by Rachel Thomas
Published: 05 Nov 2019
Rachel Thomas is Head of Policy and Public Affairs for the Children's Commissioner for Wales. The Commissioner's job is to tell people why children's rights are so important and to look at how the decisions made by public bodies in Wales, including Welsh Government, affect children’s rights. Rachel tells us about how she will use our new human rights tracker.
The work of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales is required by law to be done with regard to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
The UNCRC therefore influences and pervades all of our work and the methods of engagement and awareness raising we employ to reach out to children across Wales.
Alongside the other UK Children’s Commissioners, we are closely involved in the reporting cycle for the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, including arranging observation visits for the rapporteur, providing written reports and attending the scrutiny sessions in Geneva.
We closely monitor the Concluding Observations from this committee and this autumn we’ll be publishing a report on the UK’s progress against the 2016 observations, together with our UK counterparts.
It can be harder for us to remain up to date
When it comes to the other ratified UN conventions, however, whilst we understand the reporting process, it can be harder for us to remain up to date on progress against each Convention, when we are not so closely involved and engaged in the reporting cycle.
In addition, it can be difficult to find reliable and up to date information online that we can use in tracking the progress of the Concluding Observations for other Conventions.
Making information accessible
The launch of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s human rights tracker will greatly help us to access reliable information all in one place. I can see this quickly becoming a ‘go to’ tool for our policy and communications teams in doing so.
In particular, we will be using it to cross reference facilities of the tracker, to trace topics or themes and the range of Concluding Observations related to these from across the reporting cycles.
It will add weight to our influencing work
Crucially, it will add weight to our influencing work at Welsh Government and UK Government levels, and enable us to hold the Governments to closer account in a cross cutting way.
As work progresses in Wales to consider how best to give effect to the range of treaty obligations that the UK has signed up to, we see HumanRightsTracker.com as an influential tool to direct the Welsh Government as to the key priorities from each of the Conventions and ensure that issues are responded to across Government rather than by distinct departments.
We were pleased to be consulted in the development of this work and look forward to using it in practice.
See for yourself
The human rights tracker is an online tool to help you track how well the UK is putting its human rights duties into practice. Find out how we monitor human rights, which international standards the UK has to meet, and search the UN’s most recent recommendations.