Child rights

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Young Ambassadors Take on the Challenge of Tackling Childhood Statelessness

#StatelessKids Youth Congress  was held in Brussels on 11-13 July 2016 in the organisation of the European Network on Statelessness (ENS). Praxis has been a member of ENS since its foundation. The congress was attended by Ivanka Kostić, Praxis Executive Director.

It was the first youth congress dealing with the issue of statelessness, which brought together 35 young people, as well as experts in this field, from Spain, Portugal, Poland, Albania, Switzerland, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Belgium, Cyprus, Germany, Slovenia, Macedonia and Serbia. The congress took place at the premises of Maastricht University in Brussels.

One month before the congress, ENS launched a campaign entitled #StаtеlеssKids with the aim to draw attention of the European countries to the urgent need of preventing childhood statelessness in their countries. ENS pointed to the fact that most stateless children in the European countries were born in Europe, and that many of them would not have been without citizenship if the countries had applied the measures of protection envisaged by international law. The campaign also stressed the fact that over one half of the European countries had failed to fulfil these obligations, thus depriving thousands of children of the right to citizenship. The European Network on Statelessness set an ambitious goal to eradicate statelessness in Europe within one generation, strongly believing that it has the necessary strength to achieve this goal. Thus, besides ENS, which has 103 members from 39 European countries, 35 young ambassadors will play an important role in achieving this goal. ENS firmly believes in the potential of young people to influence changes in society, as proven by many previous human rights initiatives.

At the congress, ENS spoke about the phenomenon and definition of statelessness and how it affected the life of children. The young ambassadors also received instructions, information and practical advice on the possible ways of getting involved in the campaign #StаtеlеssKids. During the training session, they practiced how to explain to others, in less than 90 seconds, that every child was entitled to citizenship, what statelessness was and why its eradication was important. They had the opportunity to hear how they could influence policies in their countries, decision-makers and how to advocate for the application of protective measures envisaged by international law. They also learned about various strategic approaches and possibilities of communication through film, media and social networks.

Two young ambassadors from Serbia, Ivana Radojković and Dijana Dačković, were among the congress participants.

"These were three amazing days, with many new acquaintances, enjoying the chocolate and charms of Brussels, and most importantly, we had the opportunity to expand our knowledge at the excellent lectures of experts and to discuss the problem that Europe needs to take seriously and finally implement the right measures and solve the problem of statelessness among children“. (Dijana Dačković)

"The whole event was marked by intense and interesting work, as well as the excellent energy of wonderful young people from all over Europe, ready to take part in resolving the problem of statelessness, which is a serious but solvable issue. The congress has enabled us to acquire precisely the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively promote the campaign "No Child Should be Stateless" and thus contribute to the process of eradicating statelessness in Europe." (Ivana Radojković)

Read more about #StatelessKids Youth Congress and a visit to the European Parliament at this link

Sign the petition for preventing childhood statelessness here.   

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Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action