Västarvet's work with children's rights
In all the activities that Västarvet carries out, we shall work for democracy and human rights and follow the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). We asked Västarvet's museum educator and ombudsman for children's rights, Ida Lagnander, just how it is applied in practice.
"The school is probably round and perhaps blue and maybe the playground is on the roof. We might have animals in the school"
The quotation comes from a pamphlet about the cultural heritage of schools, where pupils were invited to share their thoughts and ideas about schools in the future. The pamphlet was a collaboration between Västarvet and Mark municipality when the municipality was producing its new cultural environment programme.
"I think this is a nice example of how children's right to participate and communicate their views is fulfilled. It is tied in with Article 13 of the convention on children's rights, about their freedom of opinion and right to express their views," says Ida Lagnander.
The right to art and culture
Ida Lagnander is a member of the Västarvet group on human rights, which focuses especially on the rights of the child and links between the UNCRC and Västarvet's activities and exhibitions. Among other examples of good practice she mentions the school holiday activities organised at the museums of Lödöse, Gothenburg Natural History, Forsviks Bruk and Vitlycke. They can be linked to Article 31 of the UNCRC for children to participate freely in cultural activities.
"Then we have all the school programmes we organise which run every day. They fulfil Article 17 on children's right to information with a cultural value," says Ida Lagnander.
Disseminating the UNCRC
Västarvet exhibitions that fulfil the rights in the UNCRC include "!nanni's drawing book" at Vänersborg museum, where stories from children in the nineteenth century are told, and the exhibition "Can do it myself" organised by Ida Lagnander for children aged 0-2. Ida Lagnander says that she hands out the Convention on the Rights of the Child to all parents who visit the exhibition with their children.
"It is important. We have an obligation to spread information on the Convention under Article 42."
Children's knowledge is valuable
She believes that although we have made some progress in highlighting the rights of the child, there is a general problem in society that children's rights are not given enough publicity.
"The biggest problem is that we miss a huge amount of information and knowledge that children have. If we asked them directly, in many situations it would be good for everyone," she says.
ABOUT THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
The Convention on the Rights of the Child is a legally binding international agreement which establishes that children are individuals with their own rights.
The best interests of the child and the child's right to influence are two of the basic principles which run through the whole convention. The other two basic principles are that no child shall be discriminated against and that every child has the right to life and development. In total the Convention has 54 articles.
The child convention, or the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as it is formally called, was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 20 November 1989 and is part of international law.