2 Oct 2008

THE UK’s four Children’s Commissioners will, on Friday, receive the UN’s verdict on the UK Government’s progress on children’s rights.

THE UK’s four Children’s Commissioners will, on Friday, receive the UN’s verdict on the UK Government’s progress on children’s rights.

The report, to be delivered by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, is expected to say that while the Government has made some progress more could be done.

“We believe the concluding observations by the Committee will show Government has a long way to go to meet the promises it made to children and young people when it signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC),” said Northern Ireland’s Children’s Commissioner, Patricia Lewsley.

“If it was a school report it would say ‘could do better’. Progress has been patchy and there are still too many areas where children do not receive the treatment and services they deserve and indeed have a right to.”

The four UK’s Children’s Commissioners presented more than 100 recommendations to the UN committee in June, highlighting areas where they felt Government was not doing enough.

The Commissioners did highlight a number of areas where Government and devolved administrations have improved children's lives in recent years but more needs to done to fully embed and recognise the UNCRC in UK domestic legislation.

“Our report showed worrying trends in areas such as child poverty, the treatment of young people in the justice system and those seeking asylum, mental health services for children, and the public attitude to young people,” she said.

“I believe the UN report being published on Friday will be an important roadmap Government can follow to make sure all our children and young people can enjoy better protection, better services and a clear set of rights.”

The report by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child is called its Concluding Observations and Recommendations. It has been prepared after papers on the state of children's rights across the UK were submitted and oral evidence delivered by the UK Government, and the Governments of all the devolved administrations, the Children’s Commissioners and non-governmental organisations.

Notes to Editors

The report was available from 2pm on Friday 3rd October, 2008. You can view the report here.

The Four UK Commissioners are:
Professor Sir Al Aynsley-Green [England]
Patricia Lewsley [Northern Ireland]
Kathleen Marshall [Scotland]
Keith Towler [Wales]

The joint statement from the UK Commissioners is as follows:
UN Committee to deliver report on Government’s progress
on children’s rights

Tomorrow (Friday 3 October), the United Nation’s Committee on the Rights of the Child will deliver its verdict on progress made by the UK Government to recognise children’s rights.

The UN report is expected to highlight that more could be done to fully realise children’s rights across the county, even though some areas of positive progress have been made by the Government particularly in recent years.

The four UK’s Children’s Commissioners presented more than 100 recommendations to the UN committee in June, highlighting that despite clear recommendations from the UN in 2002, the Government has some way to keep the promises it made to children and young people when it adopted the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

Speaking on behalf of the four Commissioners, Kathleen Marshall, Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People, said:

“Among the key concerns in our report to the UN were the continuing high levels of child poverty, the treatment of young people in the justice system and those seeking asylum, mental health services for children, and the public attitude to young people. We also said that UK law should better protect children from physical punishment in the home.” she said.

“We believe the UN report being published on Friday will be an important roadmap that Government and devolved administrations can follow to make sure all our children and young people can enjoy better protection and better services which are embodied in a clear set of rights. Progress on implementing the UNCRC has been patchy and there are still too many areas where children do not receive the treatment and services they deserve and indeed have a right to.”

“We will continue to work closely with all partners to ensure that when the UK is called before the UN Committee again in five years’ time, we will be able to report on even more improvements to children rights based on the Committee’s recommendations.”

The Concluding Observations and Recommendations from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child mark the end of its reporting process, which occurs once every five years for countries that have signed up to the UNCRC. The UN report has been prepared after papers on the state of children's rights across the UK were submitted and oral evidence delivered by the UK Government, and the Governments of all the devolved administrations, the Children’s Commissioners and non-governmental organisations and children and young people themselves.