The third International Conference of the Children First

successfully concluded

 

The third international conference of Children First under the title of “Children First, Why and How? A Conference on the Universal Rights of  Children”  was held during 11th and 12th February in Stockholm, Sweden.

Speakers from Iraq, Iran, Belgium, England, Sweden. Italy and United States addressed, discussed and debated a number of issues concerning children. The conference opened, on both days, with observing one-minute silence in commemoration of the victims of the Asian Tsunami.

During the conference proceedings a comprehensive and wide ranging issues covering the daily struggle of street children for survival across the world with special references to street children in Iran and Baghdad and Suleymaineh in Iraq, the plight of children in Iranian jails, the situation of children in Belgium and the migrant child labourer in Italy and the USA, the banning of religious schools and prohibition of Islamic veil for children were addressed and discussed. The conference also while expressing its sympathy with the victims of the Asian Tsunami and the last year’s Bam earthquake in Iran highlighted the vulnerability and the special needs of the children in the effected zones. A round of discussions and debates around the content of the UN’s “Convention on Children’s Rights” took place and the “Declaration of Universal Rights of Children” drafted by the Children First was presented to the conference. 

Two days of discussions and presentations by 21 speakers, a range of artistic and cultural programmes including music, films, poetry reciting and a social evening in solidarity with children, shared by tens of enthusiastic children’s rights activists and advocates, provided a rich and fulfilling experience for participants and organisers alike.

This conference was a major step forward in developing and establishing a clear vision and understanding of the issues surrounding children’s rights and building and reinforcing an international network of radical activists in the field of the defending children’s rights. The conference also reaffirmed its commitment to promoting children’s rights and instigate changes to advance the plights of children. Day one of the conference was conducted in English and Swedish and the second day was conducted in Farsi and Kurdish. In the course of the proceedings on both days, sessions of question and answer and discussions took place, with participants engaging in constructive debates and exchanging comments and views.

Unfortunately a number of guest speakers and participants from Africa and Asia were, mainly due to difficulties in obtaining Visas to Sweden or exit permission from their countries, not able to join us and the conference was deprived from their contributions.

During the course of the conference the news of the arrest warrant served on the secretary of the “Association of Defending the Children Rights” in Iran was announced. A call by the Children First to mobilise international support and solidarity with the Secretary of  “Association of Defending the Children Rights” was warmly received by the speakers and the participants and offers and commitments to support the campaign of the Children First in this regard were made.

The news of the conference, before, during and after the conference, was widely reflected in the Farsi speaking and the Swedish media and attracted considerable amount attention.

The text of the speeches, presentations and the video and the photos of the conference will shortly be posted on our website.

 

Children First – Central Office

February 14, 2005

 

Contacts:

Children First, International Campaign For children's Rights
Main Office:
Chair Person, Soraya Shahabi
CF, BM Box 2592
London WC1N3XX
England

Tel: 44-798 134 3101
E-mails: childrenfirstinternational@yahoo.ca
soraya_shahabi@yahoo.com
Web;  www.childrenfirstinternational.org

Sweden:

Tel: 70 444 15 78-46

Fax:46 - 8-590 737 99
www.barnenforst.se