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Global Network of Independent Human Rights Institutions for Children

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A clay model representing diversity, created by some of the children at San Rossore
The Global Network of Independent Human Rights Institutions for Children was created in 2002 as a global forum for exchanging ideas, practices and initiatives that encourage the work of those defending children's rights. From the beginning of this process, the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre has played an instrumental role acting as the Secretariat of the Global Network of Independent Human Rights Institutions for Children.This role enables the Centre to build partnerships with institutions that can support the research by providing data, information and advice, as well as ensure relevance and enhanced impact of research findings.

The First Global Meeting of Independent Human Rights Institutions for Children, supported by UNICEF IRC, was carried out in New York on the eve of the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children in May 2002. The joint statement issued during the meeting contributed to shaping the agenda ahead. Paragraph 31 of 'A World Fit for Children', the outcome document of the Session, recognizes the role of ombuds in the protection and promotion of the rights of the child.

The Second Global Meeting took place on the occasion of the Five Year Review of the Special Session on Children, held in December 2007 in New York. The event was attended by several government ministers and high-level officials, including the Chairperson of the Committee on the Rights of the Child and one of UNICEF's former Deputy Executive Directors. A preparatory meeting of representatives from all regions forming the Global Network Board attended a meeting hosted by IRC late in November 2007. Participants gathered to share experiences and plan for a strategic contribution to the Five-year Review of the Special Session on Children.

UNICEF IRC has also promoted the creation of regional networks, and supported the strengthening of those already existing. The Centre works closely with the European network of ombudspersons for children (ENOC). In November 2007, UNICEF IRC, along with the Regional Office, supported the launch of the Ibero-American Network for the Defense of Children's and Adolescents' Rights in Lima, Perú, on the occasion of the annual meeting of the Ibero-American Ombudsman Federation (FIO), and with the support of IRC. Eleven Ombudsmen signed the "Lima Declaration" which recognizes that the situation of "millions of children and adolescents is still marked by poverty, marginalization, social exclusion, violence and exploitation", and committed to work together on behalf of children's rights in the Latin American region.