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* UNCRC 21

The children have made a special 21st key key at lunchtimes from scrap material. At an assembly on Friday they showed the key that they were working on and asked everyone to think of their own special Birthday wishes for the UNCRC over the weekend with their families, so the could put it inside the key for the future.

Luke said that he wished for "every child to have a family."Charlotte said she wished "Every child in the world could go to school (Article 28.)" Holly wished that "All children would be able to have a say in matters that affect them (Art 12.)" and James -probably with his love of football in mind- wished that "All children could have their right to play (article 31)." What would your wish be?

Part of the School Council's role is to promote Children's Rights, and they tend to use any opportunity to do this. We celebrated, the signing, ratification and implementation of the UNCRC in the UK, along with Human Rights Days, Persons with Disability Day, World Teachers Day.... any excuse to talk about Rights and get the children and their families thinking.

We took the Key down to the Senedd one day and some of the AM's kindly agreed to have their photo with it.

Below are the Birthday wishes that we have received for Children's Rights these include:-

~ The Children's Commissioner for Wales
UNICEF UK
Gwenda Thomas AM The Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services
Mark Drakeford AM
Rhodri Morgan
Leighton Andrews AM Minister for Education and Skills
~ Christine Chapman AM Children & young People Scrutiny Committee
Patricia Lewsley – Mooney Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People
~ Prof Laura Lundy
~Cllr Julia Magill
~Save the Children
~Action for Children
~United Nations Association Wales
~UNA Cardiff and District Branch
~Prof Michael Freeman
~Miss Allen our headteacher
~Cardiff Healthy Schools

We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who kindly responded to the children's request and shared their Birthday wish with us.

 

The Children's Commissioner for Wales.

“We’ve been lucky here in Wales – we were the first country in the UK to appoint a Children’s Commissioner to promote and protect children’s rights, we were the first country in the UK whose Government decided to base all its policies and guidance on the UNCRC and we’re the first country in the UK to make the UNCRC a part of the country’s law. These significant developments over the last 21 years have meant that more and more children and young people are aware of and can enjoy their rights here in Wales. We should be proud that we live in a country which actively respects and promotes the UNCRC.” Keith Towler, Children’s Commissioner for Wales

Children’s Commissioner for Wales’ wish for children’s rights in Wales:

“Sadly, some people still think that children don’t need rights. It’s our job to make sure people in Wales think about and look after children’s rights. I want to see Wales as a country where every child and young person knows about and understands the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).” Keith Towler

 

UNICEF is the world’s leading organisation focusing on children and child rights, with a presence in more than 190 countries and territories. They work with local communities, partners and governments to ensure every child’s rights to survive and thrive are upheld.

UNICEF UK raises funds for UNICEF’s emergency and development work around the world. In 2011 they raised £95 million for UNICEF’s work with children worldwide, including over £48 million to help children caught in emergencies.

They also advocate for lasting change for children. UNICEF UK’s Public Affairs team works with Parliament to change government policies and practices that are detrimental to child rights in the UK and internationally. UNICEF is the only organisation specifically named in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as a source of expert assistance and advice on which governments can call. They are responsible for holding governments to account for the rights of children and run the Rights Respecting School's scheme. Millbank is currently the only Rights Respecting School in Cardiff, we hope that more schools will take part.

Sarah Hooke (pictured on the left of this photo)is the UNICEF Professional Adviser for Wales, Rights Respecting Schools.

"I am very proud of the achievements that we have made in Wales through the Rights Respecting Schools Award and wish for the future that all children in Wales are able to learn about their rights and by enjoying them they can reach their full potential."

Dragan Nastic (pictured on the right of the photo above) is UNICEF UK's Domestic Policy and Research Officer and he offered two wishes:


" I wish that smacking to be banned; and secondly that the UK to sign and then ratify the Third Optional Protocol to the UNCRC

He also gave us some quotes that he liked:

Sarah Teather MP (then Minister of State for Children and Families), 2012:
“This Government is a proud signatory of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), is committed to its implementation, and believes it is vital that children and young people have a strong, independent advocate to champion their interests and views and promote their rights”

Gwenda Thomas:
“Wales has become the first UK nation to embed the convention on the Rights of the Child in law. A lot of work is being done to back up our belief that every child in Wales should be entitled to a good start in life and the best possible chances to grow up free from poverty and harm.”

Prof. Yanghee Lee, Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, London, 2010:
“UK is one of the most powerful leaders in the world. Commensurate to its global position, the Committee ‘raises the bar’, so to speak. It is my hope that the UK will continue to raise the bar so that other countries can learn and follow. Also:
“Although there have been many positive developments since 2008, there are some areas that the Committee remains concerned. I am concerned that there is still no systematic awareness-raising about the Convention and that the CRC is still not a part of the training of all those who work most closely with and for children here. Nor is it incorporated in the school curriculum – although there is the exciting UNICEF rights-respecting schools initiative”

 

LEIGHTON ANDREWS AM Minister for Education and Skills

My top priorities in education are to improve the literacy and numeracy of all children. I believe every child in Wales should be taught in good schools and by the best teachers and ensure we close the gap in deprivation of learning.

'I want every child in Wales to be given all the opportunities and support they need to achieve their best in school and for children to be able to access their rights in all schools.'

 

Gwenda Thomas AM The Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services.

The Welsh Government 'Since 1992 we have come a long way in Wales. Children's Rights are embedded into domestic law, we have a scheme in place to ensure that Welsh Ministers have considered children's rights and we also celebrate anniversaries that promote these rights. But this is a never ending journey and there is still a long way to go'. 


'I believe that every child in Wales is important. They should be entitled to the best start in life, the best possible chance to grow up free from poverty, harm and with the support they need to reach their potential'.

MARK DRAKEFORD AM is our local Assembly Member you can see when the children visited the polling station during his election and when he addressed the school ahead of Democracy day 2011 to tell the children about the importance of being an elected representative.

"I wish that very child in Wales has the right to play a full part in shaping their own future.’"

RHODRI MORGAN

Rhodri Morgan used to the the AM and before that the MP for Cardiff West. He is best known as the being the First Minister of the Welsh Government from which he retired in 2009. You can see when he called in to Millbank to help uspromote Fairtrade in 2011. He still works to promote the UNCRC and was praised at the UNICEF report launch in November for being such a driving force in establishing Children's Rights into law in Wales.

'I am very proud of the fact that Wales became the first country in Britain to put the UNCRC Convention into our laws, as almost the first thing we did after the Welsh Assembly got the right to pass laws. That is a measure of how important we in Wales think children's rights are.'

The National Assembly for Wales is the democratically elected body that represents the interests of Wales and its people, makes laws for Wales, and holds the Welsh Government to account.

The Children and Young People Committee is there to consider issues affecting children in Wales. "the Committee examined the expenditure, administration and policy of the Welsh Assembly Government and associated public bodies and consider reports of the Children's Commissioner for Wales." Christine Chapman AM is the chair of the committee  .

The UNCRC categorically prohibits the physical punishment of children. My wish would be that we remove the defence of “reasonable chastisement” which allows parents to smack their children, to bring us in line with the spirit of the UNCRC. Importantly, this would give children the same defence from assault under the law that we give to adults.

Northern Ireland was the 2nd UK devolved administration to have a Children’s Commissioner who looks after the rights and best interests of Children and Young People.

Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Patricia Lewsley – Mooney said: "The office was set up here in 2004 and since then there have been huge developments in the recognition of children’s rights in services such as Education, Health and Transport. Indeed each Government Department in the Northern Ireland Executive now has a ‘Children’s Champion’ who I work closely with to ensure that each department is delivering for children and young people here."

“My wish for the future of Children’s rights in Northern Ireland and throughout the UK is that every decision that is taken by Government is done so after considering its impact on children and young people.

“I hope that EVERY public organisation which provides a service to children and young people delivers and develops these services meeting the needs and respecting the rights of children and young people.

“I hope that Courts ALWAYS seek and actively listen to what children have to say, and that children with disabilities ALWAYS get every opportunity to learn effectively and move from school to further education, training or employment,

“I hope that Health Trusts ALWAYS makes sure every child and young person is protected from harm, and that the police ALWAYS see’s the life of the child behind alleged crime,

”Ultimately, I hope and wish that every child and young person’s rights are respected all of the time”

 

Prof Laura Lundy is a leading figure in Children's Rights and a co- author of the recent report. Which was launched on 21 November 2012 by UNICEF UK at the National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff. The report looks at how countries beyond the UK implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), to compile evidence of the most effective and impactful ways of embedding children's rights into domestic law and policy.

My wish is

" ....that governments everywhere  seek  children's views and then take them seriously. If they do that, it  will help them keep all their other UNCRC promises about  things that are important such as education and health and play."

If that is already covered ( and I am sure plenty of people will focus on Article 12), I  will head to my roots and wish that:

" Article 28 is achievable in all countries that signed the UNCRC and that every child can enjoy their education in safely."

 

Cardiff County Councillor Julia Magill, was elected to represent the people in the ward of Llanishen. She is also the cabinet member responsible for Education & Lifelong Learning including Libraries in Cardiff. She met some of the children at the Healthy Schools Award presentation and said "I think it's important to listen to the views of young people so I particularly like article 12 of the UNCRC so my wish is that

“Every child in the world gets to have a say what they think about anything that affects them, and that their views are considered and taken seriously.”

 

Save the Children works in 120 countries. "We save children’s lives. We fight for their rights. We help them fulfil their potential." 

They are very active in Wales and we have been very lucky to have children learn about the UNCRC from Save the Children.

"When the UK government signed the UNCRC it made a commitment to incorporate children rights into every day UK law so that young people living in the UK could realise their rights in their day to day life.

There is still much to be done but the UNCRC has led to some positive changes, for example.

~ Children’s rights to be protected and have their best wishes put first.
~ To have their views and wishes heard is part of UK law under the Children Act.
~ To make complaints in their own right.
~ Children in prison are no longer held with adult prisoners.
~ Many more people have now heard of the UNCRC and children’s rights.

Wales was the first to have a Children’s Commissioner but now all areas of the UK have them – independent adults who will champion children’s rights.

In Wales the UNCRC has led to Article 12 – children’s participation and the duty on local authorities to make sure that every school and community have a school council and a youth forum and to Article 32 – the right to play – where every local area has to make sure all children have access to good play facilities.

There is also a brand new law in Wales – the Rights of Children and Young Persons Measure which means that the Welsh Government have to show respect and consideration of children’s rights every time they make a new law or policy.

Our Wish for the would be that

"The UK Government would put the UNCRC into a law so that all children in the UK can enjoy their full rights."

Brigitte Gater, Operational Director of Children’s Services, at Action for Children said:

“Over the past 21 years, people have become more aware of children’s rights and how important they are.  Action for Children works hard to make sure children in the UK are protected, listened to and respected. Since 2011, we have had a law in Wales which says our government has to think about children’s rights when making its decisions. There is still a long way to go until all children have everything they need to reach their potential, and so children’s rights are just as important today as they were 21 years ago.”


" Action for Children wishes for all children to be protected, listened to and respected, and to have everything they need to reach their potential. "

The United Nations Association Wales (UNA Wales) supports the UN’s vision of a world that is peaceful, just and sustainable and in which human rights are fully respected.

UNA activists form the campaigning and advocacy backbone of the Welsh Centre for International Affairs (WCIA)’s work. As with UNA bodies throughout the world, UNA Wales is a voluntary membership organisation and is completely independent of the UN system.

Chris Thompson the Education and Engagement Officer at UNA Wales said,

"UNA Wales aims to promote informed debate on international issues, including the UN system itself. Our mission is to work to secure public and governmental support for the ideals of the United Nations and its agencies through campaigning, organising events and supporting the Association's local branches. At a time of continuing inequalities within and between nations, this work is more important than ever."

“The United Nations Association of Wales’s wish is that the United Kingdom, which is currently in second last place of 30 developed OECD nations in the UNICEF’s index of child well-being, to become the most child-happy place in the world.”

UNA Cardiff and District Branch is part of UNA-Wales and is affiliated to UNA-UK. UNA supports the work of the United Nations but but like UNA Wales is independent of it. 

"UNA campaigns and educates to make the ideals of the UN a reality. Those ideals were summed up by Ex-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in his Millennium Report as a world free from want, free from fear, and with a sustainable future. At a time when our world is characterised by gross inequalities within and between nations, and the UN Charter itself is threatened by unilateral actions of member states, this work is more important than ever." One of the ways they hope to do this is through educating young people about the UN.

Prof. Robin Attfield Chairman of the Cardiff and District Branch of the UNA said that his wish would be that,

"No child goes hungry in Wales."

 

Prof Michael Freeman recently retired from the University College London and is another hugely important figure in the field of children's Human Rights. He has publish a huge amount of literature on children's Rights. So we were delighted that he took the time to reply

"I wish for a world in which no child is smacked."

Miss Allen our headteacher.

"As a teacher I would wish that every child should be able to use their Right
to go to school (Article 28) to develop all their talents and abilities (Article 29) . It's also very important that everyone understands the benefits that education can bring."

The Cardiff Healthy Schools team do a huge amount of work with our local schools to promote and protect the health and wellbeing of children and young people. Their wish is…..

"We want children to be treated fairly and have a voice that is heard so that they can enjoy their childhood and grow into happy and secure adults."

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child are additional Human Rights specifically for the needs of children. These rights are based on what a child needs to survive, grow, participate and fulfil their potential. They apply equally to every child, regardless of who they are, or where they are from.

The UNCRC took over 10 years to put together. On 20 November 1989, the governments represented at the General Assembly of the United Nations (which included the UK) agreed to adopt the Convention into international law. The UK government signed the Convention on 19 April 1990, Parliament ratified it on 16 December 1991 (with several declarations and reservations about bits they did not want to agree to) & it came into force on 15 January 1992. So this year - 2013 it'll be 21 years since the UNCRC actually came into force in the whole of the UK. "Whilst all laws, policies and practices that relate to children must be compatible with the rights in the UNCRC the UNCRC has still not been directly incorporated into UK law and this leaves gaps in the protection of rights for children in the UK."

The Rights of Children and Young people (Wales) measure 2011 places a duty on the Welsh Ministers (including the First Minister) to have regard to the UNCRC. We celebrated that when it partly came into force last year, and next year will applywhen they are exercising any of their functions. It includes a duty on Welsh Ministers to take appropriate steps to promote knowledge and understanding of the UNCRC amongst the public, including children. We can see that this happened when the Welsh Government's Transport Minister Carl Sargeant came into Millbank to launch the Active Travel Bill for Wales. Before the bill was placed before the Welsh Assembly they did a littlereport on how the bill would impact on Children and young people's rights in Wales.

The infants love making Maximouse the little Rights MOUSE'cots from their milk bottles. And as they chat away about the children's right that they want the little banner to carry they hardly realise that they are learning about Rights. Classes, library, tuckshops have Charters instead of rules. And we have high expectations of our School Council who act as Rights Leaders promoting the UNCRC along with our Children's Commissioner Ambassadors.

Each week we try and include a Right of the week in the parent's newsletter to try and spread the word that families and especially important in the UNCRC. And we try and explain a little bit about some of the many activities that the children are involved in, so parents can better support their child's learning.

 


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