Headlines: March 4th, 2010

Children believe protection from abuse, access to education and being helped to keep alive and well are among the most important rights that all young people should have. But a report today from the Children’s Rights Director for England says they recognise that having rights also brings responsibilities.

In his report ‘Children on rights and responsibilities’, Roger Morgan, sets out views gathered from almost 2,000 children and young people who were living away from home in children’s homes, boarding schools, foster care, residential special schools and further education colleges.

They identified two key rights which are not included in the UK Human Rights Act or the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. These are ‘the right not be bullied’ and ‘the right to keep in touch with parents, grandparents and siblings if both parties want to, regardless of where the child lives’. These were ranked higher than many of the rights that are in the Act and the Convention and those taking part in the survey wanted them to be given force in any new legislation or charter.

The young people also set out nine overarching universal rights – to be safe from harm, to well-being, to be alive and well, to learning and education, to enjoy life, to be oneself, to be treated equally and fairly, to socialise with other people, and to have a say in one’s own life. Mr. Morgan said they recognised, however, that having rights also meant having responsibilities.

“Children and young people have given us a superb analysis of the complicated issues of rights and responsibilities in their contributions for this report. Some children have told us that rights and responsibilities should be linked so that being more responsible should earn more rights,” he said.