The Chair of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, Professor Yanghee Lee, joined the Children’s Minister Sarah Teather MP, Save the Children and UNICEF UK on 9 May to explore what must be done to ensure the UK Government fulfils its human rights obligations to children.
The event, chaired by Baroness Walmsley in the House of Lords, attracted parliamentarians, children's rights advocates and practitioners from across the UK to discuss the future of children’s rights.
Speakers from Save the Children and UNICEF set out what needs to be done to strengthen the Government’s implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), focusing on what the UK Government and the devolved administrations must put in place to ensure the realisation of children's rights in the UK.
Professor Lee, in her first official visit to the UK, praised the commitment that UK governments, past and present, had made to the CRC, but noted that slower progress that had been evident in recent years. She urged the Government not to lose its momentum, stating that "upholding children’s rights is the key to a bright future and we must stay on track".
Professor Lee also praised recent developments in Wales which have placed the CRC at the heart of government decision-making, and stressed the importance of children's access to enforceable economic, social and cultural rights.
The Children's Minister emphasised that the coalition Government was "a proud signatory" to the CRC, and expressed her hope that when she eventually leaves Government, the UK's children’s rights record will be better than when she entered it.
The next examination of the UK’s children's rights record by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child will take place in 2014.