World Children’s Day Panel Discussion

World Children’s Day 
21 November 2020 | YouTube Panel Discussion  

On November 21, 2020 Set Them Free organized a virtual discussion about children’s rights in partnership with Cage Free Voices on the occasion of the World Children’s Day. Youth speakers elaborated on different violations of children’s rights as participants shared their perspectives from the USA, Nigeria, and Germany. The panel was live on Set Them Free’s YouTube channel.  

The discussion started with Feranmi Davies, from Cage Free Voices, discussing women’s and girls’ rights as she focused on child marriage. Feranmi said, “Many human rights are violated as a result of child marriage including rights of education, freedom from violence and reproductive rights.” Feranmi mentioned that child marriage also causes several health problems due to early pregnancy. She underlined that poverty, cultural practices, poor infrastructure, and violence are the factors that lead to the violation of the right of education. Feranmi ended her speech by saying “Girls need to learn, they need to feel safe and contribute to society. Let’s stand up against discriminations of girls globally.”

Next discussant Hansa Girdap,13, is 7th grader living in New York. She spoke on the children’s rights violations in Turkey. As of today, there are more than 800 children in Turkey’s prisons with their mothers from newborns to age six. Hansa mentioned that mothers have the right to take care of their children during postpartum. This right is systematically violated in Turkey. Hansa underlined that “Children of Turkey are paying the price of injustice.” She talked about Ahmet Atac who died not long ago because of the Turkish regime`s violation of right to travel for his cancer treatment. Hansa also added “On the occasion of International Children’s Day, I want to raise awareness about the children in Turkey. Children are the future of the world so they need to be cared for, they should be given rights they deserve and live a prosperous life that they deserve.”

Drake Brown is an 8th grader who lives in Maryland. He talked about the implications of COVID-19 and right to life. Drake focused on domestic violence. “Violence at home or out of the public eye has reached new heights” he said and added “At times like this, children’s rights are so important.” According to Drake, children who are abused at home cannot find someone to tell the incident and it affects their mental health. He also mentioned that COVID-19 causes several educational challenges as well. Due to the lack of access to the internet, COVID-19 will lead to a limited or no education causing children falling behind their peers. Drake also underlined that solving these problems is the schools and government responsibilities.

Last speaker of the panel was Zeynep. She talked about immigrant children, the difficulties that they have to face, and their rights. Zeynep immigrated to Germany because of the discrimination that was enforced by Turkish government on dissidents. As an immigrant child, Zeynep explained the importance of this topic by saying that “In recent years, the number of immigrant children has increased dramatically. It forces us to think again about what their needs, rights are and how we can help.” She discussed the right to education, discrimination, right of children to live with their parents, and safety. She also added “Compared with nonimmigrant children, immigrants face additional physical and mental difficulties—regardless of their country of origin. It is critical that the governments are responsible to support those children. I want the rights of all children to be protected.”