The Success of our Conference: 30 Years of Child Rights, Progress and Challenges

On September 20th, we held our retrospective conference dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), organized in partnership with McGill University’s Faculty of Law. With high-level panelists, impactful speeches and rich and diverse discussions, the event was a success!

Last Friday, the atmosphere in the Thomson House ballroom was studious. The 60 or so attendees were able to listen to the fascinating speeches of the guest panelists, international experts in the field of children’s rights. The conference began with Najat Maalla M’jid, recently appointed by the UN Secretary-General as Special Representative on Violence against Children, a key position in the field of child rights which has celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Dr. Maalla M’Jid discussed the approaches to be taken and the objectives of her mandate, and clarified her roles and actions geared toward institutions. She also reviewed the achievements of the past 30 years in the institutional protection of children’s rights and in child participation. She concluded by stressing the importance of mobilization because progress in this area remains slow. Despite the slowness, 2019 marks an important step as, on the occasion of the CRC’s 30th anniversary, Dr. Maalla M’Jid sees the publication of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, a report with children at its core.

What must we do to progress better, faster and further to put an end to this situation?

Najat Maalla M'Jid, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children

Théophane Nikyèma, former Executive Director of The African Child Policy Forum, then spoke about strengthening the justice system for children in Africa. 

Jean-Claude Legrand, expert in child protection and international advocate for children’s rights, continued with an overview of the lessons learned from the refugee crisis in Europe in recent years.

Finally, Roberta Cecchetti, an international expert on children’s rights who had previously worked for Save the Children, concluded with a presentation on the intersection between violence and child participation, particularly on the topic of public policy and practice in the context. She took stock of the knowledge collected during the last 30 years about children’s participation in the development of national laws and policies on violence against children, and addressed the topic of supporting child victims and survivors through recovery.

The people in attendance were also able to ask questions and engage in discussions with all the speakers, creating a space for dialogue that is rich in information and learning.

The IBCR thanks the panelists and the audience who attended this conference!

Théophane Nikyèma

Jean-Claude Legrand

Roberta Cecchetti

François Crépeau