Global Campus, EU and UNICEF together to celebrate the World Children’s Day at the National University of Timor Leste
On 21 November 2019, as part of the Global Campus EU-funded capacity building project for the development of human rights education at the National University of Timor Leste (UNTL) a special event was organized at the premises of the new Human Rights Center (HRC) in Dili, together with the Delegation of the EU and UNICEF office, celebrating the World Children’s Day and the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
The anniversary of the landmark convention adopted by the UN General Assembly on November 20, 1989, was an occasion for a simulating exchange with a group of engaged UNTL students and their professors, led by Ms. Valerie Taton (UNICEF’s Representative in Timor Leste), Mr. Alexandre Zafirriou (Political Counsellor at the EU Delegation) and Mr. Antonio Gomez (UNICEF Communication Officer). The event was chaired by Prof. Bernardo I. Leto, the Vice-Dean of Students Affairs at the UNTL Faculty of Social Sciences, and a member of the UNTL professors team select for the human rights "Studies & Training Programme" led by the Global Campus.
The event was opened by Ms. Taton, who elaborated on the importance of the Convention, as well as the concept of the rights of the child globally and locally. Mr. Zafirriou pointed out the rights of the child as a priority of the EU’s external action policy and cooperation endeavours, with the two most important challenges for the year 2019: empowering children with disabilities and children deprived of childcare. Mr. Gomez provided a much informative overview on the situation of the rights of the child in Timor Leste, elaborating on individual rights and reiterating the need for a global instrument to protect civil, political and socio-economic rights of the child. The students also had an opportunity to watch 2 informational videos about the rights of the child by the EU and UNICEF, as well as two of the highly emotional videos produced by the GC Alumni to celebrate the anniversary of the CRC.
The presentations were followed by a lively debate with the students, who showed vivid interest in the topic. The enthusiasm expressed by future professionals in areas like public administration, public policy and community development is highly encouraging given the fact that, although Timor Leste ratified the CRC in 2003, the country still has a lot to do in combating child malnutrition, deficiencies in the educational sector, as well as widespread violence against children.
This special event was organized as part of HRC’s bi-weekly "Human Rights Talks" marking UN International Days, which provide UNTL students with an opportunity to learn about and discuss relevant topics with representatives of local and international institutions.