Who are Child Human Rights Defenders (CHRDs)?
Introduction to CHRDs
Who are human rights defenders (HRDs)?
Article 1 of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders states: “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels.”
HRDs globally are acting in a variety of contexts and countries, on many different human rights issues and through various types of action – whether online or offline, individually or as part of a group. What unites them is their main purpose to protect and promote human rights.
Who are CHRDs?
According to the United Nations, all children taking any kind of action to promote and protect human rights, including children’s rights, are defenders, even if they or others use another terminology (i.e. actors of change, child advocates/activists, agents of transformation, etc.).
The agreed definition in the Implementation Guide on the Rights of CHRDs is:
Children who take actions to promote, protect and fulfil human rights, including children’s rights, are human rights defenders, even if they do not see themselves as such, or are not considered and called as such by others.
What is the situation of CHRDs?
CHRDs not only have the same rights as adult defenders, but the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) expands some of these rights taking into account children’s distinctive social context. Children experience specific and additional challenges and violations when acting as human rights defenders because of their status in society, lack of political power, lack of voting rights and dependence on parents/guardians. Some children may face even more barriers based on their gender, ability, ethnicity, culture or because where they live.
You can find out more about the situation of CHRDs in the: