Does campaigning work?
At Unicef, we’ve done more to influence laws and policies to protect children than anyone else – we know that campaigning can make a difference.
Earlier this year, the UK Government announced that the UK will sign the Safe Schools Declaration – a political commitment which protects schools, students and teacher from attack in areas affected by conflict. We have been calling for the Government to sign up to the declaration since the run up to the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016, and thanks to the support of over 170,000 members of the public, ambassadors, business leaders, and hundreds of schools across the UK we are delighted to see that this change has been achieved for children. With this declaration in place, not only does this send a clear message out to Governments about the importance of education in emergencies, but also more children affected by war will be able to learn and play in safety.
What are we
And how can you get involved?
Protecting children from toxic air
You can’t see it but in the UK there is a dangerous threat to children’s health: toxic air. One in three children are growing up in parts of the UK with hazardous levels of toxic air, which has a devastating impact on their health.
Babies and young children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of toxic air because their bodies are in critical stages of development yet the harmful levels of air pollution in the UK are predicted to remain for another decade.
Current national action on toxic air lacks ambition and direction, leaving children at risk of serious harm. The government admits that toxic levels of pollution are likely to continue for another decade, but there is no plan to protect children in the meantime. Without specific commitment and funding to reduce children’s exposure to harmful pollutants, they remain dangerously vulnerable.
Until healthy air quality levels are reached across the UK, the government has a responsibility to protect children from the harmful effects of toxic air. That’s why we’re calling on them to:
- Commit to targets that reduce toxic air in the UK to the legal levels recommended by the World Health Organisation.
- Create a national action plan across UK Government Departments, including those with responsibility for the environment, health and transport.
- Set up a Little Lungs Fund for Local Authorities to pay for changes to keep children safe from toxic air where they live, learn and play.
Add your name today and show the Government that we all care about every child’s breath under threat.
Reuniting refugee children with their families
Around the world, whole communities are on the move and children are the worst affected. Right now, children are being forced to make dangerous journeys to Europe to reach their family in the UK.
We have been calling on the UK Government to change the definition of family within the UK’s refugee family reunion law to allow unaccompanied children to safely join their parents, grandparents, adult siblings, aunts and uncles in the UK, rather than making these dangerous journeys to reach Europe.
There has been progress, and the Government has committed to negotiate with the EU to remain in Dublin III after Brexit. However, while we welcome a negotiating position, we still do not have safe and legal routes for refugee children to join their family in the UK. The UK can easily fix this by amending the Immigration Rules – a simple change to UK law – rather than needing to wait for the EU.
We’re continuing to work with the Government to make this change.