Varuh ДЌlovekovih pravic

If you see injustice, use justice!

On the occasion of World Children's Day, which is celebrated on 20 November, the day which marks the adoption of the Declaration and Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Slovenia has prepared a project entitled "If you see injustice, use justice!". The coronavirus pandemic is a special opportunity to put children's rights first. According to UNICEF, it has caused an 'educational crisis', and children are one of the most vulnerable groups due to the measures taken to curb and eliminate the epidemic. UNICEF also notes that the current aggravated health conditions and the consequent shutdown of public life in many countries around the world have exacerbated the existing violations of children's rights.

Kako naj se otroci obrnejo na Varuha in kakšne so njihove pravice

Children's rights and fundamental freedoms are limited by efforts to curb the coronavirus disease. The rights to gather, to associate, to education, to contacts with peers, to quality leisure time, to creativity, to play sports, to participate in the community have all been limited. Therefore, the specific purpose of the project is to offer children the opportunity to reflect upon their meaning and the value that rights have for their lives. It is also important to raise awareness of the procedures available to children if they feel that their rights have been violated.

“With this project, we would like to raise awareness among children and young people, so they understand that they are not only beneficiaries of rights, but can also actively contribute to the realisation of both their own rights and the human rights of others," said Ombudsman Peter Svetina at the launch of the project. He also addressed children and young people in a video, which was distributed to schools across Slovenia together with informative posters (the address is also available on part of the Ombudsman's website for children or on the Ombudsman's YouTube channel.)

In his address, the Ombudsman sent them the message that the unusual times we have all found ourselves in are not easy for anyone. "This unusual time also gives us an opportunity to think about how important human rights really are. Only when they are limited or someone tries to take them away from us can we see that they are not self-evident. They are the result of many years and centuries of struggle. It is not self-evident that you can go to school and exercise your right to education. Not even the right to associate. Unusual times set unusual rules," said Ombudsman Peter Svetina in his address to children and young people.

However, during this period we can also learn to pay more attention to the rights of others; we can help an elderly neighbour or classmate who does not have the same opportunities as us,” adds Ombudsman Svetina, urging young people to write to him or call the toll-free number provided if they detect a violation of their rights or the rights of someone else.