This January sees the UK submitting its fifth periodic report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child outlining the progress over the last 5 years the UK has made in meeting its obligations to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The UNCRC is an excellent piece of child specific global legislation that almost all nations worldwide agree on and that our government is accountable to. It covers over 40 rights looking at child survival, development, wellbeing and participation and several articles specifically address child neglect and abuse: see here for more detail
Previous recommendations from the last UK report in 2008 included prohibiting as a matter of priority all corporal punishment in the family and intensifying efforts to collect data on the extent of sexual exploitation. We haven’t made much headway in the former but have made good progress in the latter as evidenced by ‘If only someone had listened’ from the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, whose very existence in England is actually directly attributable to the UNCRC.
This report also comes just a year before 2015: the line in the sand for the Millennium Development Goals established in 2000 and discussion has been fervent – what comes beyond 2015? There are calls for adequate attention to child protection on a global scale to be a key component post 2015 – Surely a most marvellous way to put some of the key articles of the UNCRC front and centre and make safeguarding children (and their rights) a global priority?
– Michelle Cutland