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Fondazione Marista per la Solidarietà Internazionale (FMSI)



UN looks to Chile through the eyes of their children

24/02/2015: Switzerland

The FMSI office in Geneva received the Chilean delegation coming to participate in the Pre-Session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child of the United Nations. Countries that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child must submit a report every 5 years, explaining the progress they have made for its application. Chile ratified the Convention 25 years ago and the last report was produced in 2012. To challenge the view of the state organizations, civil society can present their own "shadow reports". With these elements, the Committee on the Rights of the Child (a group of 18 experts from around the world) evaluates the status of "State Party" and poses recommendations.

After hearing the presentation by Chile, on behalf of FMSI Cono Sur, we coordinated with other organizations and drafted a report highlighting aspects, such as structural and legislative reforms childhood, inequality and discrimination, education, health, violence. During the first week of February, there was a session in Geneva where civil society reports were presented. We were present, along with three other Chilean coalitions.

On Monday 2 February, an informal meeting was held at the offices of FMSI with Sara Oviedo, one of the two Latin Americans currently serving on the Committee. The four teenagers, who came in the delegation of Chile, had the opportunity to   share what it means to represent the voices of many children and young people of their country.

On Tuesday 3 February, all Committee members received the teenagers at the headquarters of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Then, we had two hours for the official session in which representatives of the coalitions released the findings and recommendations of our reports. An interesting dialogue with the Committee followed. They raised questions, asked for clarification on some points to better understand the situation, and asked for answers from the State.

On Wednesday 4 February, the Permanent Mission of Chile received the entire national delegation. Marta Maurás, Ambassador to the International Organizations in Geneva, offered this space for the topics we discussed at the meeting with the Committee, their reactions and the next steps we could take. He also involved Hai Kyung Jun, UNICEF Representative in Chile, who accompanied him at the meeting with the Committee.

On Thursday 5 February, we met with Child Right Connect and delegations from several of these countries, sharing the process that we followed and best practices that we can replicate. It is shocking how such diverse and distant countries may have similar situations.

The guarantee of the rights of children remains an outstanding challenge in Latin America and in the world.

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