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Your World – Your Say

JOINT PRESS RELEASE


YOUR WORLD – YOUR SAY

100 children voice their views on engagement in European and international decision-making

17 November 2010

Today (17 November 2010) up to 100 young people from all over the country,  gathered in Dublin for “Your World – Your Say”, a consultation event on children’s views on their engagement in European and international levels of decision-making.  The event was hosted by the Children’s Rights Alliance, in collaboration with the Irish Second Level Students’ Union (ISSU).

Children and young people, aged 12 to 17 years and from a diverse range of life experiences, gathered to add their voice to this important project.  The consultation event is part of a Europe-wide project on children and young people’s involvement in European and international decision-making.  It comprises five partner projects in Ireland, England, Austria, Estonia/Russia and Romania/Moldova who are each hosting a national consultation event.  The views expressed at these events will be brought together into one report and presented to the European Commission.

On opening the event, Jillian van Turnhout, Chief Executive, Children’s Rights Alliance said: “Today, is all about getting your voice heard.  European and international bodies are playing an increasingly important role in our lives and we need to find ways to bridge the gap between the individual and the institutions.  We need the institutions to listen and learn from what children are saying.  The buzz of children and young people engaging in discussions was a fitting way to celebrate International Students’ Day which falls today, 17 November.”

Today the young people gathered, learned about the opportunities for them to influence European and international decision makers that impact on children’s lives such as the European Parliament, the European Commission, the European Forum on the Rights of the Child and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.  A message from Irish MEPs was sent via a recording from Brussels.  The young people explored their views on the importance of engaging with decision-making bodies and how they could get involved.  They discussed any experiences they had on being involved in decision-making, and shared ideas about how they would engage differently if they had the opportunity to do so.

Leanne Caulfield, President, ISSU added: “Innovative methods were used to promote creative discussions, including Storyboards, Mind Mapping and Knowledge Cafés.  While officials were present to answer questions, we avoided the usual lecture-style format.  The sessions were facilitated by young people from the ISSU and European Youth Parliament, so it was very much a youth-led and youth-focused event.

With financial support from the EU’s Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Programme

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CONTACT DETAILS FOR MEDIA QUERIES:
Róisín Fitzgerald – Children’s Rights Alliance – 087 7702845 or communications@childrensrights.ie

Notes to Editor:

This consultation event is part of a Europe-wide project on children and young people’s involvement in European and international decision-making.  The project, funded by the European Commission, is co-ordinated by the Children’s Rights Alliance England (CRAE) and includes five partner projects: Ireland, England, Austria, Estonia/Russia and Romania/Moldova.  Each partner is hosting a national consultation event involving 100 children under 17 years.  A final report incorporating the views of children and young people from the five partners will be presented to the European Commission in 2011.

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