Raising awareness of children's rights

Article 42 of the UNCRC: What does the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child say?

State Parties should undertake to make the principles and provisions of the Convention widely known, by appropriate and active means, to adults and children alike.

Rights are of little use to individuals unless individuals are aware of them. Article 42 confirms the obligation of States Parties to make the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child known “by appropriate and active means” to adults and children.

Governments must take responsibility to:

  • Develop a comprehensive strategy for disseminating knowledge of the Convention throughout society.
  • Disseminate the UNCRC among children, parents, civil society, and all sectors and levels of government, including initiatives to reach vulnerable groups.
  • Ensure that principles and provision of the UNCRC are incorporated into all professional training curricula and codes of conduct or regulations. Professionals such as: public officials, teachers, law enforcement officials, police, immigration officers, judges, lawyers, medical doctors, health workers etc.
  • Children and young people should be involved in raising awareness of the UNCRC.
  • Translate the UNCRC into all languages including the minority languages of the country.
  • Make the UNCRC accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Translate the UNCRC into child friendly language.
  • Launch a media campaign to advertise the UNCRC and children's rights.
  • Ensure that the public and professionals have access to information on the progress (or lack of) made on the Concluding Observations.

UNCRC monitoring and reporting process 2008

As part of the reporting process, Funky Dragon's 'Our rights: our story'. reported that only 8% of young people had been taught about the UNCRC in school. In addition to this a scoping study undertaken by Save the Children in 2007 also revealed that across the professions there was uncertainty about what is meant by children's rights and only a limited number of professionals had received training or delivered training on children's rights.

The Welsh Assembly Government has acknowledged that there is a need to support training and resource development, catering to all professionals working with children and young people and that it is important to ensure that awareness is raised of the UNCRC and it is promoted to a wide range of audiences including children and young people in a variety of formats.

Since the reporting process there have been some positive developments in Wales:

  • The Welsh Assembly Government has disseminated the Concluding Observations (both adult and children and young people friendly versions) and convened a conference in partnership with the Wales UNCRC Monitoring Group in March 2009 to develop awareness, understanding and dialogue in relation to the new Concluding Observations 2008.
  • Through a Welsh Assembly Government Children and Families Grant, Save the Children has received some funding to develop children's rights resources and support training.
  • Save the Children have produced a children's rights health leaflet for all young people accessing health services and have produced a children's rights based web resource (www.childrensrightswales.org.uk ) for professionals. There are also new children's rights resources for practitioners working with children and young people  such as 'Children's Rights: Spice em up' and  'Young Spice'  for working with children under 11 years.
  • A Childrens Rights Training and Development Officer based with Save the Children is developing sector specific training on childrens rights.
  • The PSE curriculum for 7-19 year olds now includes consideration of the rights underpinned by the UNCRC.
  • The UNCRC has been incorporated into the workforce development strategy.
  • The Welsh Assembly Government now has available the UNCRC Articles, Concluding Observations and the Priorities for Wales in Audio, Braille, and British Sign Language.
  • As a part of the 20th birthday celebrations of the UNCRC the Welsh Assembly Government developed a UNCRC toolkit electronic resource for practitioners, parents and carers to use with children and young people.
  • The 2010 WAG UNCRC celebration will launch Promoting Positive Images Toolkit to support positive images of children and young people in the media.
  • Article 42 is a clear priority within the National Action Plan for Children's Rights.

There has been some progress on Article 42 implementation in Wales; however a great deal more work needs to be done to develop children and young people, parents/carers and professionals understanding of children's rights.

On behalf of the Assembly Government, Save the Children wrote a mapping report that identified gaps in Article 42 implementation and developed recommendations that need to be addressed. These recommendations form the basis of much of the work WAG is now progressing. The Article 42 Group (a sub group of the UNCRC Monitoring Group) was set up in April 2010 to bring together a number of agencies to support  the strategic development of awareness-raising initiatives in Wales.

Find out more about what other agencies are doing to raise awareness of children's rights and what resources are available to professionals, children and young people, parents and elected members in our education and training section.