The Queen is interviewed in connection with the World Child & Youth Forum
The Queen during the World Child & Youth Forum 2010. Photo: royalcourt.se
On Thursday 17 November, the second World Child & Youth Forum (WCYF) was held at the Royal Palace of Stockholm. The WCYF was founded at the initiative of the Royal Family in 2010. The Queen gave an interview ahead of the WCYF.
What does Your Royal Highness hope the WCYF will stand for in ten years' time? I hope that the WCYF will exist in several countries. It is important to spread knowledge about the issues relating to the rights of children and young people. In ten years' time, I hope that children's rights will be a natural feature of our society. Children should know that they have rights, that they have the right to support and education, rights over their own bodies, the right to be listened to and the right to say what they think. When did Your Royal Highness first start taking an interest in the rights of children and young people? Was there a particular event that started things off? When I was just a child I spent a long time thinking about how unfair life was, that certain children — such as myself — were well off while other children lived on the street. In Brazil, where I grew up, there were lots of children who were forced to help support their families from far too young an age. I tried to do what I could to help. When I was about ten or eleven years old, I had a little "school" for lots of the children, and I tried to teach them to read and write. I've always been committed to children's rights. Your Royal Highness has helped to found two organisations that help children and young people, Childhood and Mentor. How does Your Royal Highness think views of the rights of children and young people have changed during the intervening years? There's been a tremendous difference. It used to be almost taboo to talk about these issues. It's much easier now. Both Childhood and Mentor dare to address difficult issues about children's vulnerability and drugs. Not many people used to talk about these issues. But today it's a little easier, and there are also many brave children and young people who are prepared to stand up and tell their stories. That's important. What kind of difference does Your Royal Highness hope the WCYF can make? The WCYF is not a political arena. Instead, it's a neutral platform where experts, adults and children can come together, discuss issues and forge new contacts. The WCYF should be a discussion platform for ensuring a focus on these issues relating to children and young people. It's that simple. I hope it will be a constructive day, where many of those who are working towards the same goals make new contacts. I hope that the guests will get a positive and constructive feeling, that we can all help to make a difference. You can read an interview with The Crown Princess about the WCYF 2011 here. Visit the WCYF website here.