18th December 2020

Report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child

Below you can find the joint Commissioners’ (England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland) reports to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Every five years, the Committee examines the whole UK on how well it is meeting its promises under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The reports on this page are submitted to the Committee. They assess how the UK Government and devolved administrations have progressed towards giving every child the opportunities and protections enshrined in the UNCRC.

The “Report of the Children’s Commissioners of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child”, including a “Covid annex”, identifies emerging trends and key issues regarding children’s human rights in the UK. Some of these draw on previous concluding observations while others reflect worrying trends caused by the UK’s departure from the European Union (Brexit) and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The report “Are we there yet?” is based on engagement with children and young people in all four nations, and it aims to provide the Committee with children and young people’s voices about their experiences on the delivery of their rights. A summary report goes alongside it.

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More background on reporting to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child


The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child is the body set up by the UN to monitor the progress that states make in keeping their human rights promises under the UNCRC. It’s made up of 18 independent experts on children’s rights from different countries.

The UK is unusual in being a UN Member State in that it has four countries: Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Therefore, the Children and Young People’s Commissioners of all four of the UK’s countries are involved in the UNCRC reporting. There are other parts of the UK that aren’t part of these four countries. For example, Jersey’s Children’s Commissioner reports to the UN separately. Many other people and organisations are also involved in the reporting process, including members of civil society; and children and young people can report to the UN in any way they choose about the issues that affect them.

The reporting cycle starts now, in December 2020. Our joint report is to help the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to decide which 30 UK children’s rights issues to address. Then, in January 2022, the UK Government will submit a report to the Committee on the progress it has made in addressing these 30 issues, and the challenges faced in doing so. It will be a report that covers what all the UK’s governments have done, including the devolved administrations.

Later in 2022 the UK’s Commissioners will write a second report to the Committee responding to the UK Government’s report. It will set out what we agree with and what we don’t agree with. In 2022, the UN Committee will also learn more about children’s human rights issues in the UK by asking and hearing evidence from a wide range of people and organisations including children and young people; the UK Children’s Commissioners; the UK government and members of civil society.

In September 2022, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child will then review all of the evidence they have received and hold a conversation with the UK Government in Geneva to ask them for more information.

After this, they will write their concluding observations that call on the UK Government to make changes to progress children’s human rights.

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