On June 1, an event titled " “Child’s rights through children’s eyes”" took place which was organized by the Office of the Human Rights Defender in cooperation with UNICEF Armenia
The event was aimed at promoting the realization of the rights of children to be heard and to express their opinion, creating a child-based platform, where children can present their issues and questions, and to discuss them with competent representatives of the field.
The welcoming remarks were made by the Human Rights Defender of Armenia Ms. Kristinne Grigoryan, the UNICEF representative of Armenia Ms. Christine Weigand, the Human Rights Ombudsman of Artsakh Mr. Gegham Stepanyan, and the Ambassador of the European Union Delegation to Armenia H.E. Mrs. Andrea Wiktorin.
During the speech, Ms. Kristinne Grigoryan noted that: “The meaningful participation of children in the decisions that affect them stems from the child’s right to be heard, and of course from the best interest of the child. In this regard, it is very important that as many platforms as possible are created for children, and I hope that today's event is a good opportunity to serve that purpose".
Ms. Christine Weigand noted that “For many years, UNICEF worked with the Human Rights Defender of Armenia to establish working mechanisms to better listen to and support children. One of the greatest outcomes of our cooperation has been seeing how frequently adolescents apply to the Human Rights Defender for support. But we still need to concentrate our efforts to make the protection of rights a reality for every child in Armenia” noted UNICEF Representative in Armenia. “Today, we reiterate our commitment to continue working together to improve the child-friendly complaint mechanisms, increase awareness of child rights, and continue putting them at the heart of national plans and policies.”
H.E. Mrs. Andrea Wiktorin, congratulating children and youth, stressed, "Children's rights must be protected, and we are working in this direction. In the frameworks of our programs aimed at education or environmental protection, we work with young people and each time we find out that you are much more interested in making bolder positive changes. I want you to have the opportunity for a good life, to be free and participate in decision-making."
Gegham Stepanyan thanked for the invitation and noted that the protection of children's rights should be ensured everywhere and for all children, regardless of the place of residence and the status.
During the event, the children made individual and group speeches, where they presented issues related to the realization of their rights. The speeches of the children were related to 3 main themes: education and social inclusion, the protection and security of children in the family and society, and bullying and discrimination.
In the context of education and social inclusion, the gaps in the field of education were addressed, in particular, the obstacles to the realization of children's right to education, the need to create equal opportunities for all, and the difficulties faced by children with hearing problems to communicate and exercise their rights.
Issues related to the protection and security of children in the family were also presented. The participants talked about the importance of cybersecurity, and about the phenomenon of war as a gross violation of children's rights, as well as the importance of respect for children in the family. The children talked about bullying and discrimination in schools, which only harms of their personal development and future.
The event was attended by the relevant ministries of Armenia and the city authorities, as well as representatives of international organizations and civil society organizations of Armenia.
After the speeches, the children held discussions with the participants of the conference, where they offered their solutions to the raised issues.
The event continued in "Tumo" park, where dancing, games, and pleasant music were performed.
The Human Rights Defender's office expressed special gratitude to the Tumo Center for Creative Technologies for hosting the event.
The event was attended by about 400 children from Artsakh and the different provinces of Armenia, both in person and online.