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Marieke Hopman

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25 november 2018

Update: sharing our research results in Cyprus, part 4

25 november 2018 | By | No Comments

Dear all,

Please note that this message comes with a few weeks delay because unfortunately after writing this, I accidentally left my laptop at Istanbul airport, and only got it back today…

I (Marieke) am writing to you from Istanbul airport, on my way back to Maastricht. Over the past weeks we have been in Cyprus to share our research results. The most important goal was to make sure that our findings were brought to the attention of those for whom it could be of use, and to hopefully start a discussion about the rights of children living in northern Cyprus. Did we succeed?

In some sense we did. In total, we had meetings at 7 different embassies and consulates, all MPs in the TRNC parliament received a copy of the report, we shared our findings with different ministries, with 3 NGOs and with the EU and the UN. The research appeared in 3 different newspapers and on the radio.

Ambre presenting the research findings to international students who have children in the TRNC

Ambre presenting the research findings to international students who have children in the TRNC

The audience: a large group of international student-parents!

The audience: a large group of international student-parents!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We ended our trip with two events which we organized. First, Ambra presented the research findings to a group of international students. We discussed what rights their children have, and how they can(not) access their rights. There was a very powerful discussion after the presentation. Lastly, we ended our trip with a presentation of the results in the Home for Cooperation, in the UN buffer zone. The event was very well attended and again there was a lot of discussion. It was great to notice that people attended the presentation from both sides (north and south), and that the audience was very diverse.

Marieke presenting the research in the Home for Cooperation

Marieke presenting the research in the Home for Cooperation

Emine Çolak, former minister of foreign affairs: "The research gives us new glasses. To not look at the conflict first, but first at the rights of children."

Emine Çolak, former minister of foreign affairs: “The research gives us new glasses. To not look at the conflict first, but first at the rights of children.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will it make a difference? Now, of course, it is up to the people in northern Cyprus to do something with the research. They can decide to use it to claim their rights, or to organize better care for their children. They could try and do something about the persistent discrimination happening on both sides of the island. We already saw some people sharing the report on social media and sharing what they learned. We will see whether they follow up, since now it is in their hands.

Can coming to throw a bucket of water after me

Can coming to throw a bucket of water after me

On the last day, I saw our friend Can, whom I gave the last Turkish research reports, to distribute after we left. When I was back in the car and driving away, suddenly Can showed up, carrying a bucket. “It is a Turkish Cypriot tradition,” he said, “when someone leaves on a long journey, to throw water at them, so that they may come back.” And so I drove away, with the sound of water splashing behind me in the street.

Marieke Hopman

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19 mei 2016

In gesprek met kinderen over kinderrechten

19 mei 2016 | By | One Comment

Yesterday I gave a lecture (mostly a conversation really) for children about children’s rights. It was so great! Some of the children had prepared an exposition about children’s rights. One of the important questions we discussed was: what is the meaning of children’s legal rights for your daily life? It turned out that if adults (parents, teachers) do not realize these rights they are virtually non-existent. Because it is parents and teachers who decide directly over children. So a legal right to play and leisure does not mean much if your parents say you have to work all day.

In relation to adults and decision making, the children said they wanted to be heard, trusted and taken seriously more by adults.

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After we discussed the child’s right to education. One of the questions we discussed was whether homeschooling respects the child’s right to education. Most children agreed that homeschooling should not be the choice of the parent only, but children should have a say. The children who were in school, said they would miss their friends and that they think the social side of school (learning social skills and relations) is an important part of education. Then one boy spoke up, who said that sometimes school education in a big group is not possible because of a child’s disabilities. The children agreed that in that case, home education might be a good idea but it would be even better if you could for example use a webcam in the classroom so that the child can also still be a part of the social process. This one boy then admitted that he is in fact being currently homeschooled and furthermore he admitted that indeed, for a long time he did not have any friends and now he had only one.

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It was so amazing and brave of this boy to share his experiences – but in fact, it was of all children. They were all so great, open and respectful and sharing their thoughts and experiences. It was a really wonderful and inspiring evening. And in the end they came up and asked me for a signature! :)

The children’s rights exposition can also be seen during the presentation of my research report “what children have a right to education?”, about children’s rights to education in the Netherlands, with a special focus on homeschooling, children out of school and Roma children. If you would like to attend the presentation, please send an email to m.j.hopman@uvt.nl.