The Netherlands was one of the few Western countries which lacked a children’s ombudsman. The committee twice urged the Netherlands to take steps toward instituting such a post, yet opposition was met by Dutch political parties who claimed there were way too many facilities for children already.
An omdusman is a political official who is specifically appointed to look out for malpractice or wrongdoing on the part of the government. The first time the word was used was in the 1950s, and is of Swedish origin. It means literally ‘legal representative.’
Thus, this person or office serves as the voice or a “go-between” for a specific population within a government. In this case, children who are falling through Dutch political cracks who need someone to stand up for them.
Marc Dullaert, the appointed official, made a splash by introducing the unveiling of the ‘Every child has the right to…” campaign.
The “Every child has a right to…” campaign is a set of videos told by four very brave children in both video trailer and poster formats. These four children tell the story of how they have been infringed upon in the the trailers, which can be seen by clicking here. They are not in English, but it is fairly easy to see what is going on and how the issues are dealt with. Adna subtitled UK version is here.
In America, we have children’s advocates and so forth, but I am amazed at how many people are not aware that there are specific rights that children both have and don’t have. And I know a ton a foster kids who came through my classes who have similar stories to these kids in the videos. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get Anna Le Clerq and Lemon Scented Tea to come here and help our kids too?
Photo credit: studiostoer