Representatives of the Young Advisors Council discuss at the ENYA Forum on the impact of COVID-19 on children's and adolescents' rights



From the work of these two days, several recommendations have emerged related to the fields of education, prevention of violent situations, mental health, poverty, new technologies and play and recreational activities

They also call for more child and youth mental health resources to meet current needs

The Catalan Ombudsman's Young Advisors Council, represented by Àngela Valldepérez and Joan Boixaderas, took part in the ENYA Forum, which this year was organised by Malta on 1-2 July, under the title "Let's Talk Young, Let's Talk about the Impact of COVID-19 on Children's Rights".

ENYA (European Network of Young Advisors) is a participatory project for children and adolescents that is carried out with the support of the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children (ENOC). The purpose of this network is to bring together the young people involved with ENOC members and to facilitate the transmission of their opinions linked to the annual ENOC work theme.

The participating boys and girls from different European territories (Albania, Andalusia, the Basque Country, Bulgaria, Catalonia, Scotland, France, Wales, Greece, Northern Ireland, Iceland, Iceland, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, Norway, the Basque Country, Slovakia and Ukraine) discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the rights of children and adolescents.

As a result of the joint work, they have collected several recommendations related to the fields of education, prevention of violence, mental health, poverty, new technologies, and play and recreational activities, among which it is worth highlighting the desire to improve student participation, taking into account that the pandemic crisis highlighted this systemic deficiency, improve online learning and take measures to avoid the exclusion of pupils with special educational needs, and also to respond to the needs of pupils and their families for accompaniment and support.

They also stated the need to adopt measures for the provision of prevention and support services for all forms of violence in exceptional situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic that may occur again, to guarantee a holistic system of child protection and an immediate response that prevents secondary victimisation of children, as well as more child and adolescent mental health resources to provide an adequate response to the needs of children and adolescents.

The young people also coincided in demanding that institutions take measures to guarantee the participation of children and adolescents in decision-making on issues related to them in similar situations.

It has been a very intense and profitable two days for the participants, an opportunity to express their opinions and to feel listened to.