KidsRights is a proud contributor to the first United Nations (UN) Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law, on the role of youth in public decision-making, which took place on November 21 and 22. Together with KidsRights Youngster Chaeli Mycroft (22), the UN and partner organizations, KidsRights emphasized the right of youth to contribute to human rights and sustainable development.
KidsRights joined the Forum to enable young changemakers to discuss their roles in public decision-making. KidsRights assisted ability activist Chaeli to make a powerful appeal for inclusion at the opening of the Forum. Chaeli was born with cerebral palsy, through which the  function  of  her  arms  and  legs  is  limited. She underscored the importance to counter the systemic discrimination against young people with disabilities: “We cannot underestimate the power of stigma in limiting growth.” As principal solution, Chaeli emphasized the importance of education about disability to increase understanding.
Turning to the government of South Africa, she specifically underscored the urgent need for inclusive education. “I applaud the South African government for making the commitment of getting all children with disabilities in school by 2021. I call upon the government to secure the urgent realization of this commitment with an effective implementation plan, budget allocation to support proper implementation, and infrastructure for meaningful participation of people with disabilities, not only in education but in all aspects of life.”
To further stimulate the active role of youth at the Forum, KidsRights joined forces with Amnesty International, CIVICUS, Defence for Children International and World Vision, organizing the conference event ‘Widening Space by Young Human Rights Defenders’. This live-streamed event provided a powerful platform to young changemakers contributing to the environment, indigenous peoples’ rights and girls’ rights in Colombia, Australia and Sierra Leone. They explained their local realities and expressed their power as changemakers, protecting and promoting human rights.
In her closing remarks, Chaeli stressed the importance of joining forces with family, friends and her co-activists like The KidsRights Youngsters. “I can’t change society’s understanding of disability on my own. We need everybody to get involved in creating an inclusive society.”