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08 May 2023 by lbigmr

Project launch: Being a child in times of crisis

The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights and the Human Rights Space put the voices and rights of young people at the centre in their joint research project.

Children and adolescents in Austria are confronted with multiple crises due to the overlap and interaction of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ukraine war, the worsening consequences of climate change as well as the sharp increase in costs of living. These crises lead to an increase in psychological and physical stress among young people. The project “Being a Child in Times of Crisis – Views, Experiences and the Children’s Right to Participation” puts a spotlight on the voices and rights of young people (from the age of 10) from different social backgrounds.

The aim of the joint project of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights (LBI-GMR) and the Human Rights Space is to raise children’s and adolescent’s awareness of child and fundamental rights. Furthermore, it wants to provide a safe space where they can share their experiences, concerns and needs in the current times of crisis. The project also supports young people in developing their own ideas and concrete measures in the form of “action plans”. Eventually the participants will have the chance to discuss how these plans can then be implemented with relevant stakeholders such as educators, parents, civil society actors and political representatives.

To achieve these goals, the children and adolescents will participate in a three-part workshop series. The first workshop offers them an introduction to child and human rights and they learn what significance these can have for their lives. The second workshop focuses on the concerns and needs of children and adolescents. Here, the question of the (lack of) protection of their rights in times of crisis takes a prominent role. The last workshop in the series offers the participants the space to develop the mentioned action plans. In doing so, they are supported by the project team and once again receive information on the relevant political structures and decision-makers who are ultimately responsible for implementing these plans.

The project team consists of Hauke Benjes-Pitcz (project leader) and Stephen Rabenlehner (both LBI-GMR) as well as Katharina Schuller (project leader) and Julia Eminger (both Human Rights Space). They are supported by the scientific advisory board and child rights expert Helmut Sax (LBI-GMR).

The project is funded by the Open Innovation in Science Center (OIS) of the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft (LBG) and will run from April 2023 to December 2023. The workshops with the children and adolescents will be held in the Human Rights Space.

The project ends with a report and a scientific publication. The children and adolescents who participated in the project will have the opportunity to continue their involvement in the Human Rights Space and to be integrated into the EU project CARES after the current project has ended.

a. vltr: Julia Eminger, Helmut Sax, Katharina Schuller, Hauke Benjes-Pitcz, Stephen Rabenlehner ©LBI-GMR