By Thomas Nybo and Maya Dollarhide
EDINBURGH, Scotland, 8 July 2005 ? A select group of children from Bhutan, Cambodia, Moldova, Yemen, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Lesotho and Bolivia and their counterparts from Russia, France, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom are heading home after attending UNICEF?s first-ever children?s summit, the C8 Children?s Forum, held in Dunblane and Edinburgh. The event preceded the G8 summit of industrialized nations in nearby Gleneagles, currently in session.
The participants - all between the ages of eleven and eighteen - drafted a set of recommendations for G8 leaders. These recommendations were written on behalf of the world?s millions of children and adolescents to demand their rights be respected.
?We?ve shared experiences, discussions, problems, and we?ve found solutions to give to the G8,? said Lorenzo Cusullo, 16, from Italy.
Among the recommendations was the call for all countries to implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to end poverty, to protect children from violence, and to ensure that all children have the opportunity to receive a free, quality education.
Earlier in the week the children spent time with Scottish First Minister Jack McConnell, who assured them that the G8 leaders would be made aware of their concerns.
In addition to drafting the recommendations, the young participants spent the three-day conference engaging in discussions and debate about the toughest challenges facing children today, including conflict, lack of education, and the spread of HIV/AIDS. At the launch of summit the young people met Scottish actor and UNICEF UK Goodwill Ambassador Ewan McGregor and, on 6 July, they appeared at the Live 8 concert, where they were treated to musical performances by U2 frontman Bono, James Brown, and Bob Geldof.
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