On 23 and 24 October 2019, the Monegasque High Commissioner for the Protection of Rights, Liberties and for Mediation took part in a joint conference held by the Association des Ombudsmans et Médiateurs de la Francophonie (AOMF, Association of Ombudsmen and Mediators of La Francophonie) and the Assemblée Parlementaire de la Francophonie (APF, Parliamentary Assembly of La Francophonie) in Rabat (Morocco) to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.* The theme for the conference was: “Children’s Rights: A Priority for Parliamentarians and Mediators from La Francophonie”.
The two-day event was organised with support from the International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF) and the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission, who were also represented at the conference. It brought together more than 20 mediation and ombudsman bodies, as well as members of both upper and lower houses of parliament from across the French-speaking world to consider the following topics:
- Taking children’s best interests into account: the role of national institutions
- The right to be heard
- The child as a user of public services (education, health, social policies, etc.)
- Making the French-speaking world a global leader in ensuring that no children are left without an identity
A number of joint workshops were held throughout the two days, aimed at proactively highlighting the priority measures that ombudsmen and parliamentarians need to take in order to make real progress on children’s rights within the French-speaking world.
At the invitation of the Mediator for the Kingdom of Morocco, Anne Eastwood moderated a session on promoting equality between boys and girls. Among other things, this provided an opportunity to discuss the very recent Recommendation CM/Rec(2019)1 of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers on preventing and combating sexism. Adopted in March 2019, the Recommendation provides, for the first time, a definition and a framework for combatting, at the international level, those activities which shape perceptions and social norms relating to gender and thereby act as structural obstacles to gender equality within our societies.
Following this meeting, AOMF members unanimously adopted the Rabat Declaration, committing to take decisive action at their level to protect and promote children’s best interests, and invited states to build their capacities in this area. This echoes the resolution that Francophone ministers are preparing to adopt as part of the 36th IOF Ministerial Conference taking place on 30 and 31 October 2019 in the Principality, which seeks to strengthen government action to protect children’s rights.
Please click here to read the Rabat Declaration (in French).
On the eve of the conference, on 22 October, Anne Eastwood participated as an elected member for the Europe region in a meeting of the AOMF Executive Board, during which she shared the Office of the Monegasque High Commissioner’s offer to host the next meeting of the AOMF’s governing bodies in Monaco in 2020, the fiftieth anniversary year of the International Organisation of La Francophonie.
* Anne Eastwood was accompanied on this trip by her deputy, Cécile Vacarie-Bernard.