Already more than two years ago, Dr. Benyam Dawit Mezmur agreed to be interviewed for this volume of the The International Journal of Children’s Rights, but when and where to meet was not so easy. Then suddenly we were both speaking at the same International Seminar on 21 May 2016 at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Poland to the United Nations in Geneva.

Ambassador Piotr Stachańczyk was kind enough to give us his room and for two hours we dropped out of the Seminar. As soon as we started talking I was impressed by Dr. Mezmur’s intelligence and it soon became clear soon to me that I was meeting someone who really has a vision on children’s rights. Of course, you would hope that a person who at the time was the Chair of the un Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva and combined this with being the Chair of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child in Addis Ababa, will have such qualifications. But now this is really the case and I thought even, ‘this is top notch’. One thing I observed: after achieving the important positions of Chairperson of two important committees, he had not become blasé. At the small International Seminar at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Poland to the United Nations in Geneva on the Polish Jewish Pioneer on Children’s Human Rights, Janusz Korczak (1878–1942),2 there were not more than 40 people (including some members of the crc Committee) and it was a Saturday and an exceptionally hot day. Many participants left in
the course of the afternoon, but not Dr. Mezmur. He stayed until the end. I also found it striking how he started our meeting when he wanted first to talk about the importance of The International Journal of Children’s Rights.

Read the full article: An African and International Perspective on Children’s Rights (.pdf, 240kb)