We're Ensuring Children Have a Chance to Flourish; Gwenda Thomas, Deputy Minister for Social Services and Children, Looks Ahead to Universal Children's Rights Day

Article excerpt

Byline: Gwenda Thomas

IT WAS one of modern history's greatest political leaders, John F Kennedy, who in 1963 said: "Children are the world's most valuable resource and its best hope for the future."

That was nearly 50 years ago, and he was drawing attention to the appeal by Unicef, the United Nations Children's Fund, and the championing of the rights of children.

Since then the rights of children have been growing steadily stronger and I am proud to note that when we mark Universal Children's Day this Sunday we do so knowing Wales is the first country in the UK to pass legislation that enshrines the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in domestic law.

Universal Children's Day is proclaimed by the United Nations and it is a day governments across the world use to promote, celebrate and highlight the importance of the Convention.

The UNCRC is an international legally-binding convention developed and agreed by the UN to recognise the full range of human rights for children.

Human rights are guarantees that protect individuals and groups from actions that affect their freedom and human dignity.

Human rights are things that you are entitled to by simply being a person, and the Convention echoes this. They are universal, which means they are the same for everyone. They are indivisible, which means they are equally important and interdependent. Finally, they are inalienable, which means all humans have them and they cannot be taken away.

The Convention sets out these rights in 54 articles and two Optional Protocols. It spells out the basic human rights that children everywhere have: the right to survival; to develop to the fullest; to protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation; and to participate fully in family, cultural and social life.

Every right spelled out in the Convention is inherent to the human dignity and harmonious development of all children. The Convention protects children's rights by setting standards in health care, education and legal, civil and social services. …