ACEI Sponsors Christina Joseph, U.S. Child Advisory to UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

The Association for Childhood Education International, a member of the international network Child Rights Connect, is pleased to be a supporting organization for Christina Joseph, a Child Advisor selected from the United States as part of the Child Rights Connect Children’s Advisory Team. Christina is a hard-working, engaged young person who is passionate about helping children, with a special interest in the education of children around the world. These qualities were recognized by her acceptance to the team. She will be traveling to Geneva, Switzerland, from 26 to 30 September 2018, to participate with her colleagues on the Children’s Advisory Team during Day of General Discussion activities.

Learn more about the Day of General Discussion, Children as Human Rights Defenders, and Christina below.

About the Day of General Discussion

Every two years, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, an independent body of experts that monitors and reports on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) by governments who have ratified the Convention, holds a Day of General Discussion (DGD). The DGD meetings are an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the contents and implications of the CRC. This year, the Day of General Discussion will take place onFriday, 28 September. Read more about the DGD at the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner website.

Children as Human Rights Defenders

The 2018 DGD theme is “Protecting and Empowering Children as Human Rights Defenders.” The DGD will be a long-term project informed by children’s views around the world from a formal children’s advisory team.

Children’s Advisory Team

The Children’s Advisory Team was set up by Child Rights Connect, an independent, non-profit network of over 80 national, regional, and international organizations working for the rights of children. There are 20 Child Advisors on the team, from 19 countries, representing all regions of the world. Read more about child participation at the Day of General Discussion at the Child Rights Connect website.

An Interview with Christina Joseph

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Tell us about yourself. Where do you live and where do you go to school?

My name is Christina Joseph and I am a rising senior in high school. I live in Glenview, which is right outside Chicago, Illinois. I attended John Hersey High School (Arlington Heights) until my sophomore year and transferred to Glenbrook South High School (Glenview) as a junior and will finish my senior year there. 

What are your interests?

Some of my interests include playing badminton competitively, spending time with my family, reading, and volunteering at church. I love being involved with children and I volunteer to teach kids of all ages every Sunday at church.

What activities are you involved in at school?

I’m the captain of my school’s varsity badminton team and am part of an Indian dance group.  I am also a member of the National Honor Society and was part of the symphonic orchestra.

What issues in your community are you concerned about?

One of the pressing issues concerning my community and nation is the increase of public and school shootings. These are risks that could affect anyone at any given time, so I feel it is necessary to take a stand and put an end to it. Students don’t need to be afraid in a place where they should feel the safest. Another issue that plagues my country today is the current U.S. administration’s zero tolerance policy. As an immigrant and a member of a first-generation family, this issue hits close to home. Innocent children have been forcibly separated from their parents. Over a thousand kids are still being held in government-controlled facilities and this is a gross demonstration of our country deepening the problems in our society. 

Why was it important for you to be a part of the Day of General Discussion Children's Advisory Team?

The DGD Child Advisory Team allows me to use the DGD as a platform to voice the issues that persist in my country. I want to be able to fight for the people around me and let their voices be heard. Participating as an advisor allows me to shed light on the challenges faced by children all around the globe and share these challenges with the people around me. To be an advisor on the Children’s Advisory Team has been an amazing blessing and opportunity to stand for what I believe in and truly make a difference in my community.

What do you hope to accomplish during the DGD?

During the DGD, I want to learn about the  everyday struggles of children in every country in the world. The media doesn’t always show the issues that persist in every country so this DGD will be a time for all of us to come together and discuss the issues that deeply affect children. The DGD will be an opportunity to broaden my perspective of the world and connect with various child human rights defenders. By forming close relationships with the children at the discussion, we will be able to stand together and speak out about the challenges that face our world. 

 How might you use your experience to create change in your community and nation?

I want to be able to take this experience and all that I have learned throughout this entire year to bring a real difference to my community. Since I live in a developed country, I feel like many people tend to forget that there are underprivileged people in this world. Our world is slowly turning a blind eye toward those who desperately need us. I want to show those people that we need to stop complaining about the petty parts of life; there are more important things than our day-to-day lives and it’s our duty as privileged people to help those who don’t have the same opportunities. I want to be able to show those around me and our entire nation that we cannot stand down now. It’s time to stand firm in what we believe in and help our government  to do the same. 

Christina interviewed her friends about human rights and how they view themselves as defenders of human rights. You can watch the video here