A team of researchers from Queen's Centre for Children's Rights have produced a child-friendly version of a report entitled 'Children's Rights and the Environment' for the United Nations (UN).
The first of its kind for the UN, the child-friendly version of the report was commissioned by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, Mr John H Knox.
The Centre for Children's Rights translated the document into one that would be suitable for children and young people to read, working alongside pupils from Rathmore Grammar School in Belfast to create an engaging and accessible version of the report.
Professor Laura Lundy (Co-Director of the Centre, from the School of SSESW), who led the project, said:
"The Centre has gained an international reputation for our process of producing child-friendly versions of complex human rights documents. This is the first time that a United Nations Special Rapporteur has produced a child-friendly version and we are delighted to have supported that process."
Dr Michelle Templeton, Research Fellow on the project and from the School of Nursing and Midwifery, explained:
"This child-friendly version of an important global report is an excellent example of how key messages can be communicated to children and young people around the world in a meaningful and engaging way. This means they may be more likely to access, understand and act on those messages."
The project was funded by The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and supported by Jonas Schubert, Children's Rights expert from Terres des Hommes, and Dr Soo Young Hwang, from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Dr Hwang travelled to Belfast to meet the advisory group at one its sessions. She commented:
"It was amazing to observe how empowered children were when they were given a proper chance to speak out in an atmosphere where they were assured that their opinion would matter. They were not only actively participating but providing insightful ideas. They had a lot of important things to say.
"I am really glad that I had a chance to participate in the process. It was an experience for me to reinforce the value of human rights – the participation of the rights holder, in this case, children."
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, Mr Knox, launched the report on 'Children's Rights and the Environment' at The Palais des Nations, home of the United Nations Office in Geneva, on Friday 2 March 2018. Mr Knox thanked all those involved in producing the child-friendly version of the report, stating:
"It is important for children to understand that they have the right to live in a healthy environment. This version of the report is a great way to inform them about their rights."
The child-friendly version of the report is available here.