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Amnesty Youth Conference Report

Date Posted: Wednesday 11 December 2019

On Wednesday 30 November, a group of inspired and passionate Ashford School students travelled to London to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Human Rights of the Child. Topics of the day included the cost of gaining British Citizenship, gender equality and a campaign to end the AIDS crisis by 2030. Below is an account of the day, as written by a Sixth Former who attended the event.

The Amnesty Youth Conference was held at the Human Rights’ Action Centre on the 20th November 2019 and led by the Children’s Human Rights Network. The day started out with refreshments. There was a board on which we had to write issues relating to Children’s Rights that we need to address and we had to vote for the ideas which we felt the most strongly about. Afterwards, we moved to the auditorium where we enjoyed a Kahoot on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and had a brief discussion on the UNCRC. After that we listened to and questioned a panel consisting of incredible Youth Activists:

  • Katrina Lambert, an active campaigner for Youth for Change focusing on gender equality, gender-based violence and youth voice. She is the youngest person ever to present evidence to the UN Committee Against Torture in Geneva.
  • Revati Campbell, the convener of the Scottish Youth Parliament’s Equality and Human Rights committee.
  • Henry Scott, climate activist heading media for UK Student Climate network
  • Molly Pugh-Jones, South England Co-ordinator for Youth Stop Aids (YSA), an organisation working to end AIDS by 2030.

Then we had the choice of various practical skills sessions: Layomi went for the digital campaigning session, where he learnt how to use digital tools, like social media platforms, to get your voice heard and rally support for any campaign you’re fighting for. Henry spoke about tricks on how to use social media apps like Instagram to get your message heard, like posting popular hashtags, knowing the right time to post a picture, the best things to post in order to captivate the audience etc.

Chloe and Ms Ball went to a creative workshop where they had to make and paint a wall for the Children’s Rights Network to take to the Home Office on Monday November 25th. The aim was to raise awareness of the fact that children have to pay over £1,000 for British Citizenship, even though the actual processing cost is only £372, so this is a barrier for children from poorer families or in care.

Hiba and Hester joined a Mojo activity: Mojo stands for mobile journalism. The workshop provided them with the skills to use their own Mojo filming kit and showed them how to ask interview questions under the spotlight. Hiba and Hester asked intriguing and complex questions to produce a role play interview with another group of students. Mobile journalism was a fun learning experience with many interesting ideas discussed.

After the sessions we devoured some delicious pizza! Then we had creative sessions where we broke out into groups to talk about how to tackle issues relating to Children’s Rights, such as child marriage. So, we played a game called Evil Genius in which we had to think of the worst things we could do to make governments listen to us and then adapt these ideas to realistic activities which we could actually do.

Then we went outside while holding Amnesty International placards and took some pictures to celebrate the UNCRC’s 30th Anniversary. We watched some clips from Children’s Rights Activists in Geneva and a video to commemorate this year being the International Year of Indigenous Languages. We ended the afternoon with delicious 30th anniversary cake, bought some souvenirs and headed home after a really inspiring day.