday, 14 February. The debate took place on the joint UNICEF and the National Council for Human Rights (CNDH) exhibition stall during the Book Fair in Casablanca, which ran from February 13 to 23. More than 400,000 visitors were expected.
Participation in this event was the kick-off of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the CRC in Morocco. This inclusive meeting with children from different social layers, public school children, children from more remote and rural areas, some of which travelled more than 500 km to take part in this event, children with disabilities... was an opportunity to give a voice to children to ask the questions that are occupying their minds. And they were not all easy to answer. "Why do we allow children under 18 years to work, why is the law not enforced?" "There are children who have nothing to eat and have to face the cold in the mountainous regions. We must help them!" "I want to know what you have planned to help street children." “Children are a wonder. Any time that an opportunity is provided to them, they are able to seize it and come out with ideas and solutions that adults cannot imagine,” said Regina De Dominicis.
Celebration of the 25th anniversary of the CRC in Morocco will continue until the end of the year
Under the theme: “My rights, my future”, the joint UNICEF - CNDH participation with a 360 m2 exhibition stall, provided a space with access to several areas of entertainment, artistic expression, reading and discussion. The particularity of the participation in this exhibition was that it scheduled a series of meetings between decision-makers and children. Indeed, in addition to UNICEF who got the ball rolling for a series of debates, meetings were scheduled for children with the Ministers of Health, of Social Development, of National Education, the King’s advisor, the Chairman of the Parliament, the President of the Higher Education Council, the President of the Central Institution against Corruption, the president of CNDH and many other senior policymakers. These discussions allowed firstly to take into account the opinions and perceptions of children regarding their access to their rights to education, health, protection and participation and secondly hear their proposals to improve children's access to these rights. A golden opportunity available to children to make their voices directly heard.
In addition to the debate with UNICEF meetings are scheduled for children with the Ministers of Health, Social Development, Education, the King's advisor, the Chairman of Parliament, the President of the Higher Education Council, the President of of the Central Institution against Corruption, the President of CNDH and many other senior policymakers. A golden opportunity available to children to make their voices directly heard.