“It is incredibly important for young people to be able to have a say and have an opportunity to share our views and opinions. We make up such a huge proportion of society – almost a quarter of the world’s population – and the fact that the majority of our voices aren’t heard because we can’t vote is unacceptable.”
That’s what 17-year-old human rights defender Clara Gray says in her article for Children in Scotland Magazine.
In her article, Clara talks about why children and young people need to have their voices heard, and why their human rights need to be respected.
And she talks about her experience of being involved with this year’s ENOC Conference, a gathering of Children and Young People’s Commissioners where young people themselves play a vital role.
Visiting Europe to defend human rights
In September, Clara travelled to Paris with us for the 2018 conference of ENOC, the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children . Each year, the Network meets to discuss an issue that affects the human rights of children and young people across Europe— and this year they chose mental health as their theme.
It’s important that young people are involved in the ENOC conference, so the Network set up ENYA – the European Network of Young Advisers – to make sure this could happen. Each year ENYA enables young people from across Europe to discuss the issue put to the ENOC conference and create recommendations around what needs to change.
Scotland’s involvement with ENYA
As with several previous years, our office helped young people in Scotland get involved with ENYA in 2018.
Clara was one of a group of young people who we worked with to develop two recommendations on what should change so that young people’s mental health could be better supported in Scotland.
Two members of the group – Fergus and Holly – travelled to Barcelona in June to discuss the recommendations with young people from across Europe.
And as Clara discusses in her blog, she helped champion the recommendations ENYA collectively came up with at the ENOC Conference in September.