In recent weeks, I’ve been wondering if there is anything my voice can add to the many great, great opinion pieces and efforts linked to the Black Lives Matter campaign…
The wonderful Judith Morgan and Nicola Caincross debate – Using Your Platform and the role of those ‘with a following’ on number #279 of their outstanding podcast, ‘Own It The Podcast’. In the concluding part of their debate, Judith highlights the crucial word that decides – it’s the word ‘should‘. If we feel we ‘should’ be adding our voice (instead of amplifying others’ voices) then we probably shouldn’t.
So, as I sat thinking, after listening to their podcast, processing what the Children for Health platform could usefully do, what popped into my mind is a document that I read at least four times a year. It usually makes me cry. This is weird as it’s a dry document and an old one too, but it is incredibly profound.
It is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). This sets out how we humans want our little humans to be treated. There are accountability measures wrapped around the signatories and it is perhaps significant that the USA is the only country that has not ratified the UNCRC. (Ratification is an act by which a State signifies an agreement to be legally bound by the terms of the Convention.)
I have worked with children living in refugee camps in Ethiopia (Sudanese), Hong Kong (Vietnamese), Kenya (Sudanese), The Yemen (Somali)… with street children in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Romania, South Africa, Vietnam and with children living in very low resource settings in countries all over the world.
I have witnessed the love and support that parents and schools provide for their children in the most dire of settings and the dreadful neglect of children in much much more ‘privileged’ settings.
Inequality is a complex thing.
I abhor unequal treatment and I’ve spent my life and career finding ways to direct resources to making things better for underserved communities and working with those who know their context best, to design the best ways to do that.
So in these times, the UNCRC has once again my reference point and my guiding star.