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Young people to present their report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in advance of Government scrutiny, 06/10/15 [W]

Three young people from Young Wales, (the children and young people’s participation hub at Children in Wales) are visiting to Geneva on 7 October to meet with representatives from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and to present their report. They come from the Merthyr Tydfil Youth Forum and Voices from Care.

The pre-sessional meeting of the Committee will gather information ahead of next year, when the UK Government (State Party), as a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, must report on how they doing at implementing children’s rights. A separate children’s meeting allows children and young people from across the UK to give their input directly to representatives from the Committee.

The visit will involve an informal get together on 6 October for young people from all four nations of the United Kingdom to meet each other. On 7 October, the young people with them will attend the children’s meeting of the UN Committee.  There will also be a chance to attend the full committee meeting during the day.

The visit will allow the young people to give their views on children’s rights in Wales. The report produced by Young Wales highlights those areas that they want the Committee to question the Governments on.

Young Wales surveyed children and young people about their experiences of rights in Wales. We made recommendations based on our research.

Key issues in the report are:

  • Mental health issues: More support is needed for children and young people who suffer stress, anxiety, depression, self‐harm and other mental health problems.
  • Healthy relationships: Children and young people think there should be more awareness of the help available for those affected by domestic abuse.
  • Bullying and hate crime: More education for teachers, pupils and parents about bullying, including hate crime against protected groups.

Jamie Scriven, Chair of Merthyr Tydfil Youth forum, cabinet and Junior Local Safeguarding Children’s Board (JLSCB) told us about the work happening around rights in the area:

“Children’s rights and a platform to voice opinions remains a priority within Merthyr Tydfil and rightfully so.  The young people hold an authoritative and fully functional youth cabinet. This past year the cabinet sub group (JLSCB) chairperson attended the anti-slavery conference and identified young people as victims and perpetrators of internal trafficking within Wales. Further to our findings is the realisation that a high percentage of young people both victims and perpetrators are unaware they are victims or in fact committing a crime. This lead to the creation of the training DVD and resource, Caught in Traffick. The project was a success and is now a Crown Prosecution Service training resource. However we are concerned that the only training provided from Welsh government will be for practitioners and nothing is currently going to be offered to vulnerable young people who need help identifying the warning signs and dangers of trafficking, child sexual exploitation and modern slavery. Modern slavery is certainly an issue within Wales that we need to protect young people from and educate them about. It’s also certainly an issue around the globe and one I hope to draw further attention to and hopefully prioritise for Wales when meeting with the UN committee. “

Catriona Williams OBE, Chief Executive of Children in Wales said:

‘I am delighted that we are able to support the young people through Young Wales to give their views direct to the Committee. The messages that they are taking are the result of the Work that Young Wales has been involved in since it was established. It is a model of participation that aims to ensure that children from all backgrounds can influence Welsh Government’. Hopefully the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child will agree with the young people and question the State Party representatives on these issues’.

Contact

For more information, please contact Lynne Hill, Policy Director at lynne.hill@chidlreninwales.org.uk or Sean O’neill, Policy Director at sean.oneill@childreninwales.org.uk, or call  02920 342434 or 07721578090.

Notes

  1. Children in Wales is the national umbrella organisation for people who work with children and young people in Wales.  Our core aim is to contribute towards making the UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) a reality in Wales.
  2. Young Wales is a hub for participation of children and young people, funded by the Welsh Government as one strand of Children in Wales’s work under the Children and Families Development Grant.  Children in Wales is the lead partner with Voices from Care, Tros Gynnal Plant, ProMo Cymru, Youth Friendly, Action for Children and Barnardo’s.
  3. Our report, Young Wales report to the United Nations Committee onThe Rights of the Child, can be downloaded from http://www.childreninwales.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/YW-Report-for-UN-Final.pdf