What to do
Ask the group what they know about the UN Convention on Children’s Rights. Briefly explain that it is a document that has been signed by almost all countries in the world, stating rights that are specific for all people under the age of 18.
Ask the group to get into pairs and hand out the blank paper to every pair. Show them the diamond shape (appendix 2) and ask the participants to copy this shape onto their piece of paper.
Hand out the list of rights and ask them to read through it. In their pairs, they should discuss the rights and consider how relevant each one is to achieve peace in the world. They should then arrange them in a diamond pattern in order of importance. They should write the most important right at the top of the diamond. Underneath it, they should write the two next most important statements side by side. Underneath these, they should write out the next three statements of moderate importance. The fourth row should have two less important rights and on the fifth row the right they believe is least important.
When they are done, they should find another pair, compare their diamond rankings and find a compromise to come up with one diamond that all four agree on.
Once they are done, they can meet another group of four and compare their rankings once again. If you have time, you can ask them to discuss and compromise once again. If not, just let them compare.
- How was it?
- Was it difficult to decide on the most important and least important right for peace?
- How do the results compare?
- What are the similarities and differences between your rankings?
Point out that there is no right or wrong ranking, but that people’s priorities are different depending on their backgrounds and experiences. Here, it might also be useful to introduce the principles of human rights: that they apply to everyone everywhere; they all have the same status so there is not one that is more important than others; violating one leads to the violation of others, and fulfilling one requires the fulfillment of other rights (universality, inalienability, indivisibility, interrelatedness and interdependence).
Finish by asking the group:
- Do you think that it is important for a peaceful society to have rights that are specifically for children? Why?
- Are these rights respected where you live?
- What needs to change so they are respected?
- What could you do for this?
- Would you like to add any rights that you think would be important to achieve peace?
Tips for facilitators
It might be useful to start with an activity introducing the concept of rights or children’s rights more generally.
This activity is an adaptation of ‘Children’s Rights’, taken from ‘Compass: A Manual on Human Rights Education with Young People’ (Council of Europe, 2014)