ENOC and ENYA: Rights across Europe

Commissioner Bruce Adamson is the Chair of ENOC

The Commissioner is currently chair of ENOC, the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children.

Bruce stepped into the role following the ENOC Annual Conference in November 2020, which our office ran on the theme of Child Rights Impact Assessments.


ENOC is a network which includes Children’s Commissioners and Children’s Ombudspersons, who all promote and protect children’s rights as laid out in the UNCRC. There are representatives from 34 member countries who come together to share information and strategies.

As a member of the Network we take part in an annual programme that includes seminars, an annual conference, position papers and participation.


Adults in power often make decisions that affect people― such as laws and policies. When they do this, they don’t always think about the impact these decisions will have on children and young people.

A Children’s Rights Impact Assessment, or CRIA,is a way to include children and young people in a decision. It looks at the ways the decision might affect the rights of children and young people― both positively and negatively.

By doing this, it means people know what the effect of the decision on children and young people is likely to be.

What was agreed at the 2020 ENOC Conference?

Each year, ENOC releases a position statement on the children’s rights topic discussed at its conference. In 2020, that was Child Rights Impact Assessments.

These statements make recommendations to States and other authorities across Europe on how rights can be better respected for the children and young people within the countries ENOC represents.

2020’s statement covered Children’s Rights Impact Assessments (CRIAs) and Children’s Rights Impact Evaluation processes (CRIEs).

It made five recommendations:

  1. Require CRIAs and CRIEs to be conducted on law, policy, budgetary, and other administrative decisions to embed a child rights perspective.
  2. Ensure that the rights of individual children and groups of children to be heard and participate in the process are fulfilled when CRIA and CRIE are undertaken.
  3. Take all necessary steps to ensure that adequate resources, and other general measures for implementing children’s rights, are in place to support CRIA and CRIE processes.
  4. Ensure CRIA and CRIE processes are transparent, support better accountability for decisions made and indicate the extent to which children have influenced those decisions.
  5. Develop and expand knowledge and understanding on CRIA and CRIE processes.

An image of young people on the stage at the ENOC conference.

How are young people involved with ENOC?

Each year ENOC members choose an issue affecting children’s rights which they think needs special attention and consideration. Their objective is to explore the issue at adult and young people’s levels and to compare findings. The young people involved are part of ENYA, the European Network of Young Advisers.

The purpose of ENYA is to actively involve young people in ENOC’s annual work and to give them the opportunity to be heard at a European level. Scottish young people have been involved in ENYA for a number of years.

Our office supports ENYA, as it allows young people to:

  • express their concerns and points of views regarding their rights,
  • make their proposals heard, and
  • participate in drawing up common recommendations.

This year countries involved in ENYA included Spain (three regions), Malta, Slovakia, Greece, Cyprus, Sweden, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Norway, Jersey and Montenegro.

ENYA in 2021

In 2021, our ENYA group of Young Advisers will be working on this year’s theme of COVID-19: Learning for the future, and representing Scotland within the wider ENYA Network.

ENYA in 2020

In 2020, ENYA was involved in work on the ENOC theme of Child Rights Impact Assessments, with LGBTIQ+ rights as the topic. We supported a group of young people in Scotland to take part, who worked on the topic from March through to November.

ENYA’s recommendations on Child Rights Impact Assessments

  1. States should make Children’s Rights Impact Assessments mandatory and raise awareness of them.
  2. Children’s Rights Impact Assessments must be based on a broad range of articles and up-to-date, relevant statistics, and child-friendly information must be provided.
  3. Children and young people must be involved in Children’s Rights Impact Assessments and Children’s Rights Impact Evaluations (CRIEs).
  4. Young people must be educated about children’s right, including Children’s Rights Impact Assessments.
  5. Adults must be educated about the UNCRC and Children’s Rights Impact Assessments.
  6. Adults need to respect children’s opinions and be open-minded.
  7. Children’s Commissioners and Ombudspersons should play a role in CRIAs.
  8. There need to be consequences if a CRIA is missing, not used or incomplete.

ENYA’s recommendations on child participation in decision making

  1. States need to improve access to participation for all children and young people.
  2. Participation should be on children and young people’s terms.
  3. Provide information and education for young people.
  4. Adults should be educated and made aware of children’s rights to meaningful participation.
  5. Create digital platforms for participation.
  6. Have more youth-led participation.
  7. Voting rights for young people should be assessed in different countries.

The ENYA Forum

Each year, young people from across Europe meet at an event called the ENYA Forum. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, this year the Forum took place online over the weekend of the 3rd and 4th of October.

Our group sent two delegates to the Forum― Jonathan and Hope. They took part in workshops and discussions with other young delegates from several different countries.

By the end of the Forum, the young delegates agreed a list of recommendations around Children’s Rights Impact Assessments, which will feed into the position statement ENOC is writing.

ENYA in recent years