Creating a fairer Britain
The Convention is a universally agreed set of human rights standards which the UK government ratified in 1991. The Convention sets out these rights in 54 articles and two Optional Protocols. These include basic human rights such as the right to survival; to develop to the fullest; to protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation; and to participate fully in family, cultural and social life. All children aged 18 and under are protected under the Convention in the UK.
However this important Convention has not yet been incorporated into British law.
The UK government has ratified the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and filed its first report on 6 June 2011 under that Optional Protocol. This report is available here for download.
The government has also withdrawn its reservations under articles 22 (protection of rights for refugee children) and 37 (c) (separating children in custody from adult prisoners).
The UK government has to report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on its progress on meeting the expectations of this treaty. The UK's most recent report was considered during the Committee's 49th Session held on 23-24 September 2008. In response to the UK's findings, the Commission produced a 'shadow' report which assesses how well we are doing in Britain at protecting children's rights. It called on the government to fully implement the Convention by ratifiying all protocols, which it has now done.
Other concerns highlighted in our report were:
The UK will have to report to the UN Committee again in 2014 when the Commission will again be using its powers as a UN accredited National Human Rights Institute to assess the UK government's progress.
An Optional Protocol to allow complaints has now been approved by the Human Rights Council and it is going to the UN General Assembly in September 2011 for approval. The expectation is that member states will be asked to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol by June 2012.
In Wales the Rights of Children and Young Persons Measure imposes a duty on Welsh Ministers and the First Minister to have due regard to the rights and obligations in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and its Optional Protocols, when making decisions of a strategic nature about how to exercise functions which are exercisable by them. The proposed Measure also makes related provisions about:
Download our reports to find out more:
Find out more about the work of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child