Members of the CRAE steering committee inside the human rights hall at the Palais des Nations of the UN in Geneva

12 year old Emma from Richmond, a member of the Children’s Rights Alliance for England Steering Group, travelled to the United Nations in Geneva to present a report on children’s rights. This is her report.

At the beginning of October we, the Steering Group of the Children’s Rights Alliance for England “See it, Say it, Change it” project, got our chance to talk to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child about children’s rights and whether they are being protected in England.

Our group included children that have been in care, disabled children, children from different ethnic backgrounds, and ranged from aged 8 to 18. Eight of us got to take part in a Children’s meeting and four of us got to present in a more formal pre-sessional in front of the whole Committee.

In the Children’s meeting we did a presentation to four or five members of the UN Committee and then were asked some questions. We shared the meeting with delegations from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. My presentation was on health and its main focus was the barriers within the health system, particularly around transgender children, non-verbal children’s communication and the problems with mental health provision for children. Other areas we focused on included violence against children in care, standard of living and respect, however we cannot include detailed information on this because of security regulations surrounding the UN.

The presentations from the other regions were also very interesting and it was interesting how similar the problems from all four of the jurisdictions were. Following our presentation the Committee will compile a list of questions that it will put to the UK Government. The room where the meeting was held was very grand and we had to wear headsets to listen to what everyone else was saying and we had to press a button when we wanted to talk. Because I’m in a wheelchair this was tricky because every time I leaned forward to press the button my headphones fell off and I couldn’t put them on again. Fortunately one of the other people in the group helped me.

We also had a look around the different UN buildings in Geneva, and learned a little bit about the history of the UN. Overall it was a very interesting experience and one I will probably never have again.