RCPCH: Four Children's Commissioners unite to protect children's rights
3 March 2011
All four Children's Commissioners for the UK will be coming together to highlight issues in children's health at a flagship event, hosted by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), on 4 March at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff.
During this unprecedented opportunity, the Children's Commissioners for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and will be taking the stage with Gwenda Thomas, Deputy Minister for Social Services in Wales, paediatricians, policy makers and young people.
'My Right to the Highest Standard of Health' will capture knowledge, innovation and expertise on children and young people's health. Children's rights will be discussed in relation to obesity, smoking, violence, mental health, child trafficking, the youth justice system and children seeking asylum."
Dr Iolo Doull, Officer for Wales, RCPCH, said:
"We are privileged to have present all four Children's Commissioners and the Deputy Minister for Social Services, Wales at this important event. 'My Right to the Highest Standard of Health' provides us with a unique opportunity to advocate with and on behalf of children and young people. Every child and young person has the right to the best possible health outcomes. This event will provide a much needed platform for young people, professionals, and politicians to stand together and move a step closer to upholding and protecting the rights of the child."
Gwenda Thomas, the Deputy Minister for Social Services, said:
"I'm grateful to the Royal College for the invitation to attend this event, which should be an interesting and useful experience for those who are attending."
Speaking ahead of the event, Keith Towler, Children's Commissioner for Wales, said:
"I'm very much looking forward to welcoming my fellow Commissioners to Wales. As it's the first time for us to share a platform it provides a unique opportunity to explore the issues of common concern whilst highlighting the variations across the four nations. We will also be exploring with delegates the relevance of children's rights approach to health professionals and highlighting its importance in protecting children's welfare."
Maggie Atkinson, Children's Commissioner for England, said:
"During the past year, we have paid particular attention to the mental health needs and emotional wellbeing of children and young people in the youth justice system and will publish our findings in the spring. Our work in this area reinforces the need for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) to be used as a benchmark for practitioners and decision makers working with and developing policies for children and young people.
"I have a duty to have regard for the UNCRC in my work and to ensure that the views and interests of all children in England are listened to and acted on by the people who make decisions about their lives. This applies in particular to children who may require additional support, like young carers or children who get into trouble with the law, and those whose voices are least likely to be heard. I welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues at the RCPCH conference today so that we can all consider the importance of our role in making children's rights a reality."
Tam Baillie, Scotland's Commissioner Children and Young People, said:
"Children and young people have a right to have their opinions taken into account in all decisions affecting them - it is one of the principal articles in the UNCRC. I am encouraged by politicians and health professionals' increasing willingness to listen to children and young people. However, we have a long way to go before we can be satisfied that children's views are being given due weight, particularly in relation to the issues facing the most vulnerable."
Patricia Lewsey, Children's Commissioner for Ireland, said:
"Children and young people are often among the most vulnerable groups in our society. Too often their basic human rights, as outlined in the UNCRC, are not safeguarded and protected. As adults and society in general we need to be doing more to ensure these rights are a reality. One way to do this to raise awareness of the UNCRC and how it impacts on the lives of children and young people. I therefore welcome this conference today and hope it goes some way to further promoting children's rights and ultimately protecting our children."
Notes to editors
1. For more information, please contact the RCPCH Press Office on 020 7092 6005
2. For a full programme, visit the RCPCH website
3. 'My Right to the Highest Standard of Health' will be held on Friday 4 March 2011 at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, 9am to 5pm.