''Nothing about us, without us!''



Two young Catalan students took part in an international conference to discuss the role of children's rights institutions

The Youth Advisory Council of the Catalan Ombudsman is a tool that gives children and young people the opportunity to participate and be listened to

Two members of the Youth Advisory Council of the Catalan Ombudsman participated in a meeting of the European Network of Young Advisors (ENYA), which took place in Malta at the beginning of July. The aim of the conference was to discuss the role of institutions for the defence of children's rights.

The 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child included for the first time the right to participation of children and young people under the age of eighteen. However, our society does not always have the channels and opportunities to listen to children and young people.

With the aim of gathering young people’s opinions, the Catalan Ombudsman created the Youth Advisory Council in the 2007/2008 school year. 17 students aged between fourteen and fifteen from 8 Catalan schools took part in its latest edition.

ENYA organises an annual forum where young people from different countries, accompanied by their coordinators, can meet, get to know other cultures and, above all, discuss and exchange views on a pre-selected topic that each group has worked on in advance. This year's meeting in Malta was attended by 35 young people from all over Europe. Leila Serroukh, a student from the Sants secondary school in Barcelona, and Alba Molina, from the Terrassa secondary school, represented the Youth Advisory Council.

As a result of the work done during these days, the young participants concluded that there is a need to increase the visibility, accessibility and the independent role of children's rights institutions. The recommendations resulting from the meeting have been summarised in a document and will be presented at the 27th Annual Meeting of the European Network of Ombudsmen for Children (ENOC), which will take place in Brussels from 19 to 21 September. Leila Serroukh will again be the Catalan representative.