21 Sep 2009

Young ambassadors for children’s rights travel to Paris to have their say

THREE young people from Northern Ireland will travel to Paris this week to give a workshop on children’s rights to the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children (ENOC).

Barry McCrory, Megan O’Kane and Vishal Sridhar are members of Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People’s (NICCY) Youth Panel, and will travel with the Commissioner, Patricia Lewsley, to this year’s conference.

The three are the only young people from the countries involved who have been given the opportunity to deliver a workshop which this year focuses on “The Best Interest of the Child’. 

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Barry from Craigavon is looking forward to meeting with the European children’s champions and finding out more about the issues which affect children and young people where they live.

“Over the past few weeks we have been working hard to develop a workshop which explores adults and children and young people’s experiences of rights,” said Barry.

“We are asking representatives from each country to look at the world through child’s eyes and see how they can bring about positive change.”

Megan, from Bangor, added:  “This conference is a great opportunity to have our voice heard in Europe.  We want the representatives at ENOC to hear directly about our experiences of children’s rights and hopefully take back knowledge which can be shared with the children and young people where they live.”

Vishal from Newtownabbey is hoping to gain a lot from this experience and use it as an opportunity to grow his confidence further so he can continue to speak out about children’s rights. 

“This is a great opportunity for all the Commissioner’s and Ombudspersons across Europe to get together to share their knowledge, experience and changes to legislation,” added Vishal.

Commissioner for Children and Young People, Patricia Lewsley, said:  “We were very fortunate to have been chosen to bring young people with us to this year’s conference.  My youth panel have worked very hard to develop this workshop which will enable participants to get a glimpse of life from a child’s point of view.” 

The conference, which is in its 13th year, will take place from September 23- 25 at the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris.