for a strong, inclusive and enforceable Bill of Rights for
Northern Ireland that offers
maximum rights protections to children and young people
Law Centre, along with Save the Children, convenes a Bill
of Rights Group for the Children and Young People's Sector.
The group was established in autumn 2002 to advocate for the
inclusion of the maximum rights protections for children and
young people in the Bill of Rights. Such protection is needed
- Children's rights
are not adequately protected by existing law. The UN Convention
on the Rights of the Child is not directly enforceable in
Northern Ireland and the Human Rights Act contains few rights
specific to children and young people
- Children and young
people make up over a quarter of the population and as the
most vulnerable members of society they have been particularly
adversely affected by the conflict and violence
- Securing a better
future for children and young people growing up in Northern
Ireland goes to the heart of any peace building process.
The guaranteeing of protection of and respect for children's
rights are essential elements in securing a better future
is involved in the group?
has a membership of 20 organisations ( click to view
membership list) drawn from children's organisations,
young people's organisations, Traveller groups, disability
groups and other community and voluntary organisations. The
group works closely with the Human Rights Consortium, a coalition
of over 100 non-governmental organisations, community groups
and trade unions campaigning to secure a strong and inclusive
Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland .
does the group do?
group has been very active in campaigning for the inclusion
of the maximum children and young people's rights protections
in the Bill of Rights.
has drawn up a Statement of Support (link )
for the drafting of a strong, inclusive, effective and enforceable
Bill of Rights for all communities by the Northern Ireland
Human Rights Commission and in particular for the inclusion
of the maximum children's rights protections in this Bill
statement provides reasons why such protections are needed.
It also outlines how children's rights can best be protected
in the Bill of Rights by the provision of a separate chapter
containing their rights, coupled with references to their
rights throughout the other chapters of the Bill where appropriate.
date almost 200 organisations, representing 18,000 people
from right across Northern Ireland have signed this statement
of support ( click to view a list of organisations
of the most remarkable aspects of this huge list of supporters
of children's rights is the diversity of organisations represented.
It includes organisations from Dundonald to Dungiven and from
Carrickfergus to Carrickmore. It includes organisations who
work directly with children and young people such as the Northern
Ireland Pre-School Play Association and Girlguiding Ulster
to those who don't : Age Concern NI, Mother's Unioin and the
Police Federation of Northern Ireland. It includes community
based organisations and organisations working with specific
groups of people such as Disability Action, Mencap and the
Belfast Travellers Education and Development Group.
the Bill - You owe it to us Event
Statement of Support was presented to Professor Brice Dickson
, Chief Commissioner , Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission
at an extremely successful event held in the Linenhall Library
on 20 August 2003 . The event was attended by members of the
Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, the DUP, SDLP, Sinn
Fein, Alliance , Women's Coaliton , the PUP, and over 100
members of children's organisations, young people's organisations
and other non-governmental organisations. It was chaired by
Carolyn Stewart DJ with Cool FM and long time supporter of
children and young people's rights in the Bill of Rights.
Copies of the Statement of Support and the list of signatories
were also given to all of the political parties present. Speakers
at the event included Mr. Ross McCrea Children and Young People's
Sector Bill of Rights Group, Ms. Sheri Chamberlain Director
Save the Children, Michael Leathem and Roisin Bradley youth@clc.
(Click for press release, text of speeches, photos)
with political parties
group has met with all of the political parties since the
beginning of 2003 and has used the meetings to outline the
key requirements from a children's rights perspective in the
Bill of Rights. It has also drafted a briefing note for political
parties ( click to view ). Following the
presentation of the Statement of Support to the Northern Ireland
Human Rights Commission in August 2003 the group intends to
hold further meetings with political parties to encourage
them to clearly recognise and promote the need for the maximum
children and young people's rights protections in the Bill
group has produced two separate briefing papers: one for the
NGO sector ( click to view) and one for
young people ( click to view).