Mrs. Louise Arbour, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 2004 – 2008
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CyberDodo, the Defender of Life
Message from Mrs. Louise Arbour :
The rapid rate of acceptance of the Convention on the Rights of the Child clearly testifies to the willingness of States to embrace overarching norms that guarantee the protection of the rights of children irrespective of their race, colour, sex, language, religion, ethnic origin, ability or other status.
When it came into effect 18 years ago, one of the most significant effects of the new Convention was a shift in thinking: no longer did it concern simply meeting children’s needs, but instead implied a communal engagement to enable their full enjoyment of their rights. In the case of equal access to education for children with disabilities and non-disabled children, for instance, the shift implied the adaptation of educational systems to the specific needs of each child, rather than forcing the child to adapt to the way mainstream education is provided. This innovative perspective has had a widespread impact on national laws, policies and programs.
However, serious obstacles continue to hinder the full application of the Convention. Many States face significant challenges to meeting the specific obligations to children that they have undertaken. Some have yet to institute effective preventive or enforcement measures to combat violence against children. Others are incapable of guaranteeing children’s exercise of their economic, social and cultural rights, particularly their access to health and education. As a result, millions of children in all regions of the world are faced with situations characterised by limited or non-existent recourse to their rights, or redress for infractions that they have incurred.
As such, the education of children with respect to their rights is a fundamental aspect of the efforts of those working towards full implementation of the Convention. This project represents a means for the fulfillment of one obligation inherent to children’s right to education - the presentation of the Convention in a way that is engaging and appropriate for young minds. The protection of children can only be realized if children themselves know the rights to which they are entitled.
Parents, teachers and all those involved in the lives of children will also be able to learn from this tool how to make human rights a living reality for the children in their care, including the promotion of children’s knowledge thereof. Significantly, the ‘CyberDodo Edupack’ empowers children by means of their participation and affirms the important reality that the Convention belongs to them.
My Office has been pleased to support the development of this project and I wish it all the success it deserves.