17 March 2011

The Deputy Minister for Children in Wales Huw Lewis hailed today as an historic day for children’s rights as Wales became the first country to make the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child (CRC) part of its domestic law.

The Rights of Children and Young Persons (Wales) Measure has been approved by Her Majesty in Council and has now become a part of Welsh law.

The Measure contains a number of provisions that will strengthen and build on the existing rights based approach of the Welsh Assembly Government towards policy for children and young people ages 0-25, and also strengthen children and young people’s position in Welsh society.

Huw Lewis said: “This is a ground breaking Measure and places Wales ahead of the UK in making the UNCRC part of its domestic law. Once again this shows our ongoing commitment to children and young people.

“This Law cuts across every policy area and in doing so will make a positive change to the way in which all support and services for children and young people in Wales will be designed and delivered in the future.

“By having a greater emphasis on their rights through our policies and legislation children and young people will be in a stronger position to achieve their full potential and contribute to the social and economic prosperity of Wales.”

Anita Tiessen, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF UK, said: “Today is a proud day for Wales. UNICEF UK is delighted that the Rights of Children and Young Persons (Wales) Measure has been given Royal Approval. This new law putting children’s rights at the heart of all Welsh policy and practice sets the bar high for the rest of the UK.

“Although there is still work to be done to ensure children’s rights are a reality for every child, this is a significant step. We look forward to supporting the Welsh Assembly Government to ensure that the Measure achieves real change for children and young people in Wales."

Keith Towler, Children’s Commissioner for Wales, added: “This is indeed a landmark piece of legislation, which has cross party political support in Cardiff Bay. We should be very proud that Wales and its Government are leading the way yet again in securing children and young people’s rightful place as full citizens of our nation. We must now ensure this legislation makes a practical, positive difference to children and young people's lives.”

The full Measure can be accessed on the Welsh Aseembly website (pdf).

Pupils from Hafod Primary School in Swansea. © Howard Davies 2009
Pupils from Hafod Primary School in Swansea, a UNICEF Rights Respecting School. © Howard Davies 2009