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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

22 SEP 2008

UK will sign UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in full

The Government will sign the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in full, removing the UK's two remaining reservations to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Last January the Home Office announced a review of the Government's reservations to the Convention.

The reservations, made in 1991 when the UK ratified the Convention, permit the UK to continue to lock up children with adults and to put immigration concerns ahead of the human rights of child asylum seekers and refugees.

Carolyne Willow, the Children's Rights Alliance for England national co-ordinator, welcomed the move: This is the news we have been waiting for. All children have human rights and governments should not be allowed to pick and choose whose rights they are going to protect. This must be the start of considerable changes in juvenile justice and immigration policy. The treatment of children in conflict with the law and children in the immigration system was strongly criticised by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child when it last examined the UK in 2002. Ministers must not stop here - after removing the reservations, they must remove harmful laws and policy."

In June the four Children's Commissioners for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland submitted a joint report on their experiences of monitoring how the UK treats children and young people to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. The commissioners said that serious concerns remained about the significant breaches of children's rights in the UK.

The UN Committee will examine the UK Government at a public hearing over the next two days in Geneva, and issue its concluding observations on 3 October.

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