Opening speech to the second conference of Cf

By Soraya Shahabi

I would like to welcome all. Special welcome and thanks to the speakers for being here today. I am honoured to open the second conference of Children First. Being a part of any effort to make a difference in the life and the situation of even one child, is honourable and I am proud to be a part of this effort.

Before announcing the programme and the agenda of our conference, I would like to talk about a brief history of our conferences. Last September, we held our first conference.  

What brought up the idea of running annual conferences,  was to honour a great person.  Last summer we lost Mansour Hekmat, the initiator of children first. He passed away last summer and we found the annual conferences on children rights could be a way to honour this great thinker and activist of children’s rights and human rights all over the world. Since then, children first added the annual conferences to it’s agenda and activities.  

 The theme of the last conference was the Freedom and future of children. You can find more details about it by visiting our web site. Today we are holding the second conference and I would like to explain about our conferences and the missions of Children First. 

Our organization and conferences are open to all activists, NGOs, organizations and whoever wants to act for children’s rights.  We support all activities and campaigns run by other NGOs that are working for Children’s rights and human rights. We support all who care about the faith of children in our society. They can become members and/or activists of CF. But we have our own mission to do. Which I do believe is very progressive, very child focused and very minimalist. Our vision says:

“The way a society treats its children is the most telling testimony to its humanity and liberty. Children must come first, above any national, economic, political, ideological, religious and cultural considerations and interests.”We do not recognise any geographical, political, national, ethnic, cultural and religious barriers and boundaries to our defence of the rights of children. We see children’s rights as universal.”

 This statement and framework allows us to focus on children’s needs and their direct interest. We do not compromise and sacrifice the need and the rights of any child in any circumstance. There is no excuse to tolerate child abuse in any form either from the state or the family.

 This is why we call ourselves Children First. Children must come first, above any national, economic, political, ideological, religious and cultural considerations

 Welcome to our conference

The present conference is about the welfare and security of children. The voice of street children, the voice of struggle to end child poverty, the voice of protecting children from abuse by religion!

This conference highlights the voice of war-stricken children in Iraq! It is a gathering of activists who are fighting to defend children’s rights and bring happiness, security and a better life for all children of the world.

 During the conference we shall have Speeches, photo exhibition, film, slide show, play, music and a solidarity evening with the children in Iraq. The conference is held in 5 languages; English, Swedish, Farsi, Kurdish and Arabic.  

The language for the first day will be in English and Swedish. Tomorrow we are going to hear Farsi and Kurdish speakers’ speech. We shall also have time during the 2 days of the conference to hear YOUR comments, views and discussions.  

In addition, tonight we will have a solidarity evening with the children in Iraq, We hope we can raise funds for children in Iraq. Please DO come tonight. I’m sure you will have a nice time. Remember it is for a very urgent and good cause.  

 Once again I would like to thank you all for coming.