The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (United Nations 1989, CRC) is a binding international contract in the framework of the United Nations, and thus obliges legally the ratifying nations – indeed all UN members besides the United States and Somalia – to implement its provisions. This is a mayor milestone to recognise children, i.e. everyone under the age of 18, as citizens with human rights, and consequently responsibilities. Through this convention, children are conceived as subjects of society – like all human beings – and not anymore as mere objects of protection (Verhellen 2000).
Ms. Illario Esposito, member of the Council of Europe Advisory Council on Youth and Trainer in Human Rights Education, first showed a video about the Advisory Council on Youth for the Council of Europe dealing with human rights (see www.coe.int/enter). She explained that In terms of human rights education, the Council of Europe speaks about all the issues that young people are facing today.
Mr. Bogdan Pammer, Youth Director of UPF – Europe, spoke on the issue of how the UPF youth committees around Europe are dealing with these issues. He first quoted the so-called Böckenförde-dictum: “The liberal secular state lives on premises that it cannot itself guarantee”.