The year 2019 marked the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which, with 195 signatory countries, is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history. This international treaty recognises children (under 18 years of age) as bearers of fundamental rights, set out in the 54 articles of the Convention. Signatory countries are required to publish reports on the status of these rights, which are reviewed by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
While there is now a broad consensus that children have rights, the degree to which these rights are implemented varies from one context to another. How can the right to education and leisure be enforced in contexts where child labour remains the norm? How can child protection be ensured when their family environment is abusive? What is the legal system for minors? Since children do not have the right to vote, how can their rights be respected and their voices heard? How can they participate in decisions that concern them?
This edition of LabCitoyen aims to explore these issues and apply them to real-life contexts during a training course geared towards taking action.
With their personal experiences and their associative commitments, the participants of LabCitoyen 2021 have, over two and a half months, the opportunity to meet stakeholders in French civil society, representatives of international organisations and figures committed to the defence of the rights of the child. Under the guidance of facilitators, they receive trained in creative design with the aim of carrying out a concrete action to advance children's rights in their own country.
The top 10 projects will be announced at the closing ceremony, chaired by Claire Hédon on 20 November 2021, Universal Children's Day. Chosen on the basis of videos telling the story of their cause and action, the winners will be invited to visit Paris.
LabCitoyen is a programme of the Institut français that brings together about fifty young French speakers every year from all over the world to come and debate, in French, on current human rights issues. It is one of the "Labs" of the Institut français, programmes that support those who will play a leading role in the social and cultural life of their countries in the future. More than 600 young people have already participated in these programmes since their launch. Through committed support and intercultural dialogue, the "Labs" aim both to strengthen the skills of their participants and to renew the image, attractiveness and influence of France.
The 2021 edition of LabCitoyen is implemented by the Institut français, in partnership with makesense and Eloquentia.
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