This week and next, we are focussing on the human rights of children. As well as posting a new story about children’s rights each day, we are delighted to welcome this guest post from our friends at Unicef, the children’s rights and emergency aid organisation.
At Unicef, we believe that children must be at the heart of the debate about human rights in the UK – and that this means listening to what children think. So we’ve been asking pupils from our Rights Respecting Schools all over the UK to speak up about what rights they would most like to protect and why.
We’ve been inundated with thousands of replies from children and young people speaking up and defending their rights with passion, reason, intelligence and heart. Here are some of the rights that have come up time and again, told by 10 children who really get it.
1. “Please protect our right to equality. People are starving, suffering and being oppressed every minute of every hour of every day, and it is wrong.”
2. “Please protect our right to protection. If we are not protected then we will grow up scared and we will not have any dreams or ambitions, and if we don’t have any dreams or ambitions we will not go very far in life.”
3. “Please protect our right to a fair trial. Everyone makes mistakes and everyone deserves to have a fair chance before punishment.”
4. “Please protect our right to be free from slavery. I am free in body but I am not morally free until slavery ends.”
5. “Please protect our right to an education. Learning gives children an opportunity in life and enables children to feel as if they have a purpose. Learning unlocks potential, the potential to make a difference and be great.”
6. “Please protect our right to freedom of expression. Without new opinions being voiced, nothing would change in the world and therefore life would never improve.”
7. “Please protect every child’s right to think and believe what they want and also to practice their religion. I think they have the right to learn things about their religion and who they want to be.”
8. “Please protect our right to leisure, play and culture. I feel that every child, regardless of who they are, should have the right to play. I feel strongly about this article because it is unfair for a child not having that freedom. Play and leisure is a crucial part in a child’s development and keeps them fitter, but also, happier.”
9. “Please protect our right to always stay in contact with parents, unless this may harm us. Being with your parents is different to being with a bunch of strangers as you feel left out and lonely.”
10. “Please protect our right to speak up and decide things about matters that affect us. It is our life and our choices. No matter what a decision affecting us is, it is our decision that counts. People can’t choose our life for us no matter how old, because we are humans and we have rights.”
(Names have been changed)