Geneva, Switzerland. For the first time ever, the annual Day of the Human Rights Council on the rights of the child - held March 7 - focused on issues related to child health and had the participation of two young adolescents from World Vision.
The focus this year on the child's right to health is the result of close collaboration with the Member States involved with World Vision and other NGO focused on child well being which consider this global platform as an excellent opportunity to promote children's rights.
Jonas 15, from Bolivia and Tama 14, from Haiti spoke before the Council about the importance of empowering young people to enable them to express their views. Tama spoke of the health conditions of her Country and the problems to access health facilities. She described the child's right to health as a fundamental and asked the Council to give the same attention and priority to the child's right to education.
Jonas spoke about the importance of ensuring the views and voices of all children - including indigenous communities - "You have to take them into account when speaking about human rights and health", adding that, "the national law needs a meaningful change" and that it should be done with the participation of children. "Everybody says that children are the future, but we are also the present," added Jonas.
President of the Human Rights Council, Remigiusz Henczel, publicly thanked Tama and Jonas for their contributions and remarked on the importance of ensuring children’s voices are heard.
World Vision's Senior Advisor on Human Rights, Jennifer Philpot-Nissen explains “When we explore and make recommendations around the States’ obligations to safeguard children’s rights to health, we must ensure that authentic and meaningful participation of young people is part of the equation.”
The afternoon panel session focused on the implementation and accountability mechanisms of the child’s right to health. Speakers included Paul Hunt, Professor of Law at the University of Essex and former Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, and Maria Herczog, Member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations, responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and making recommendations. It holds three regular sessions a year in Geneva, Switzerla